…at some things.
Obviously, just like all other human beings, there are some things I’m really bad at, some things I’m neither good nor bad at, and some things I’m really good at. Ask me to cut along a straight line (yes, even with a ruler) and you’ll find I’m seriously terrible at that. Ask me to cook a meal and – yeah, I can do it, it will come out perfectly edible, but it’s not going to be anything special. Ask me to listen to you when you need to pour your heart out and, yes, that’s something I can do really well.
I’m a gifted listener – and I say this without even the tiniest bit of glowing pride, because I’m very conscious that I didn’t always have this gift, I was given it by my Father in heaven at some stage in my life and if he hadn’t given me this gift, I’d be a terrible listener.
But we humans tend so often to feel proud of our strengths and abilities, as though they aren’t all gifts we’ve been given! We feel proud of stuff like beauty, intelligence, artistic talents, being good at cooking or sewing or whatever – as though it’s somehow down to us… But all of these things were handed to us without any choice on our part! Some of it we inherit from our parents, some we get taught, some we get given directly by God – so what is there for us to be proud of?
Oh, but what about our achievements, I hear you say, or about the effort we put into honing our skills, learning more, practising and practising and practising some more – yes, sure, that seems a lot more down to us than, say, our genetic inheritance. But who gave you the ability, the desire, the dedication? How come some people have more of that than others? Did you go to a shop and buy ten kilos of dogged perseverance with your hard-earned cash? Did you somehow manufacture it yourself? No. You were given it, just like your intelligence or your talents or your beautiful eyes.
I say “you” but I’m preaching to myself at the same time. I need to constantly remind myself of this truth. The world around me preaches a very different message, and it’s so easy to get sucked in. The world around me says you should be proud of your strengths and your achievements. But I know different. I know that there is nothing – absolutely nothing – nothing good I have that didn’t ultimately come from God, who is the source of all good.
When I mess things up, that’s down to me. When I do things well – soli deo gloria! Glory be to God and only to him!