Day 11: There’s Enough Pie

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Last night I cracked open one of the three books I’d just received in the mail. All three were by authors who are members of my writing community. Since being accepted into the Redbud Writer’s Guild, I have been encouraged by what it means to belong to and create with others who share the same goal; to fearlessly expand the feminine voice to influence faith and culture.

Wanting to support and learn from more experienced authors, I ordered a few and couldn’t wait to get started on reading them.

For my Friday night fun, I settled down with a bowl of popcorn and Teach Us to Want, by Jen Pollock Michel.  From the very beginning, I was astounded by it. The writing is thoughtful, offering prolific insights and a logically laid out case that builds into a strong, convincing thesis seeped in solid theology.

It was the sentences like this, people…

It is easy, all too easy, to arrange our lives in ways that titillate and convenience us, releasing us from the obligations of obedience and altering the exacting claims of discipleship: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

…who writes sentences like that?

I kept underlining that phrases that spoke to me and by page 36 I needed to sharpen my pencil. About that time I also noticed a wee bit of dread creeping in. “Oh man, this is good writing. And I don’t write like this at all.”

And then, “I really wish I could write like this.”

Followed by, “Why can’t I write like this?”

And concluding with, “I should stop writing.”

Maybe with time and a good editor, I could get closer to being an excellent writer, but that isn’t the point. It was the expedient drifting from enjoying the fruits of someone’s gift to coveting the gift and feeling enough shame to want to clam up that caught my attention.

Isn’t that what we do? When we observe others flourishing in their gifts, especially if it’s one we also have or desire to have, our first instinct can be to get envious and/or sink into shame. We feel like we don’t belong when we focus on what others have. That’s because we believe the false notion that only a few and only the best are called to each gifting. When we compare our own to the manifestations of other’s gifts, we lose site of the purpose of having gifts. The focus needs to be on the Giver and what his purposes might be for our individual passions, desires and gifts to bless others.

We’ve been trying multiple churches since we moved to Wisconsin a few weeks ago. I kid you not, three of the four have had a sermon on 1 Corinthians 12, the spiritual gifts passage. I wonder if I’m supposed to be learning something.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

Guess what!? There’s no dead weight in the body. None. We belong to each other and our gifts belong to the collective community, We rejoice with those who are rejoicing and mourn with those who are mourning.

We care for one another out of love for the Father. We don’t hold back our gifts out of love for the Father. We don’t compare our gifts out of love for the Father.

There is no need to feel like you have second class gifts, like there isn’t a seat at the table for you. 

I heard Shayne Moore, one of Redbud’s founders say something to the effect of, “There’s enough pie to go around,” referencing the fact that no one in group is going to lose out when it comes to speaking and writing. We all have our individual spaces where our work matters, because we’ve been called to it by God. Our Redbud group creates in a spirit of non-competition because the Kingdom needs a whole chorus of voices, not just one or two.

There’s pie for you and pie for me. There’s room at the table. We don’t have to despair when others nail it, because it doesn’t mean their success equals our exclusion.

So now that I’ve preached myself out of envying Jen Pollock Michel’s writing skills, I can finish her book and be blessed by her gifts instead.

I’m hoping over time, as the purpose of our gifts sinks in, I can be a cheerleader for all of those surrounding me, people like you, as we advance the Kingdom together.

This is Day 11 of a #write31days challenge. The links to the other posts can be found here: 31 Days of Belonging.

Comments

  1. Thank you for these words and this truth! I appreciate it and am so grateful to be a redbud with you.

    • Creating in community has meant a lot to me… on our down days we can pick each other up. On our good days we can celebrate. I have really enjoyed following your writing and can’t wait to meet you in person. I think a lot my despair in writing (besides feeling in adequate) comes from having too much one-way conversation….Putting a lot of stuff out there and not always hearing back. Every comment makes my day. Praying for you today,too, as I bring my own frustrations and heaviness to God.

      • I started writing on my own and it was so lonely. Becoming a redbud has been the best thing for me as I pursue this calling that seems unrealistic and crazy. But God likes to be unrealistic and crazy. I look forward to meeting you, too!! Bless you, today.

  2. I know what you mean! Sometimes I wonder how I can be in the same online space as these people?! Your voice has a place and is a gift from God (I have to tell myself this often). Keep at it, girl!

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