By Joshua Corrick
In my last blog on "Understanding Yourself" you may recall I asked you to hold your hands together in an interlocking pattern. This exercise exemplifies how God has made us each unique. Let us dive further into understanding your uniqueness in the Body and the ultimate benefit of this awareness.
Reflect briefly on a day in the last year when time passed quickly for you because of a situation that preoccupied your attention. (Spend some time really thinking for a specific crisis in time. I am trying to bring one to mind myself).
Where were you? What was surrounding you?
Go ahead and write some of these thoughts out as they come to you.
The event that comes to my mind happened recently at work. I am bi-vocational and work at a college as IT support during the week. On this day, I was tasked with fixing a lab of computers. I spent a lot of time researching the problem and the best method for fixing it, writing out scripts for installing updates, running the updates, verifying things were setup correctly, and talking with the occasional student who would roam by the lab. Four hours passed as if it were four minutes.
Why was your attention fully focused?
I was able to learn something new about computers that I didn't know. I was then able to implement that immediately to accomplish a task, that could be repeated reliably. I completed a necessary project that would improve the lab for the students. I believed I was making a difference and felt personally responsible for the work.
The things that grabbed my attention reveal specific strengths that I have (such as learning, responsibility, completing tasks). Your own moment will reveal strengths about yourself that you need to recognize and take with you everywhere you go. Knowing these strengths matters because they usually reveal the way that God uses you in people's lives. As an added benefit, understanding yourself helps you know your weaknesses, which mirror your strengths, as well as establish boundaries, and validate that you are where God wants you.
Everything I have been saying so far sounds like Socrates, but paradoxically understanding yourself should not be the end goal. While such self-awareness can help you avoid burnout, it is not the primary tool for Christian influence; rather we must surrender our strengths to Christ and let him work. Consider the following...
"I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building..." - 1 Cor. 3:6-9 (ESV)
This passage reminds us that Christ is the one who graciously produces life. We should be aware, but not proud of our ourselves. Learning more about yourself is a necessary exercise, but its end is not in self-glorification, but rather praise to God. For He uses all of us to advance the kingdom, in our own unique way, one footprint at a time.
In my next entry, I’ll walk us through some practical steps and resources to help us discover our strengths (and weaknesses) so that as we Look In, we may continue to increase our gospel footprint.