“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
What are you good at?
Do you find this question easy or difficult to answer?
My answer keeps changing!
In my teens I would have flipped the question, cried uncontrollably, and then listed all the things that I wasn’t good at instead of answering the original question (I can provide witnesses if required.)
In my twenties I would have thought of some things I was good at and then immediately balanced them out with a list of things that I wasn’t good at. All of this would have been done internally and you would have been stood waiting for quite a long time for an answer that probably would have ended up as, “I’m not sure really!” I then would have desperately hoped that you would tell me what you thought I was good at!
In my thirties I would have secretly known what I was good at but would have only mentioned it if you really pushed me or said, “oh come on you must be able to say one thing.” You would have then got an answer but I would have made sure the word “quite” was in there somewhere, so that you knew I wasn’t being arrogant.
In my forties…watch this space…
Throughout all of these stages I have played down any achievements, successes, abilities, gifts or talents, almost embarrassed at the possibility that there might actually be something in the world that I was good at. For example, many moons ago I graduated with a 1st class honours degree! However, if anyone finds out about it (usually from Lyndon) then I will always inform them, as I am doing now, that it was a Mickey Mouse course from a none red brick University and that I probably wouldn’t have got one if it was from a “real” University!
I do it every time and my husband corrects me every time.
Why am I so afraid to say that I got a 1st class honours degree because I loved the subject I was studying and I worked ridiculously hard?
When I see it written in black and white then it seems even more ridiculous, but you won’t convince me that I’m alone in this.
Be honest, do you do this sort of thing as well?
When I talk about sharing what we’re good at I don’t mean shouting it from the roof tops and forcing how amazing we are in the face of others (Rik Mayall’s Blackadder appearance comes to mind). I just mean acknowledging and allowing ourselves to celebrate the skills and talents that we have been given.
I wanted to try and get some insight into why answering this basic question is so tricky for me and decided to dedicate one of my Lent quiet times (yes I’ve stuck to it) to reflecting on the following quote:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
As always there will be those reading this who simply do not have a clue what I’m on about, but for those who do, then here’s what came to mind in those twenty minutes.
We are powerful beyond measure…
Hebrews 13:21 says that God will “equip you with everything good for doing his will” and Philippians 4:13 points out that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” So, in short, the “powerful beyond measure” part is pretty much covered.
You are a child of God…
Parents support their children to grow and develop their talents, often driving from one club to another and standing at the edge of freezing cold football pitches on Saturday mornings. They go out of their way to nurture the skills of their children, buying them the right kit and sharing their achievements on Facebook. If that’s how earthly parents feel about their children then how much more do you think God supports, nurtures and loves us as His children? Knowing that we have that level of love and support should spur us on, not hold us back.
Your playing small does not serve the world…
How often have you played down a skill or talent just so that someone else didn’t feel hurt, jealous or insecure? How does that actually help in the long run? You don’t get to be the person you're meant to be and the other person never has to face the root of their insecurity. It’s a lose lose situation. We get pulled into the lie that we have to be less so that others feel more. The reality is that “we are all meant to shine as children do,” and there is plenty of space for us all to do that.
We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us…
God created you. He knows you and has placed within you particular passions and gifts in a combination that no one else on the planet possesses. I have said these kinds of words to others so many times and yet I’ve resisted the truth within them. If you are a talented composer, artist, writer, dancer (fill in the blank) who hides their gift in the shadows, then you are denying yourself the chance to “manifest the glory of God” and shutting down any opportunity to be who you were created to be.
The more I have thought about this topic the more niggled I have become. It’s made me think of friends and family that I love who are denying themselves the chance to shine, crippled by fear and insecurity. I’m even more annoyed because I have been doing the same thing. Being afraid of acknowledging the way God created us isn’t a show of humility or modesty, it’s a denial of the brilliance of our creator. What a waste!
“And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
So, and this really hasn’t been easy to write, here’s my honest answer to my original question…
I’m loving. I make my husband laugh to the point where he sounds like Muttley from Wacky Races. My son rings me at lunchtime just to say “hi” because my voice cheers him up. I write songs. I’m honest. I’m passionate about the things I believe in. I’m a good friend. I’m loyal. My lemon drizzle cake is my niece’s favourite. I wrote a children’s book to help grieving families. I write a blog that my big sister loves to read. I support people through difficult times. I am willing to take risks even when others roll their eyes. I let God teach me more about Him (and myself) when I mess up. I am learning to shine.
Having faced it head on myself, I am inviting you to embrace who you are, be honest and answer the question…
What are you good at?