This I Believe

James - Murphy, Texas
Entered on May 17, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.


If a man is granted a gift, whether by God or some other turn of fate, is he obligated to use it? Is he meant to tap into this gift and transform the world? Does he commit a sin by failing to perform to the capacity of the gift? Or, does the decision whether to change the world or not burden his shoulders? If Einstein hadn’t used his gift of intelligence, the world would lack several of the advances it now possesses. If Caesar hadn’t used his militaristic genius to conquer most of the known world, the countries of today would be far different. Were these men forced to use their gifts, or did they choose to tap into their unique talents?

I believe each person who is given a gift has the ability to decide if he desires to use it. Most commonly, gifts go unused because the possessor is unaware of the power inside. When that power is realized, though, the privileged owner of that ability understands the responsibility placed upon them not only by society, but also by the divine hand that cast the gift onto the recipient. Even when that individual realizes that talent, but decides to shun it, he shouldn’t be criticized by society. He owns that gift, and he decides to use it or not. Society has no right to force him to do something that every nuance of his mind rejects.

If that individual decides to utilize the ability, he should not allow himself to be persuaded by outside forces to do what they want. His goals should be the first priority before those of others. He should disregard criticism, attacks, and confrontations by those who envy his abilities, for by allowing himself to be burdened by them, he shall ultimately be defeated. Not in the sense that he will be physically hurt or killed, but psychologically. If he goes to the level of those around him, it will be an ungodly struggle to claim to possession he had lost, that sacred gift granted to him.

I have been given a gift. What exactly it is I am not sure. To what extent I have it I am not fully aware yet, or what I am supposed to do with it. I do not really even know if it truly is a gift, or merely a slight advantage over those around me. My gift burns within me, churning wildly, attempting to spill forth onto the rest of my body, layering it with the supernatural gift. It wants to be set free, so that it may grace the entirety of my being with its glorious abilities, yet I lock it away. I keep it in the dark, imprisoned. I do not wish to release it, for fear of having to use it. I prefer a simple life, of doing as I please, when I please.

Ultimately, I believe that if given a gift, the individual has the right to choose whether or not to use it and should not be persuaded to do as others want. He should choose whether he wants to enjoy life and avoid confrontation, or become engulfed in the flaming passion of his gift and spread it to the rest of the world. I personally choose to enjoy my life at the moment, but once the time comes that I need to tap into it to fulfill my own hopes and dreams and then it shall be set free.