The Right Fit

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I was contacted by a recruiter about a job opportunity a couple weeks ago. It was so random – and a little confusing, since the salary was tempting enough to make me forget for just a minute how much I love my current job and how important it is for my job to fit both my gifts and my personality. As I sent the “thanks, but no thanks” email, I remembered this post that was originally published at (in)courage. And since I seem to STILL be incapable of writing anything new these days, I thought I’d share it again!

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The second I got engaged, I immediately turned into one of Those Girls. You know, the ones who carry around a stack of bridal magazines and can only talk about things like centerpieces, bows made of tulle and the merits of roses versus daisies. It wasn’t long before I had picked out the exact same wedding dress in every magazine, dog-earing pages and circling designers as if I wasn’t going to be shopping at David’s Bridal.

When it came time for the big day – the big shopping day, that is – my mom, cousins and friends all headed out with me. I flipped through the dresses on the racks and pulled out The One.

Well, I thought it was the one. But it turned out that the gorgeous wide-necked, cap-sleeved tight bodice with the simple full skirt looked terrible on my narrow shoulders. I mean, it just looked awful. I could prove it to you, because my mom lovingly snapped a picture when I tried it on. But honestly, it still makes me a little sad.

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When I was in college, I was involved in a campus ministry and as soon as I was eligible (read: a wise sophomore), I applied for a position on the leadership team. I wasn’t sure which area of ministry would be the best fit for me, but I sure didn’t think it would be the Tech Team.

Making promotional videos? Designing a website? Running the sound equipment? Boring! Who wants to do that? Not me. I just knew that when the campus pastor looked at the list of open positions and compared it to the list of interested students, my name was merely the last one unmatched and, therefore, the logical fit for the stupid tech team.

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Several years later my husband and I joined 10 of our closest friends in planting a new church. We decided to start our church with in-home meetings about the different areas of ministry our church would be founded on, and each couple was assigned an area to lead. My husband and I were assigned to the Fellowship Ministry.

Fellowship. As in, potlucks and picnics. Again, I was disappointed because clearly this wasn’t the best place for me to serve God. Obviously I could be doing so much more than planning chili cook-offs!

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Flash forward a few years, and I’m watching the Tinker Bell movie with my 4-year-old daughter. Half paying attention, I don’t catch the entire plot of the movie on the first watch. But after a few more viewings (because if watching it once was good, watching it 10 times is way better!), I realize that little fairy and her friends are handing out some truth along with the pixie dust.

The gist of the story is that Tinker Bell is disappointed to learn that she is a tinker fairy, a fairy who fixes and builds things. Even though everyone can see that she’s gifted at tinkering, she wants desperately to do something more exciting, more fun with her life. At one point she says, “Look. You all do things that are beautiful and magical and . . . and important. But me . . . there’s gotta be more to my life than just pots and kettles. All I’m asking you is that you give me a chance.”

It takes her a while to figure out what’s clear to everyone else, but you know the movie must have a happy ending. Eventually, Tinker Bell realizes that she really is a tinker. It’s how she was created, and it’s when she’s tinkering that she’s truly in her element.

I’m no cartoon character, but I feel a little bit like Tinker Bell. From wedding dresses to ministry, I’ve fought who I am my entire life. And just like in this children’s movie, that refusal to accept myself has caused hurt and frustration and wasted a lot of time. I’ve had to learn, over and over, that when I stop arguing – with my mother at the bridal shop, with ministry leaders, with employers, with God – about who I am, it usually turns out that God has put me in the exact right spot. The exact right spot for me, the unique person He created – narrow shoulders and all.

The dress I ended up wearing at my wedding? It was gorgeous. And flattering, too, as my mother reminds me. The year I spent on the Tech Team in college? It prepared me for this little hobby called blogging. And leading our church plant’s Fellowship Ministry? It taught me about community and friendship and the real meaning of fellowship and, oh yeah, gave me loads of inspiration for my e-book about planning parties.

God doesn’t waste. He doesn’t waste talent or time or opportunities or experiences. And He knows what your right fit is. So if you find yourself in places that seem uncomfortable, like they just don’t fit or maybe like they’re just not good enough, fun enough, fancy enough or exciting enough? Just sit back, take a deep breath and think about Tinker Bell. Or wedding dresses. Or website design, circa 1998.

He’s got you where you are for a reason. He made you the way you are for a reason. And the way He weaves together His followers and their gifts, their lives and His mission is beautiful – and way better than pixie dust!

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.
(1 Corinthians 12: 4-6)

Have you ever been disappointed with one of your gifts or abilities? How is God using those gifts and abilities now?

{Photo by Jeremy Bronson}

Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this, I needed to read this today and remember always that God doesn’t waste time or talent or opportunity

  2. This is such perfect timing for me to read. I’m stressing about my career and that I’m not taking the same route as my friends. The endless comparison is exhausting! Great reminder that God has given us different paths to travel.

    • Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says:

      So true, Louise – comparing ourselves to others can definitely be exhausting. My own path is different from my friends’ and different from what I imagined and hoped for – but it’s beautiful and God-created and better than what I could have come up with myself. I know the same is true for you. :)

  3. I love this. Lately, I’ve been fighting (in my head) with God over my personality, because I think it’s too sensitive and fragile and just not all-the-good-things. It’s irritating me, because I don’t think I was always like this. But maybe there’s a reason I’m like this RIGHT NOW. And maybe that’s what I need to figure out… or at least let happen.

  4. Thanks for this timely reminder and thanks for sharing so vulnerably.

  5. Thank you for this, it comes at a time when I am soul searching how best to use my gifts. God gave me the talent to draw, and while I laid it down most of my life I recently picked back up a few months ago. I ask myself why would he give me this talent, how can I use it for him?
    Thank you for the reminder to sit back and take a deep breath. I’m trusting he will show me the way.

    http://aheartlikehers.com/2014/02/25/when-you-feel-like-a-failure/

    • Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says:

      He will absolutely show you the way, Melanie! I hope you’ll come back and share with us how you’re able to use your drawing gift for the kingdom!

  6. chelleybutton says:

    It’s funny how so many of us go through similar struggles, isn’t it? (Just reading above all the comments and thinking of myself also.)

  7. Thanks for re-posting this Mary as I needed to read it!! Finding out I am a “golden retriever” personality at a church group was a TRUE eye opener and such a wonderful justification of who I am…

    Praying for you and the late night newborn agenda you must be on. We will keep tuning in until you return to the blog.

    Best, Lina

    • Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says:

      Thank you, Lina, so much. :) And YES – that is why I love personality tests. They validate who we really are and often teach us something about who we are, too!

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