October 20, 2010

Being Honest about Weakness

Like any one of the rest of us, I have been blessed with particular gifts.  I'm lucky enough to have answered a calling that uses those gifts almost every single day.  I'm grateful for the opportunities that I have to serve and to put the skills God gave me to use.

But like any one of the rest of us, there are also things that I am not called to do. 

I am not a details person.  I can see the big picture and how things flow and can give a general impression about something... but I tend to leave out the small details that make the thing work. 

I am not a confrontational person.  I don't see things in black and white, so it is very difficult for me to make another person aware that something is absolutely wrong.  I see both sides of a situation.  I understand where they are coming from.  And that makes it awfully hard to say, "no," at times.  I do really well in groups... like standing up for injustice as a part of a crowd of others.  But I'm not likely to be the person who is a lone voice in the crowd making the ruckus.  Because I don't think in black and white, I also don't think with typical logic and have a hard time defending my thoughts.  (the flip side of that, is that I'm a GREAT mediator)

And I am also not gifted/blessed with the skills for youth ministry.

I LOVE my youth.  I adore them.  They make me giggle and inspire me and some days downright confound me with the depth of their questions.  They are some of the most energetic and crazy and rambunctious and interesting people I get to work with every day.  But I am not built to be a youth leader.

I have done okay in the past.  I manage to corral their energy.  I have a lot of really helpful resources I have used... and some stuff that has not been so helpful.  And the youth themselves have been great.  But all along, I have been hoping, praying, waiting, searching, for someone who would hear the calling to help with the youth - someone who IS gifted and blessed in the particular ways that youth need.

We have to be honest about our weaknesses so that others are aware of where they are needed. If we never ask for help, we will never receive it. 

So I asked.  And I have been so excited this fall to have someone to work with... someone with experience with teenagers, with energy to match mine and theirs, with passion for making a difference in the lives of young people.  This year is going to absolutely rock. 

Working together as the body of Christ - allowing one another's strengths to shine - can change the world.  When we get out of the way in the places where we are weak, then we have the energy to do what we do best.

Gallup has done some work on leadership and claims the best leaders are the ones who are able to do what they do best every day.  Their "strengths based leadership" tools help you to discover your particular strengths (or gifts in Christian language) and then to apply them to your work.  Some churches have used this instead of spiritual gifts inventories to discover the best leaders and workers for the various ministries of their churches.

To be the body of Christ - we need to live out and embody those things we know and do best... but then we need to get out of the way.  We need to let others teach us and help us.  We need to give others a chance to lead.  We need to practice saying, I need you. 

That is a difficult thing to do in the middle of a rural German community.  But it is what Christ calls us to.  Get out of the way and let others do their work.  Be honest about your weaknesses.  Lend a hand when your gifts are called for.  It is not a sign of failure... it is a sign of true community.

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