It seems silly, on Good Friday, to tell you about someone who is neither Jesus, nor any of the posse of hooligans who followed Him around a couple thousand years ago. Instead, I am going to tell you about a modern day disciple. My friend, Beth. Many of you may know her. She’s pretty great.
Beth is a dear friend of mine. Her and I are planning a local IF:Gathering together for late April (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, look it up). I keep getting texts from Beth, asking if I like the Evite (I think that’s what it’s called) she created, or if she should start up a fb group to invite folks to. She keeps checking in with me for perspective, but all the managerial, hands-on-practical work, she just keeps doing… like a rockstar! And I am beyond grateful, because those things (anything technological or organizational) are NOT my areas of giftedness.
Years ago, I used to feel like having things I wasn’t good at made me inadequate. Like I had to be good at everything to be enough. Finally it occurred to me that God just didn’t make me that way. And that’s a blessing. I have other gifts. Ask me to teach a group of folks about the Bible, I’m all in. Or write about it. I’m your gal. But ask me to make some computer-generated flyer for it. Whaaat?
I’ve learned to see the beauty in this. Some old dead guy (I think it was Thomas Merton) wrote a book called “No Man is an Island”. I confess I’ve never actually read it (though I think it’s on my shelf, so maybe I should), but the point stands. We think we have to be good at everything, because we are bred for independence and self-sufficiency. But God made us for community. He made His Church to be one Body. A body has a whole bunch of different parts with different functions. I am more like a mouth, and my friend Beth is more like hands. And neither is more important. Nor can either get along very well without the other.
So I’ve learned, when Beth is shooting me texts of the awesome invitation she created on Canva (or wherever she manifested her Jedi-ness from), I just say “Thanks, you amazing lady!” and I move along with gratitude, rather than feeling guilty that Beth is happily exercising her gift. I am freer to exercise my own gifts because I’m not bogged down trying to be someone I’m not.
And you know what?… Self-acceptance is really freeing! I can enjoy living in my own skin, when I stop feeling guilty that I’m not gifted in every, single area. I can discover what I am good at, and what brings me joy. I can lean into community when I embrace my own incompleteness apart from others. I can rejoice in having dear friends who are gifted in ways I am not. And once I’ve learned not to feel ashamed of how I am made, or pressured to perform beyond my realm of giftedness, I get to exercise the gifts I DO have. The ones that infuse me with joy. Because usually, when we’re living fully and freely in our God-crafted skin, and not trying to be somebody we’re not, we can sense our own gifts because they are usually the things we’re good at, that give us joy.
So, how’s that for a Good Friday message? Don’t forget to rejoice in that cross today. Because Jesus is what matters most. But He sure does love His Church, and He made us to live in unity together. And one of the ways we do that is by leaning into one another, and sharing our gifts and our needs.