Singleness looks and feels different for all of us. The only common thread is that we don’t have a spouse or partner with whom we share our life. Some of us have found a way to be content and vibrant in our singleness, while others struggle with self-doubt and feelings of loneliness and discouragement. I would venture to say that even the most actively involved of us have a downside moment to living alone. That said, we probably are no different than most people who are stressed and distressed by their circumstances, except we may not have someone with whom we can share our burdens and who will help to carry those burdens with us.
I admit—I have no earthly clue how much gray I have under all this hair color. I see hints of it every month or so and I rush out for the latest hair coloring product that promises to wash the tints of silver away. I, like many women, started coloring my hair when I was much younger and it has become a habit now. Although I will tell you, I once told my daughter I was going to let my hair grow in just to see how gray I really am and she was horrified. “Oh nooooo, you can’t do that. People think you are so much younger than you are,” she said. So I keep on hiding the gray.
We live in a society that focuses on having the next best gadget, the newest car, the designer outfit, and all that the ‘rich and famous’ have in their lives. We go into debt to prove that we have successfully attained a certain life-style. Our hearts sink a little when a new cell phone comes out and it isn’t time to upgrade our plan yet. We enter beautiful homes and begin plotting how we can model our house after their home. Or, we look at others and think, “I don’t know why she wears that same outfit day in and day out. What a mess!” We have become the people of envy, greed, judgement, and hollow existence.
We have forgotten that it is living a life of giving and caring that matters far more than a life full of things that may disappear in an instance.
Each of us has skills, talents, and ‘super powers’ with which we have been gifted. Some of us may speak while others prefer to write. Others love speaking in front of groups and teaching. Some of us use our gifts to help others. Sometimes our gifts are intended to bring joy to others. Some get ideas that others figure out how to implement. The list of gifts and how we use them goes on and on, but I think you get my point. You have something that you feel most comfortable doing and you don’t understand why someone else is uncomfortable doing what you do. It is your gift. Their “power” is something different and most likely not your gift.
I used to measure my self-worth against the gifts of those around me. For example, I can’t do math to save my life. I shudder at numbers and live in fear that someone will discover that I can barely add. I hide my inability because I am afraid that other people will think that I am stupid or uneducated. The fear of math is one of the main reasons I did not finish my college degree until I was in my 40s. I was terrified that I would not pass my math class and not graduate. Numbers are not my gift.
I love to write though. I love communicating, including giving speeches or speaking in front of crowds. I also seem to have a knack for organization and administration and often find myself wondering why my friends are not more organized and structured. I try to teach them my skills but to no avail. In my mind they refuse to embrace the process. I even once developed an analytic framework to help students organize their research and writing. They loved the process even though they didn’t fully use it! My skills are not their skills.
Can you imagine how it is to be a superhero and recognize your power for the first time? There is a slow realization that you have been given something special. You experiment to see how your powers work. You begin to accept that you have something supernatural that no one else has. And then you enter a phase of celebration and excitement for your gift—like a new toy to play with. Maybe you recognize that you have been given a talent to for good. And then you see other superheroes with different talents. You don’t envy their talent because you know what you have is just as special as that which has been given to them. And then you realize how together you are a powerful unit that can change the world.
When we come together in a group, organization, or ministry we will discover that we all bring different talents to the table. If we are fortunate, we will find that in bringing our superpowers together we might create something almost supernatural. It is far better to celebrate our differences and the ways in which we complement each other as part of a system. An effective project/program leader should explore what each person believes to be their personal gifts. We may need to take a little time at the beginning to ask questions of each other and to record each person’s gifts to determine how we fit together and complement each other. Remember to ask the right person to do that for which they are gifted. You will most likely find yourself with a happier and much more enthusiastic group. You may even find a surprise talent in the pack that you didn’t know you needed.
I like to think of this system process as God’s way of teaching us to see the value and worth in others. If we think that only our talent is needed or that only certain talents add value, then there is no need for building a team. This applies to mission or ministry teams as much as those teams we build in organizations and businesses. However, if you want to work to build a successful and cohesive group or committee, then take the time to look at what gift God has given each person and be willing to let God’s full vision come to life. Unleash the superhero in each person!!