I had a revelation this morning as I was on my way to (a way too early morning, in my opinon) church choir practice. It was simply this – I can’t be everything for everybody.
As simply obvious as that sounds, it caught me by surprise when I heard God whisper this little idea into my heart. “You can’t be everything for everybody.”
You know how we often try to adapt ourselves to fit a situation or person or place? Even without consciously trying, we move from role to role within different relationships to try to live up to all these ideas we think we should be attaining. Whether the roles we’re trying to fill can be named as good or bad, I have discovered that trying to fill too many roles always leads to an extremely discouraging heart-place.
We come face-to-face with our struggles when we try to play a saving role for everyone because instead of being the light we’re called to be, it’s easy to freak out and think – what if I fail?
Well, what if you do fail? Before we answer that question, let’s listen to what Psalm 73:26 has to say about that – “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” It’s like God already knows we are going to fail – oh, wait, He does. We get so wrapped up in attempting to make ourselves the exact thing everyone else needs, but here’s the thing – we can’t be carrying every single gift everyone else needs. In 1 Corinthians 12:29-30, Paul says this:
“Are we all apostles? Are we all prophets? Are we all teachers? Do we all have the power to do miracles? Do we all have the gift of healing? Do we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages? Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages? Of course not!”
No one has every conceivable gift! We aren’t expected to be exactly what everyone else needs because we aren’t all gifted to be exactly who everyone needs at any given moment. However, there are people we were created to love well and serve well. We all harbor the gifts of the Spirit that someone else most needs to be affected by. You are that person for someone, and someone is that person for you, but no one is that person for everyone because we’re all unique in our gifts – “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) We are his workmanship, uniquely and wonderfully made; each one of us differently, each one of us loved perfectly.
When I find myself thinking of the future, I imagine myself teaching, doing international mission work, walking into clubs and telling people about Jesus, being the best mom and wife, while also somehow having a lot of money (you know, to give with, obviously — and buy a convertible, but it’s whatever), and also… the list goes on. Somehow, I’ve put these expectations of greatness on myself – of perfection.
Can you relate? We have all these different ideas of the perfect person we’re supposed to be, when really the greatest thing we could accomplish is walking in the will of God. Corrie ten Boom said this – “The safest place to be is in the center of God’s will.” Trying to accomplish what may be genuinely good things outside of this will, though, can be detrimental, especially when we are trying to operate in perfection to meet our own expectations instead of just loving others well because we weren’t made to be stretched thin – we were made for an abundant life.
What if instead of worrying about saying the wrong thing, w just actually lived as if we knew God was faithful (SPOILER – He is; He stays faithful to the end – I know, I read the back of the book). We pine after and get jealous of other believers gifts instead of building them up in the Spirit with our own. Point in case – we make it a lot about us.
It’s really funny to me (well, maybe funny isn’t the right word) because the gifts the Spirit gives are given so we can love well, which isn’t about us at all.
So instead of trying to live up to the insurmountable expectations we place on ourselves, we could be reminded that walking in the Spirit, even in the littlest things that we find insignificant, has eternal impact. Trying to be perfect all the time also has eternal impact, or more so a lack there of – when we’re trying to be the best for everyone, we get stretched thin and become ineffective.
So, don’t become ineffective – know your limits, know your gifts, and take those things and love people well. You’re not like everyone else, and that’s okay. You don’t have the same gifts as everyone else, the same dreams, the same relationships, and that’s okay! In fact, that’s good because it means your influence reaches places where others’ influence doesn’t. So we don’t need to be afraid of being less than, or imperfect. All we need to do is keep our eyes on Jesus, and He, the Author and Finisher of our faith, will do the rest because He is made to be everything for everybody.