“Mommy, that last problem was easy-peesy, lizard-squeasy.” As I tried to contain the chuckle at his interpretation of that age-old phrase, I remarked “Good, honey! Keep going, you are almost done.” A few problems later, I noticed he was entering the “Challenge Zone” and let him know that’s what the screen said. “Won’t be a challenge for me. I got this!” My son, so humble. But after just over a year of wearing hearing aids, I have seen this kid transform and finally begin to believe in himself and I want nothing more than to foster that. Part of me, however, hears the fleeting voice inside saying “Am I also fostering humility? Should he really be this filled with applause about his accomplishments? No one likes a braggart.”
Several weeks ago, a colleague recommended a Lauren Daigle song to me called “You say”. As I clicked on the YouTube link to hear the song for the first time, the words “I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough…” rang out and admittedly, almost instantly, I felt a little choked up. Drawn in, I paused all I had to do and listened to every word of the song feeling a strong connection to the lyrics.
Then, I went online and looked up more about the artist. The first thing that came up was her connection to American Idol. She had a few tries at the Idol stage, and in 2012, made it to group rounds before being cut. I am currently watching this season of Idol with my sons, and last week, one of the contestants, who recently lost 170 pounds and subsequently found himself in the top 20 on the Idol stage, sang Lauren’s song. As I heard him sing the second line – “Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up” – I thought what an incredible statement. Seven years after being cut from the show, Lauren’s song was sung on stage by another contestant inspired by her journey. Her words from his lips dispelling all the lies she sang about.
This idea of not measuring up and not recognizing the talents we have all been given by God is something a lot of us, dare I say all of us, struggle with. Perhaps it is a lack of patience when dreams take more time than we anticipated. Perhaps it is in response to others not believing in us along the way. These voices that tell us we are not enough are ultimately what keep us from pursuing our dreams and dedicating time and energy to the things that bring us the most fulfillment and joy. But these voices are not the voice of God. When I started this particular website and started posting reflections on a weekly basis, I, too, had the persistent thought of “Who am I to think that I have something to share worth reading?” But this song doesn’t stop at the first two lines I quoted earlier, instead it continues on to say “The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me. In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity.” When the voice I listen to is God’s, I hear instead “Who are you not to think that you and what you produce are worthy? Who are you not to believe in you when I believe in you?”
In the end, God has gifted each of us with talents and skills that God wants us to use! God wants us to embrace them, run with them further than we can imagine, and, most of all, joyfully share them with others. Hiding our gifts and talents from others means that there will inevitably be one less person being the hands and feet of God in the world. If we are all one body like 1 Corinthians 12 says, then each of us is a worthy part, a necessary part. And we should celebrate that worthiness in ourselves and in others.
So perhaps, I should embrace and encourage this recognition my son has for his gifts while encouraging him also to acknowledge and celebrate the gifts of those around him. The voice he might inevitably hear one day saying that “he is not enough” can be drowned out by voices, including his own, shouting for all to hear that indeed he is just that.