Thursday, February 16, 2012

Of doubts and cars

I'm generally a pretty confident person...except when I'm not.  The lows can be crushing, causing self-doubt,  melancholy, and inertia.  I've learned that comparison is the enemy of happiness, but it doesn't break the habit.  All it takes is reading another blog to make me think, "I'm not a writer," or a glance at someone's Pinterest to bring the realization, "I'm not all that creative after all."

It's a sensitive time for me as I prepare to hand in my application for the permanent chaplain position that I've loved as interim for the past five months.  Even with the discovery that students are "secretly" petitioning on my behalf and the reassurances from many that I'm a good fit, I still have those nagging "what ifs" circulating in my brain.  Today I will walk in my first official procession in my robe and preside on the platform and offer official prayers, but part of me feels like a kid playing dress-up.  My old preaching robe doesn't look as official as the academic gowns, and my hood is not as fancy or prestigious as the doctoral ones of those who will surround me.

Yesterday, my weekly worship gathering commenced for the semester and I had prepared a study on community, focusing on the passage in 1 Corinthians 12 about how we are all the body of Christ, but being different members with differing gifts.  The scripture goes on to propose that the members can't argue that they don't belong to the body because they don't have the gift of another.

1 Corinthians 12:15-20

New International Version (NIV)
 15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 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 stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

It should have hit home.  All our gifts are unique, but essential.  We are made to work together.  Except only one student showed up for the service.  She is very dear to me and I was glad to have her, but as she is a Muslim, I didn't go into my body of Christ scripture (probably due more to my level of discomfort than hers).  So I went home and indulged in some blogs and self-pity.

It wasn't until this morning as my daughter was taking a bath that things began to click.  She was playing with two cars in the bathtub and was creating a storyline and narration for them, as she usually does.  I was averting my eyes but listening, which is her preference.  As she is self-conscious, she doesn't like to invite us in to her play world often, which is a shame because she is one creative girl.  Anyway, I overheard the conversation between the cars, which went something like this:

Purple car: "I'm shiny!"
Black car: "I'm dark!"
(repeated a few times, then she turned them over so the bottom of the cars faced up)
both cars: "But we're both the same on the bottom!"

Yes, sometimes we're shiny, and sometimes we're dark, but in essence, we are all the same.  Beloved, beautiful children of God.

Thanks be to God, and to reminders from toy cars and my lovely and brilliant daughter.


  1. beautiful. everything about this.
    prayers for you in this exciting yet scary time. I hope Hollins finds you to be the "right fit"! ;)

  2. Why is it so stinkin' hard not to compare ourselves to others? I don't know... Several years ago I went to an event at which both Priscilla Shirer and Beth Moore spoke. I would love to be a "mini" version of either of these women. When Beth took the stage she began by praising Priscilla for her gifts and then admitting that she wondered whether she, herself, should do certain things more like Priscilla. But then she said a couple of things which I immediately wrote down and have re-read to often ever since: "You cannot bring someone else's offering to the altar." And, "Don't be imitators of people operating in the body of Christ - be imitators of Jesus Christ himself." I couldn't imagine her being better by changing herself to be more like another speaker. I like her just as she is (and obviously, so do a bunch of people, since she was speaking to a packed Greensboro Coliseum). I like YOU just as you are, and clearly the students you have encountered at Hollins feel the same way.
    Do you know if men do this to themselves? :)