As the story goes, a boy worked hard all summer, doing jobs around the yard for his dad. He saved his hard earned money for those three sun-adorned months, and at the start of fall was rewarded by a trip to the store, where he would spend the fruit of his labor. The boy picked out some Star Wars Legos, because he loved Star Wars, and his friends and brothers loved Legos, so without question, he must too.
The boy sat at the stretched out dining room table, Legos and directions overtaking the shared family space. As the boy toyed with small pieces, the more frustrated he became. The frustration led to stress, stress to yelling, and soon, the boy who had been filled with joy upon his new purchase was reduced to anxiety, anger and tears, yelling at anything that would walk with in several feet of his make-shift work table.
The boy’s wise father came near, and with peace and a love for the boy’s best interest, he made some suggestions. He explained to the boy that perhaps he didn’t love Legos but loved the idea of loving Legos, because that’s what his best friend and brother loved. He suggested that the boy was actually one of vision and leadership, and the detailed instructions induced stress and anxiety to one who is not wired with that strength. Then the father suggested what a good leader does; he employs the strength of those around for the common good. “Why don’t you let your brother help, then you can play with the Legos?” Anger was defused, joy recovered.
And so it goes with life. In a world full of people’s strengths, opinions, passions, and convictions, we are often routed in a direction different than what is actually best for us. They love building Legos, I must love building Legos too. But instead we end up stressed out, anxious and drained of life and energy. I want to propose that there is a better way.
There were two sisters and a brother whom Jesus visited. While one sister sat at Jesus feet and listened, the other scurried around, making sure there was nourishment and comfort for those in her home. And as she busied herself, she got concerned and suggested that Jesus should tell her sister to help her. However, he was not a parent. Likewise, he did not order her up to serve but simply stated that the sitting sister had chosen the better thing.
What Jesus did not say is equally as enlightening. He never said, “Martha, stop what you’re doing and do what Mary is doing.” Yes, people needed to be served, and yes, Mary had chosen what was best, sitting at Jesus feet. Not everyone can be Mary nor can everyone be Martha. Things would either get done and have no heart, or there would be only mystics and no food to eat.
Instead, we have the privilege of imparting the goodness of God through the unique life He has given us. Abraham Kuyper writes, “There is an external world which surrounds us, but there is another world which is concealed within our hearts. Because of this fact every woman can choose to do one of two things. She can choose to use the inner world as a chamber of the resources with which to beautify the world outside of her, or she can retreat from the external world and take refuge in the world within her.” *
The thing you’ve been given can actually beautify the world. He’s given every person a set of vivid paints and a brush, but no one’s canvas resembles another’s.
As God knit each amazing person together in their mother’s womb, he made them individuals, not clones. But shortly into our lives, we discover we are different, and we long to be accepted so we try to become the same. And we want to accept others, so we encourage them to become the same as us, forgetting everyone has combinations of strengths, passions, and convictions as different as a country farm and a bustling city. We notice there are greater gifts and positions and all pretend we should be there when really, what we were made to do is written on our hearts.
I don’t fit into a box, and neither do you. People in boxes don’t have life.
I am becoming comfortable in my own skin, skin fit for creating and teaching truth, skin made for loving my husband and my boys, skin made to be an introvert and yes, that is actually a good thing. I can make the greatest impact, when I am using my strengths and my calling to demonstrate the glory of God.
So I sit here today, quietly in the corner of my living room, exhaling the confessions of a creative introvert, confident He can use me to make a difference through all that He made me to be. I do not have to become someone else, I only need to be conformed to His image in the beauty He made me to be. With the truth of His Word as a guide, I have the freedom to become truly alive.
Inspiration literally means “God breathed” and we are all inspired to do something great, to make a difference, to bring glory to the God of the universe. And the way you will do that best is just by being 100% you. If that’s building Legos, then by all means, get out the Legos and build. If that means interacting with people, then go love and inspire and brighten some lives. If that means leading, then be the greatest at employing and releasing the gifts around you. If that means, numbers then go change lives with budgets that can set people free. If that means politics and implementing social change, do it with all your heart. If that means creating, then become an imitator of the Father. Whatever the combination of things that are inside of you that make you come alive, that you dream about impacting the world — please, whatever you do, just be you.
Thank you for stopping by.
*thoughts and quotes about Martha and Mary inspired by Abraham Kuyper’s Women of the New Testament