Do you ever get jealous over the giftedness or qualities you see in others? I do, all the time if I'm honest. Whether it's maintaining a fit physique, a put together house and/or a tidy home, exercise commitment, runner, great finance skills and no debt, having that "gentle and quiet spirit", the ability to memorize scripture easily, a beautiful singing voice, having a positive attitude all the time, having a husband whose schedule makes him more available or flexible, good at yard work, good at home improvements, a phenomenal leadership quality, great knowledge in their job, good time management, great organization, writes well, great photography, great cook, great manager of all things mom-related, etc, etc, etc.
There is one blogger I really like who has done very well, named the "Pioneer Woman". She cooks, she takes great pictures, she writes and she's funny, she home schools and manages to have this beautiful home somewhere I cannot recall. Her success in blogging has led to a cookbook, a website with many followers, talk show engagements...yadda yadda yadda. To top it all off she's beautiful and thin. Geez Lady, could you have a flaw?? Please???
My other favorite blogger is Shauna Niequist, author of Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet. I love her because she is real and honest and admits her own broken-ness over difficulty conceiving. I envy her because she writes and speaks beautifully and her giftedness is being recognized and allowing her opportunities she never dreamed of. She's loves to host parties and cooks all kinds of fun and intriguing dishes and writes captivatingly about it all and her relationship with Christ. She too is thin and beautiful, this year she completed a marathon..all the while she does speaking engagements across the country and I think she sings too...(sigh)
I got certified to teach BLS CPR, thanks to our local school district this last fall. I've been an RN for more than 13 years and worked in the ER for over 12 now and have participated in giving "CPR" more times that I could possible count but the idea of teaching it made me nervous. I'm not the most academic person nor am I the most dynamic speaker. I'm more or less a diarrhea-of-the-mouth talker and can occasionally get a laugh from my blather. I relate and relay information best through experiences and stories. So teaching a class to, let's say a more academic mind, I might come across as more of a scatterbrain than a "teacher". I was supposed to teach a class to another local school district a couple of weeks ago and the class did occur, but not at all as I had planned. It's supposed to be a video led course and the video equipment failed. Had I prepared some notes ahead of time, I may have come across more organized, but I felt flustered and like I was forgetting something. I'm sure I appeared like a deer in the headlights and left that day feeling deflated and discouraged. I know my emotions and thoughts are shallow, vain and prideful. I just want to be extraordinary in something, in anything really. And I find, more often than not, that I am plain ordinary. I am ordinary looking gal who has been 20-40 lbs overweight most of her adult life. I am an ordinary nurse who does her job, but rarely stands out. I don't cook phenomenal dishes, I don't write or speak amazing things, I am an ordinary teacher, I don't sing well (although my secret prayer since childhood has always been that I'd wake up with an amazing voice...still hoping). I am an ordinary friend who is sometimes "fun" to have around but rarely feels that I have someone who is my "best" friend, I am an ordinary wife, cook, housekeeper, mom, and most painfully I am an ordinary christian.
I wish that I had risen to the occasion and been more confident when that class fell apart, that I had let it roll off my back and instructed in a way that depicted both knowledge, competency and experience. I'm afraid that wasn't me. Over the next several days, this weighed heavily on me. If I really stop and think, it's clear that my attitude and heart are very wrong. If I look back at our great heroes of Scripture, I would see a large group of ordinary people who did great things, not necessarily because of their skills or talents, and definitely not because of their success, it was because they had a deep commitment to our Lord and to doing His will even in their failures and flaws. And yes, some things extraordinary are due the talents given...like singing or writing or even speaking well. But many things that people do well at are because they are committed to doing the best they can and learning all they can about that particular "thing" because they love it and want to do it well. Some people are more organized with their thoughts or actions and so having an organized life or sentence may come easier to them. But the house does not pick up itself, does it? And having the self control to think before you speak is something we all need on varying levels, right? A great hostess requires that you first invite someone over...finishing a marathon is only done with months of training... being a great teacher or instructor requires that you know the material and are prepared.... I could obviously go on.
The bible describes the church as a body. Each member having a purpose...there cannot be two heads, there cannot be 5 hands and only two arms. The body is designed to be balanced and each part complimentary to one another...and maybe, perhaps one's job is hidden like the pancreas. This is a small organ behind the stomach that has the important function of regulating bile and insulin released into the body so it can metabolize and get it's nutrition appropriately. But it hides and rarely gets credit and when it goes bad...it can take years to recognize yet, without it the body doesn't function well and will eventually die. The church and the world need ordinary people who are committed to doing the work, the hard, sometimes un-fun, unrecognized, unglamorous jobs. But for whose glory am I working, for my own or for the glory of my Lord. If I seek my own recognition I am no better than the pharisees who prayed in public wearing their fancy robes. Maybe, I'm not a hand or foot or neck..maybe, I'm the pancreas or one of the small bones in the wrist who are small and easily forgotten yet part of a greater structure. (The eight carpal bones are collectively known as the Carpus, or wrist. The bones of the Carpus consist of the Scaphoid, Lunate, Triquetral, Pisiform, Hamate, Capitate, Trapezoid, and the Trapezium.-I had to look this up, because I could not remember the names myself)
In the end, I need to seek God's recognition, not man's. I need to compare myself to Christ and not others. I need to pray for more self control so that I may be committed to the work given me and do the best I can even if my best is ordinary. So, I'll still sing loud in my car looking forward to the day when I get to heaven and my voice will be beautiful; I'll continue to teach CPR and work hard to organize the class and be prepared for any equipment failure; I will eat better, not because I need to be thin, but because taking care of the body God gave me is honoring to him: I will try to be the best, readily available tool God can use.