“Because you have been created by God as a unique person, his plan to grow you will not look the same as his plan to grow anyone else. What would grow an orchid would drown a cactus. What would feed a mouse would starve an elephant. All of those entities need light, food, air, and water—but in different amounts and conditions. The key is not treating every creature alike; it is finding the unique conditions that help each creature grow.”
—John Ortberg in The Me I Want To Be
As I have been preparing to facilitate a conversation—along with a friend and colleague—at a “women in leadership retreat” that’s happening next week, I ran across this. The fact that I responded with a sigh and a voice in my head (my voice, I recognize it) telling me that “the problem is, no one understands just how unique you are and so no one nurtures your soul the way it needs to be nurtured.” I was half way through sympathizing with myself when I walked across the proverbial room and smacked myself. Nothing like catching yourself in a total ego-centric pity-party.
I want to be a person who reads these words by Ortberg and, instead, hears it as a nudge to be better at the ways I come along side others and cheer them on or lighten their load. More often than I’d like to admit, I am not that person.
I’m not asking you—with this disclosure—to tell me that I’m fine or comfort me with proof that I do also, from time to time, speak with grace and take great delight in people. I know I do. Sometimes I catch myself at that, too.
Maybe..maybe I’m asking you to simply hear this as a part of my bigger, whole story. I’m asking you to hold me accountable to be my true self hidden in Christ even when the false self (as Ruth Haley Barton calls it) comes out of it’s cave and makes messes on the floor.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.