Okay, so...new blog. I'm getting blog happy, I know, but it happens from time to time. Anyway, so last weekend, I was blessed with the opportunity to be a part of a Bible study with my middle school girls. It was so awesome to sit and discuss 1 Corinthians 12 with them. It blew my mind to hear them talk about it (I love that about middle school Bible studies), but it also stuck with me as something for me to ponder deep in my heart...something to consider...it struck a chord, I guess. I always loved 1 Corinthians 12. I always loved Paul's discussion of the body of Christ. I read this amazing book on it once, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made. It was about Paul's discussion of the body of Christ and how all that we have learned about the human body since that time only makes it cooler and more relevant! It's hard for me to explain exactly why it's so cool, but trust me...it totally is, especially if you're into anatomy and physiology and all that stuff or have a vague understanding of those things and are into theological discussions. Anyway, lately, I've been pondering all kinds of things...my summer plans, my future plans, what I'm doing with my life right now...what I have to contribute, what gives me value, what my purpose is...no, I don't expect to have all those answers like ever, but I list them just to point out that I have been thinking about a variety of things. Some are introspective, some are speculation...It's pretty exciting. :P Thanks to my thoughts and the events of last weekend and the reminder of the crazy awesomeness found in 1 Corinthians 12, I've been thinking a lot on spiritual gifts and all that stuff. And if you are one of those friends of mine that read the word spiritual gifts and think, "You know, I've been meaning to talk to her about that." then do so. I am primed and ready...until my mood changes again. So, don't put it off.
Anyway, part of the reason I've been thinking about it is because I've been admiring the amazing gifts of my friends and family and even the youth I've come to know and love. They all blow my mind. I must admit, I've found myself experiencing a bit of gift envy from time to time, lately. I would enumerate the many people who I believe have amazing gifts and are awesome! But that would be unnecessarily wordy and such...and if even I can recognize that, it must be true. So, I will instead say that if I am envious of you or admire your gifts, you may hear about it in the not so distant future...and if you don't, it doesn't mean I don't envy or admire you, it means I got crazy busy again.
As I thought about my gift envy, I realized that my perceived physical inadequacies (I mean to say the fact that I struggle to see myself as beautiful or attractive) seems to parallel my inability to perceive how I have anything to offer anyone...my inability to see myself as being valuable or gifted, as someone who contributes to the workings of the body of Christ, let alone contributes something of worth to the relationships she has (and so we're clear...I mean ALL relationships, not just dating). Anyway, I was thinking...if your outward beauty is supposed to be a reflection of your inner beauty, is the fact that I don't see myself as beautiful or attractive linked to the fact that I don't see myself as beautiful on the inside. If beauty's in the eye of the beholder, then is it my inability to see myself as someone of value and worth what truly clouds my vision in regard to my physical appearance? What saddened me was that I realized that while that is probably an over-simplification and my problems are probably much more twisted and complex, I'm pretty sure there's some merit to the idea.
It made me think on my discussion with the middle schoolers and how the part of the passage that seemed to stand out to them was: "The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" In contrast, the part that stands out to me is: "If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body." Yes, that's right...instead of believing that I somehow am WAY more qualified to be a part of the body of Christ, instead of believing that I have SO much to contribute and SO much to offer others, I tend to believe that everyone else has so much more to offer. Oh, yes. I am that foot. I am that ear. In my world, I am a superfluous body part. Could I help out? Sure. But am I necessary? That's what I have a hard time answering. I mean, I don't doubt that God could use me. He can use everyone and anyone. But by the same token, God can accomplish stuff however He wants. If I say no, He'll find someone else. He can do without me.
It makes me think of another part of last weekend, the video with Dick and Rick -- the father-son team that runs marathons and such. The thing that stood out to me watching that video was the part where it said, "Rick couldn't do it without his father. Dick wouldn't do it without his son." That definitely made me all misty-eyed. The difference between couldn't and wouldn't. You see, I love words...I love the nuances...I love word selection...one of the most frustrating feelings for me is being unable to find the right word, or using a word that I know is inadequate. I digress. Anyway, it got to me because...in that moment, I felt...loved and valued...I mean, I was reminded that I need God to accomplish anything awesome...but I'm generally pretty aware of the fact that I'm inadequate on my own. Inadequacy is something I totally get. What brought me to tears was the other word, "wouldn't". It means that God so doesn't need me. He can accomplish whatever He wants without me. He chooses to use me. He chose to give me the gifts I have (though I honestly don't know what they are....grrr...). He chooses to give me opportunities to touch people's lives and share His love. He wants me with Him. He wants to use me...because He loves me...and He wants me to share in His work and His glory and His experiences...not fully, of course, because I'm me and I'm human and I just don't get the grandeur of all that He does...plus, I so don't do the work. I do, however, choose to go along for the ride and chill with my Daddy and admire His strength and His commitment, His heart and His passion, His sacrifice and His love. That's nothing to sneeze at. Would I like to understand more about how and why I matter? Yes. Would I like to know where I fit in to this body? Yes. Would I like to know what piece I am in the puzzle? Yes. Does it frustrate me when I get the feeling that those around me have a better idea about where I fit then I do? Absolutely! But it's okay...little by little...as I learn more about who God is and how much He loves and values me, I pray that He and all the wonderful people He's put in my life, will help me to see and realize that I belong here...that I play a part here...that I'm valuable and important.