When We Think Other People’s Gifts Are “Cooler” Than Our Own
It’s silly, really. But it happens all the time.
We spend our time admiring the ones who stand on stages. The people who have the gifts of communicating with a microphone. The ones with “big platforms” of some sort. Perhaps they speak eloquently, or sing beautifully, or maybe they are able to put their thoughts and ideas into the written word and get people to read them.
It seems like those are the people who are doing something “big” in the world.
So often, in the Christian culture, those are the ones we applaud and deem as worthy of our esteem.
And, even though I am one of those who has the honor of communicating with a microphone from time to time, or who taps out words from behind a computer screen and shares it publicly on occasion, I have absolutely no delusions that there is something “better” or “more important” about these particular gifts or actions over anyone else’s gifts or actions.
It’s just a difference of wiring. Or natural gifting. Or personality. Or maybe it’s even just a difference of seasons.
I remember the days when “all I was” was “just a mom” keeping her toddlers alive and trying her best to not say the F word at them every time they drove her crazy. That was a hard and noble calling also. (It still is, come to think of it, even though they are no longer toddlers.)
And I remember the nights when all I could do was just sob out my prayers to God in desperation over what seemed to be my terrifyingly broken marriage. Those prayers were important, holy work too. My husband and I are still reaping the benefits of those prayers.
And I remember back in college serving my church from time to time in the “prayer room” where me and a few others would spend the entire church service praying for the speaker and the people hearing God’s message that morning. That mattered too.
None of those moments or seasons or expressions of gifting were any more or less important or necessary or admirable than the moments when I or anyone else is standing on a stage or tapping out words from a keyboard.
I think of a couple weeks ago when my middle school-aged daughter had to have a really hard conversation with one of her close friends about how unkind and toxic that friend was being— that was courageous, critical work too.
And I think of my friend who took several hours last week to love on my daughters by patiently teaching them how to ski for their first time. Her compassion and kindness towards them, and the simple relationship-building that continuously takes place interaction after interaction every time we see her— that is beautiful, holy, awe-inspiring work too.
And I think of my friend who, although she is tired and money is tight and she’s already busy enough with her four kids and weary husband, opens up her home and invites a small group of women each month to share in intentional, soul-refreshing conversations over a delicious meal. Her hospitality, generosity and tender heart— those things are changing the world in sensational ways, also.
And I think of my friend who, despite her stress and her many responsibilities and her feelings of inadequacy, keeps pushing through it all and following God’s lead in her life, regardless of where it takes her. That is brave and breathtaking as well.
And I think of my dear friend who texted me an hour ago simply to ask me how I am and how she can pray for me… The world could sure use a lot more of that kind of amazing, humble, necessary work.
And what about my friend who is a foster mom and has just adopted her second child through our county’s foster system?
And what about my friend who is constantly encouraging others, offering them words of affirmation seemingly every moment of the day, bringing smiles and self-esteem boosts everywhere she goes?
And what about the family who quietly, yet faithfully gives money each month to support aftercare for victims of human trafficking? Or the young woman who provides administrative support for the youth ministry at her local church? Or the couple who started a crisis pregnancy center and spends their days counseling and supporting young women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant and unsure of where to go?
Those are all precious, significant ways to serve the world too.
As my dear friend Diane said to me earlier this week, “Whether we are a teacher, janitor, stay-at-home mom, police officer, yard-duty, cook or cashier there are people in our lives that God has specifically placed there in order that we may use the gifts He’s given us to care for them. It wont look like someone else’s gift but it is in no way less significant… in fact, it’s those who are “doing life” with people, face-to-face, day in and day out, that really make the greatest impact— not the public speaker or published writer.”
It doesn’t matter how small what you’re doing may seem. It doesn’t matter how many people see it or applaud it or even value it. What matters is that you are doing what God has called and equipped YOU to do. In whatever moment you are in.
That is all we can do. All we can be is who God has equipped us and is leading each of us, individually, to be.
So let’s cheer each other on, guys. No matter how anonymous or mundane or small your role may seem— let’s do it all for God’s glory, trusting that He has us where He wants us, He is using us how He sees fit, and we are changing the world for the better, shining God’s light and love on the world no matter how hidden or anonymous it may seem.
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” ~Ephesians 4:11-12
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” ~Romans 12:6
“Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” ~Matthew 6:4
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What about you?
What gifts do you admire in others? How can you encourage or support those around you who are impacting your life in positive ways?
Please share your journey in the comment section below.