I am creative. There, I said it. And now? Breaking out in a cold sweat mitigated only by my tasty Starbucks coffee. Let’s up the stakes a little. I am creative and I am going to write a book. Really. Now that I’ve said it I feel a little queasy. It feels a bit like pride, but it’s not pride to accept and state a gift that God has given you. Why is it that it’s so hard to embrace our own talents and gifts?
This weekend I’m volunteering at a training session for the coaching program I went through. As I sit in the back of the class I’m reminded of the emotions I went through when I participated in the program. There was one exercise where you had to identify qualities you appreciate about yourself, your gifts. As if that wasn’t hard enough, you had to “phone a friend,” and do the same. Nope. Not doing that. I remember it clearly. Saying in my head, “not doing that.” Instead I texted. What I got back was so touching. Now this isn’t a regular process you’re going to go through, think of it, “Hey, what do you like about me?” Every day? No. But in this context, there was value.
So often I believe we play small. We listen to that voice inside us that is quick to remind of failure or tell us that we don’t deserve to be happy, be content, be ________ – it’s different for all of us.
But it’s also the same. One of the awesome parts of the volunteering weekend is that a friend of mine from the coaching program is here with me. We’ve had great conversations and something I notice is that we have many of the same challenges. Truth is, we all go through similar challenges – alone. No one wants to talk about the struggles. We cruise along like we have it all together, even when we don’t. Somewhere along the way we’ve adopted the idea that we must have it all together, or at least make others believe it. We compare ourselves to other people, which is, in my opinion, one of the worst things we can do for ourselves. If we’re comparing, it’s only to the stuff we can see, what they choose to show us. That doesn’t account for all the struggle they’ve been through, the hard stuff.
What if, when you started to compare yourself to another person, you paused and thought about the whole person? They may have the perfect, fit, body, but what if you also knew that their parents divorced when they were young, and that they struggled with anorexia, and had crippling anxiety? You don’t see that on the outside. What if instead you looked at them from a place of appreciation, or admiration and love. Just loving them for the person they are instead of comparing. Learn to truly know those around you rather than making judgements, which is – to a degree – what comparison is.
I’d include our own selves in that too. What if we learned to appreciate ourselves, our gifts? What if we gave ourselves grace for the hard times we’ve been through – and we’ve all been through them – they might look different but are there nonetheless.
This leads me back to the book. I’m going to get out of my own way and do it. I was trying to make it complicated, map out a plan, set up time frames, blah, blah, blah. I was comparing to the Pinterest way of writing a book – there’s plenty out there on it, seemed right to follow one of those plans. My coaching friend, Karla, asked me how I write this blog, what I love about writing. Honestly, it’s being creative and pouring what’s in my head onto paper. There’s no plan. If you’re here often, you can probably see that. It’s what I’m thinking about today. She asked me why a book needs to be different? Truth is, it doesn’t. Wisdom in that.
What are you trying to complicate that in, reality, is simple? What gifts do you have that you keep on a shelf or keep small? God didn’t give you those gifts to stay hidden. It feels a little weird if I’m being honest, grab hold of those gifts and use them! It’s part of the authenticity journey. It’s being brave. I’d love to hear your gifts, your talents. Let’s encourage each other instead of comparing, we’re in this together, every step of the way.