As I began writing this Monday Musing, I was at a loss for words. My mind was blank. I wrote about five intro paragraphs for different topics, but couldn't properly expand on any of them. But all the while, I knew that I could go on for hours (just ask my roommates) about the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the history of the Soviet Union, Brooklyn 99, Gilmore Girls, the concept of relativism, its cousin postmodernism, and a shocking amount of other seemingly useless topics, but for some reason, I couldn't seem to come up with anything pertaining to what I’ve been learning about God recently.
I love writing. I do it for school, I do it for fun, but why couldn’t I do it now?
I think this inability stems from the fear of feeling inadequate when it comes to articulating Bible-related topics. Perhaps it’s because I have been blessed with wise teaching from different churches for as long as I can remember. Or because I have been lucky enough to have friends and people in my life who have been gifted with spiritual maturity and a wealth of Biblical knowledge. Either way, the spiritual gifts of others have forced me to play the game of comparison— I see my voice as amateur input in a conversation of professionals. I can’t recite a Bible verse in response to any given situation, and I write down every word the pastor says during church sermon for fear that my mind could never independently conceive such a worthy interpretation of God’s Word.
I believe that the lie of inadequacy and the deceit of comparison is something that many of us have accepted without hesitation. Whether its feeling isolated by the choices we make, a lack of profound, daily encounters with God, the inability to discern our spiritual gifts, or the absence of hearing God’s voice, we tell ourselves that we are not enough. We believe that other Christians can’t learn from us, and our input is of lesser value.
We are good at convincing ourselves of these human lies, but can’t seem to convince ourselves of divine truth. That truth being revealed consistently throughout scripture which ensures us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” (Psalm 139:14) and “holy and beloved” (Colossians 3:12) children of God (Galatians 4, Romans 8). The fact that God created us with purpose and dignity legitimizes our experiences and our voices. Our personal struggles should never stop us from fully engaging in Christian community.
Furthermore, when it comes to spiritual gifts, we judge ourselves based on man-made conceptions of what is worthy in the eyes of the Lord. By doing this, we tell God what He values, and what is good, thus we belittle ourselves and focus on what we are not, rather than what we are.
For example, we deem the gift of administration as less rewarding than the gift of teaching, and the gift of teaching as less than leadership. Or we downplay the value of our own abilities because they don't put us in the spotlight. However, these are grave mischaracterizations. We learn through Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 12:15-18:
“For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body…If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose”
Paul uses this metaphor to highlight the importance and necessity of each spiritual gift. The truth is: the gift of teaching is irrelevant if there is no one to gather those who will listen. We are each valuable and needed for unique reasons, and the world would be woefully drab if it only consisted of people with what we perceive as the ‘best’ spiritual gifts. We are beautifully adequate and empowered to contribute in different ways, and ignoring those differences would be denying God’s design and call for our lives.
Therefore, we can learn that God puts people in our lives— pastors, friends, mentors, and family, not to show us our weakness or to drive us to comparison, but to highlight how he has carefully knit together our communities, uniquely gifting each member in order that we may collectively point other towards Him.
We are not inadequate. We serve one God, with the collective goal of furthering His kingdom. Our means may look different, but our worth is the same.
So go out this Monday with confidence and let your voice be heard.
But if anyone wants to hear about the dissolution of Yugoslavia, let me know!