If you’re new here, I have to put first things first: WELCOME! I’m so glad you’re here, however you came to be here, and I hope you’ll take a few minutes to look around and see what this space is all about. I’m really glad you’re here.
If you’ve been around here for awhile, though, you may notice that things look….well, different. And friends? I could not be more excited about this new space we can share together. I hope it will be someplace that facilitates conversation and fosters a real sense of community as we journey together. Plus? I think it’s really pretty, and that always helps, right?
The gut-honest truth, though, is that the process of becoming pretty is often gritty and – let’s be honest – ugly.[Tweet “The process of becoming pretty is often pretty ugly.”]
I began the painstaking process of redesigning my blog last spring. You read that right. Last spring, which is now nearly six months ago. I knew it was going to be a long process (and consequently had put it off for as long as I could). As I try to take my writing career to the next level, though, it was clear that the time had come to take my online space to the next level, too.
Encouraged by a close friend who had recently undertaken the same process on her own website, I jumped in headfirst. I was fully aware that there would be times I wanted to quit, but overriding that fear was the conclusion that if I didn’t start, I’d never be any further along in my journey than I was then.
Through the process, I learned things I never knew I never knew. I felt many times like I was learning a new language *while* trying to write a book in that language. Web design is no joke, and I understand now why the people who do it and do it well make the big bucks.
Search engine optimization and child themes and plugin activation and custom coding aside, though, I learned something that will go with me into whatever phases of life may be coming. That simply profound truth is this:
It’s okay – good, even – to ask for help.
I knew that before, but this process drilled it and re-drilled it into my stubborn head. Because here’s the thing: I started this process believing I could do it. My friend had done it, after all, and like me, she’s a writer – not a tech-guru. I reasoned that while it would be a hard thing for me to learn, she had done it, and so could I.
What’s more, I really wanted to do it. I wanted to be able to present my website and say, “Here it is, and I did it. Me. All by myself and with no help and did I mention that I did it?”
And I think those thoughts are good. It’s good to be ambitious and curious and driven toward excellence. It’s good to have confidence in our ability to take on new challenges, and it’s good to take pride in our work. But there’s a thin line between confidence and pride, and perfectionism and the desire to please can blur that line into near-invisibility, and the same confidence that can lead us to excellence can also become the pride that leads to our undoing.
[Tweet “There’s a thin line between confidence and pride. The desire to please can blur that line into invisibility.”]
At one specific point in the redesign process, I fell apart. I had just broken my blog. (Believe me when I say that it’s possible. The internet, for a span of a few hours, wouldn’t acknowledge the existence of this site at all. It was gone. That, friends, is terrifying.) I didn’t know how to move forward, and even contemplated stopping the process altogether and reverting back to my old site.
It was at that point that I realized my confidence in my abilities had become dangerous pride. What could have propelled me into great things was actually holding me back. My pride wanted to accomplish this on my own. My pride wanted to add “amateur web designer” to my resume. My pride wanted the satisfaction of facing something hard and conquering it. When it didn’t look like that was possible, my pride wanted to turn around and run the other way.
But the truth was that my blog wasn’t irreparable. I just didn’t know how to do it.
The process wasn’t hopeless. I just didn’t know the way to finish it.
I didn’t know what to do…..but someone did.
So I asked for help, and within a week, my site was finished. What I had stubbornly fought to make happen for months was completed within days.
Through that, I was reminded that God-given giftedness is not limited to the confines of our church buildings. It is easy to see spiritual gifts at work within the body of Christ, but those abilities are no less God-given if they aren’t easily visible. They are no less valuable if they are exercised in the world at large rather than in the microcosm of Church community.
In short, gifts are gifts, and God gives them with the intention that they be used.
But what if no one ever asks for help with something they know nothing about? What if we all try to do things on our own? What if we insist on doing everything ourselves, even if it isn’t in our sweet spot and we don’t do it as well as someone else?
Yes, we should try new things, and shouldn’t quit simply because we can’t do it as well as someone else.
Yes, we should learn new things, and should give ourselves grace to make mistakes as we figure it out.
But if there is a gift we lack but pridefully try to force, we may be depriving someone else of the opportunity to exercise their gifts.
And friend? If we were all good at everything, we would have no need for each other…or for God.
There is a time to stretch ourselves, but there is also a time to acknowledge our limitations. There is a time to be confident in our abilities, but there is also a time to let humility overcome our prideful desire to be good at everything.
In the end, it’s not actually about websites or blog redesigns at all. It’s about recognizing our place in this vast world…about acknowledging our smallness in the grand scheme of things…about humbly admitting that we are not God and should never pretend to be.
We do need each other, and our weaknesses show us just how much. We do need God, and while we may never know how much, it is our weaknesses that illuminate that need most clearly. However humbling it may be to acknowledge our limitations, it is in those places that Christ’s power shines the brightest…and that we should be most eager to rest.
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)