Gifted, Talented . . . and Christian: The Discovery of Giftedness

In November, 2003, I made a momentous discovery about myself. I discovered that I qualify as a ‘gifted and talented’ adult. My own realization came through coming across a description of giftedness in adults on the Internet that I thought sounded very much like myself.

I then went over my elementary school report cards, and found that every one of my teachers felt I had very high learning potential. Finally, I went over some of the books from psychologists who deal especially with adults who come into an awareness of being ‘gifted’ later in life, and joined Mensa and an Internet support group, so that I could better understand my own experiences, and have an insight and perhaps a potential into ministry to some very hurting people like myself. I then went over my elementary school report cards, and found that every one of my teachers felt I had very high learning potential. Finally, I went over some of the books from psychologists who deal especially with adults who come into an awareness of being ‘gifted’ later in life, and joined Mensa and an Internet support group, so that I could better understand my own experiences, and have an insight and perhaps a potential into ministry to some very hurting people.

For me, primarily the experience has been a deeper awareness of the depth and breadth of the gifts I’ve been given, as well as a sudden insight into the nature of many of the experiences I’ve had through life. One of the tremendous values of this list to me has been the validation of these experiences with the sharing of and with others here — sort of “I’m not crazy! Other gifted people have the same kinds of feelings and experiences!”

It wasn’t a lack of understanding of having intelligence; rather, it was a lack of understanding of the extent and of how it shaped my perceptions, feelings and experiences over the years, and what it meant to be GT. For many years it was a sense of being different than others around me, and having others perceive me as different, but not understanding how much being GT was the source of it. For me, realizing what it meant to be GT and learning the experiences of others who are GT adults has filled in many, many gaps of understanding of my experiences over the years. It’s meant working to put my past into perspective and carry these lessons forward for the next forty to fifty years.

The discovery really was overwhelming in its intensity and relief. The expression I would use to describe it is ‘an earthquake of the soul.’ But for myself, it’s better to know that I’m GT and all that that involves, than otherwise. For myself, as a GT adult who was living without understanding what it is to be GT, it was like trying to make my way through a city with an out of date road map. Some things were as expected, but a number of things weren’t.

Many of you reading this may not be gifted, though some of you may be. If you’re going to be dealing with someone who is GT in your life, you can be pretty much be assured of these kinds of things:

  • You are dealing with a person whose motivations, perceptions and interests are very different than yours.

  • You are dealing with someone who is different enough from the others that you know that any insights culled from your own autobiography or any other stereotypes will not fit that person.

  • You are dealing with someone who may well have had very different social experiences with others over the course of his or her lifetime, and who may entirely unintentionally well bring out both the best and the worst in the others around him or her.

  • You are dealing with someone who has feelings, bad days and good days, goals, desires, loves, prejudices, achievements, disappointments, blind spots and hidden heartbreaks like anyone else.

  • You are dealing with someone who is worth getting to know and trying to understand as much as possible, and to make your friend.

  • You are dealing with someone who is often willing to share his or her knowledge and experience with others, and who does enjoy an intellectual challenge and inquiry that is meaningful to him or her. This same person may not enjoy other people who attempt to throw trite or contrived challenges or brainteasers at him or her or attempt to compete in areas in which the competitor clearly does even not have a basic knowledge of the field.

  • You are dealing with someone who may be extremely frustrating at times, extremely annoying at times, astonishingly brilliant at times, and even seemingly average at times.

  • You are dealing with someone who may have strong intellectual and artistic interest and pursuits, but with whom you may find common ground in many other areas. For instance, GTs also may follow and cheer on the local sports teams, work out at a gym or go running for exercise, enjoy both cooking and consuming a good meal, enjoy other more ‘hands on’ activities like woodworking, home crafts or working on a car.

My personal belief is that giftedness is intended by God to be a blessing both to the gifted and to those around the gifted person. Sometimes it’s not the case, though. Please read on with the further posts, and let me explain why.

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