Standing in the hall of a conference center, surrounded by women all there for one purpose, our introductions and conversation circled around those things we have in common. The why of being there, which sessions we’d attended.
Social media allowed us to see glimpses into each others lives – mine in New England and hers in the Carolinas. We found that we check different boxes in so many categories. Really, we have little in common. We are different people with different gifts and talents. Different perspectives on life. Different likes and dislikes.
I met her just as I’d started to dream a new dream AND just before I started one of the busiest seasons of my life so far. A busyness that kept that dream pushed to edges of my subconsciousness, sometimes not visible at all. Fast forward a full year, and I had the opportunity to have lunch with this very friend that is so unlike me.
I stepped into her home and was instantly enamored with her giftedness. Her home is beautiful, restful, peaceful, interesting and so very different from mine. In corners, on tables, hanging on the walls were vignettes that told a story. Her story. She has a gift. And you could see the joy in her face as she talked about putting these beautiful items together. Mixing and matching. Creating a room full of visual short stories.
I could have looked at her house and been jealous because this is not a gift I possess.
I could have looked at her house with criticism because it doesn’t look like mine.
Instead, I was inspired. I was inspired by the way she sees the world. Inspired by her bravery in mixing elements and colors.
Inspired not to replicate her talent, but to use my own gifts as well as she has used hers. To cherish them. Relish them. Celebrate them. Use them to inspire others the way Wendy inspires me.
I breathed in the beauty that afternoon. Not just the physical beauty Wendy had created in every inch of her home, but the beauty of biblical truth lived out on a summer afternoon in the Carolinas. The beauty of friends recognizing their different gifts, celebrating them, encouraging each other to use them.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. -James 1:17
I breathed in hope that afternoon. I was filled with such hope that one day God will use Wendy’s good and perfect gifts outside the walls of her home. And I had hope for that budding dream in me that had been pushed aside and ignored.
You see, something happens when we use our gifts well. When we do that, we encourage others to use their own God-created, God-orchestrated, God-purposed gifts. I knew as soon as I boarded a plane, I would return to that busy season. But that afternoon among talented friends, I was encouraged. Encouraged to keep hoping. Spurred on.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds -Hebrews 10:24
Thank you, Wendy, for spurring me on during what seemed to be a simple lunch date.