Sunday, May 9, 2010

Do You Feel Competent?

I have many things in my life that are easy for me. Meeting new people is easy for me. I am one of those "extroverts" that drive you crazy when they make friends with the waitress at the corner cafe and the security guard in the parking lot and the President of the Bank, and the custodian at the school and the next door neighbor that no one talks to, because he is odd. Meeting people is easy and getting them to talk about themselves is a snap for me. Doing regular exercise is easy for me, not that I always want to get out of bed early, but I am by nature and habit a morning person who loves to be outside and get moving. Getting excited about a new adventure, something I have not tried before is easy -- the payoff is often learning something new about myself and others and I really enjoy that.

I have things that are not as easy for me. Confronting someone about a problem is not easy - I do it quite regularly, but I often feel nervous and anxious before hand. Buying big ticket items is nerve racking to me -- I would never buy a car, house, or anything very expensive again, if I did not feel I had to. Part of the reason, is because I don't want to let go of my money and because I feel very unsure whether I would ever get a "good deal", what ever that means. When I have to do it, I do my research and I get it done but it is never easy for me.

All of us need a certain level of competence. We need to feel capable of making decisions and of doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. This is a basic skill of living.

Day after day, I interact with amazing people who are remarkable in their talent and skills. And yet many of them feel incompetent. I am blown away by this. I spend a great deal of time and energy convincing people that they have what it takes to be successful.

In his novel, Bridge of Sighs, Richard Russo portrays a startling scene between two of the main characters in the book, a Father and Son. The Son is now grown and his Father confides in him a deep, dark secret with the plea, "Don't tell nobody". He tells his son, that every election he would go to the voting booth and he would stay in the booth long enough to fill out the ballot, but in reality he never voted. For all his life, he felt the urge as an American citizen and knew it was his right and privilege to vote but he never felt competent to decide and so he never did.

I almost wept when I read that scene. To feel so insecure and incapable and the end result is to be frozen, unable to act - what misery that must be.

I meet truly amazing people week after week, who have great gifts from God and yet they feel as if they do not have anything to offer this world. Much of what good friendship is about is to encourage our friends and associates to use their talents and to believe that with God's rich blessings they have much to offer and the joy is using those talents.

My word for you today is that even in your weakest moment you are valuable and capable of being a blessing - Paul, the great Christian writer, said it this way "For when I am weak, then I am strong." (II Cor. 12)

I offer this word of encouragement - you are capable and competent for the challenges that come your way - tackle each one with courage and with confidence that God will help you to do or say what is needed. Go for it, friend!

Just thinking, Steve Yates

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