Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nice gift... where'd you get it?

I've been noticing a disgusting tendency , lately: The dreaded desire to...dun dun dun... COMPARE. Gosh, I hate when I do this. Why can't I just be in awe of someone's creativity without shining a spotlight on the fact that I lack their ability. It seems I've taken the simple act of observation and turned it into agame of one-upping. It might be a different story if this game motivated me to get in gear, go for it, do more, be all the things I want to be... but it doesn't. Really, it just serves up discouragement with a side of self-pity. This tendency has been growing over the last few months as I've taken a greater interest in creativity and innovation. With a realization that I need a creative outlet of some sort, I have had this burning desire to create, to make beautiful things, to use up (and stir up) some creative juices. These needs are real and even healthy. That is, they would be if they didn't lead me to compare myself to others. I don't even start the process of making or doing something new because the dreaded thought stunts my productivity: "It won't really be that great". Oh what a silly, terrible thought.
This tendency has been getting worse and worse, until recently, when I read something. It's from the book of Benedictine Prayer, "Work of God". This book was a gift from my brother and has been such a blessing. What I read was a necessary reminder:

"Our Father...
Giver of every good gift, your greatness is glimpsed in the wonder and variety of humanity. Enable us to share our talents freely, humbly and generously, and help us to welcome the gifts of others graciously and gratefully. Triune God, receive our prayer. Amen"

We can see God's greatness as we see the wonder and variety of humanity. The things I've been comparing are not meant to be compared; it doesn't make any sense to compare
them. Instead, they are to be recognized as yet another way to glimpse God's greatness, power, beauty and creativity displayed among his creation. Through God's eyes and a fresh vision, I can see the beauty of others' creativity and be inspired by it while recognizing that, though I may not possess that same gift of creativity, God has given me my own gifts. I can be creative in my own ways, I can even learn to do what others do in different ways. The best way to learn is to learn from the people who do it well. After reading this beautiful prayer, there has been a bit of a shift in the way I think. God is working in my mind and heart to see others through his eyes... and to see myself the way He sees me.

God, help me to be inspired and get excited when I see examples of your creativity in the variety of your people and the gifts you have given them. Help me to remember that the gifts that others possess, as well as the gifts I possess, are from you; they are examples of your love and your creativity. Guard my heart and my mind from the tendency to compare and be discouraged. Help me to have a heart of encouragement and a spirit of awe as I see the beauty that others create. Thank you, Father!

Romans 9:20: But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'"

I Cor. 12:4-6: There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

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