Sunday, January 15, 2017
What Are You Good at?
Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:11
"Introduce yourself and share one thing that you are good at doing." It seemed like a simple assignment for our new woman's Bible study class on The Power of Words. As the ladies went around the room, one mentioned being compassionate, another mentioned being dependable. There was a lady who was good at shopping which I think is a super practical skill and one I aspire to get better at. I said I was good at being a friend.
I found it interesting that most of the ladies in the group didn't just say what they were good but also pointed out a problem or a weakness. For example, immediately after saying "I am dependable" one lady explained that since she was dependable, she expected others to be dependable and was often disappointed and frustrated when they let her down. Another said that she was empathetic and would cry with a friend if they were having a rough day but that others had made fun of her for crying. Several ladies talked about their truthfulness that got them into trouble if they were too blunt. Even the lady who said she was funny, qualified it by saying that she was sometimes too funny.
I couldn't help but wonder why almost everyone in the room felt they needed to qualify and diminish what they were good at. Was it humility, being realistic, just how girls have learned to talk or was there something more going on?
Are we afraid of admitting what we are good at because it might make some one feel bad because they aren't as funny or good at being dependable?
Have we been taught to put ourselves down so others don't? You know pride goes before a fall...
Do we discount the good things in our lives and in our family members because we just don't think we are good enough?
I am not sure what was going through all those ladies' minds but it reminded me of a lesson my middle schooler grudgingly learned during his Cotillion class on compliments. The elegant instructor talked to the kids about the importance of genuinely complimenting someone and how to properly receive a compliment. She looked at the girls in the room and said emphatically, "Ladies, if someone gives you a compliment, just say, 'Thank you'. Don't reply 'This old thing' or ' I want a new one" or 'Thanks but...'. You are arguing with the person who gave the compliment and putting down her judgment."
Could we be guilty of treating ourselves, our family members and our Creator with disrespect because we don't accept who we are in Christ? In Christ, you are a new creation. In Christ, you can do all things. In Christ is the fullness of life. In Christ, you are made perfect. In Christ, you have all that to need. In Christ, you are patient, loving, kind,gentle and you have self-control.
I can imagine your argument that you aren't perfect and you don't have all you need because I would say the same thing. It might be something like, "I am not all these things and neither are my kids or husband. Plus, I don't want them to be prideful or lie to them." Reread the last paragraph, Christ is all this and more. If Christ is in you, then you than you have every spiritual blessing. If Christ is in your husband and your kids then they are perfect in Christ. You are not bragging, you are not inflating your husband's ego and you are not giving your kids a trophy just for participation. You are not lying. You are acknowledging the power of Christ in their lives.
Here'a how this translates into everyday life. Rather than stoking pride, start your sentences with "God has given you ....", "In Christ, I have ...", or "Jesus has blessed you with ...."
What if you told your husband, "Wow, God has given you the ability to work hard." "I can see how God has blessed you with energy." For your kids try, "I can see God's kindness in how you helped me." "God helped you know how to study for that test." Next time you get a compliment, try replying, "Thanks, it is the grace of God that I was able to do this. If you aspire to be good at shopping like I do, you can acknowledge that it is God who guided your steps and led you to the perfect item at the best price. You'll be amazed at the transformation in your heart and the people around you. I can't wait to hear about all the marvelous things you can do in Christ.