Today I saw a picture on Face book; it was of a child in Paraguay receiving a quilt. My heart leapt with joy and God used it to teach me another life lesson.
Last summer I was in Paraguay on a mission trip. One of the pastors we were working with took us to a children’s home that he works with. As we toured the facility and interacted with the children I thought: What can we do to help? When I got back home I started a group at church to make quilts for the children. I’m not an experienced quilter; I had only made a couple of very simple quilts. We took in donations of fabric and dove right in! That is my personality, when I get an idea, I don’t research options or even think through the consequences, I just jump right in and deal with the fall-out later. Not generally a good tendency but occasionally God uses it to His advantage.
Last week our merry little band of quilters went to a quilt show. We were feeling pretty good about ourselves. We had just sent eight quilts to the children’s home in Paraguay. We were accomplished quilters! Once we entered the show it only took a few minutes for my bubble to burst. I suddenly felt like a little girl holding a drawing behind her back because she had just ran up to the front of the class to show her teacher and saw that the drawings of the girls in front of her were much better than hers.
These women were REAL quilters, we were just mediocre. We weren’t in the same league as these women; I’m not even sure we were playing the same sport! I felt alternately awed and deflated as I ogled the incredible creativity on display. Over the next few days the feeling didn’t subside, it settled in a little deeper. Until today. Today I saw the face of a child who had received one of our mediocre quilts. What that child’s face reflected was not mediocrity, it was pure joy.
I dream of being an author. I dream of what it would feel like to be on the best seller list or at a book signing. I think my writing is pretty good until I pick up a James Patterson or Nora Roberts novel and realize how mediocre my writing is in comparison. Then I think this is stupid, I’m just wasting my time pretending to be a writer.
Today God showed me once again that when I take my eyes off of Him and begin to compare myself to others I will always be disappointed. He reminded me that He has never asked me to be James Patterson, or an expert quilter; He has only asked me to use the talents He has given me to do the best I can to show His love to the world around me. God has used my mediocrity to comfort children who have been battered and bruised by life.
Although I don’t know what it would feel like to be an award winning author, I’m pretty sure it would pale in comparison to the feeling of knowing that you made a child smile.
What lessons has God taught you when comparing yourself to others?