Friends, I’ve been thinking about the words of Saint Paul. He wrote this simple couple sentences that I’ve been meditating on for the last year and revisiting. He writes, “Make a careful exploration, make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” I found that, what is that? Four sentences? Five sentences? Incredibly disruptive, incredibly expansive, incredibly life-giving. And what I found is, even the first few lines, words, make a careful exploration of who you are.
Wow, careful, explore. This question of, “Well, who am I? Like, who am I made to be?” I believe we are intimately designed and created and so in that, we don’t come with a operator’s manual. It’s like when you buy a new TV or computer, you get the user guide. Well, there isn’t one specifically for each one of us, we have to discover and make a careful exploration of how we operate when we’re at our best, who we are, how we’re uniquely created and designed, how our life has formed us, how our experiences have formed us and the choices that we’ve made. And that we are continuing to make of who we are and who we want to be and how we operate in the world.
I find that to be a very poignant choice is to be intentional about those things or pretend that they’re just happy accidents. And the work you’ve been given and sink yourself into that. I find so interesting that work is so much of our context in what we do, whether it’s folding laundry, cutting grass, as a math teacher, as a physician, as a mom, as a CPA, as a bookkeeper, a retail checkout person in the sporting goods section.
What is the work that we’ve been given today? The work that’s in front of us today. The work as a nurse, the work as a consultant, the work as a salesperson, the work as a bank teller, the work as a mom. What is the work that’s been given to us today? And sink yourself into that. So don’t go left or right. Don’t go searching. Don’t go wandering, just sink yourself fully into today. And then in case you forget, don’t be impressed with yourself. Advice from St. Paul. Don’t think your shit don’t stink. I have a buddy of mine that I think of. We talk about often about not taking the line, as you progress in your career often you end up with a short line, oh, this friend of mine had told this story to me of when he became a senior executive, then he was at a cocktail party and he was waiting in the long line. And then this woman came up to him and said, “Oh, Mr. so-and-so, that’s not the line for executives come with me.” And we were talking about how easy it is to slowly become impressed with yourself, to slowly think you’re a big deal, to slowly believe you’re better than others.
Paul continues, “And don’t compare yourself with others.” I find that incredibly helpful. I play that game so often in my head, comparing myself with other people. And it’s entirely unfruitful because each of us must take responsibility for doing the creative best we can with our own life. So what does it look like to take responsibility for doing the creative best we can today in this life? The one we have today, in the place we live today, with the neighbors we live next to, with the people that we lead and love, those entrusted to our care, with the responsibilities that we have, with the accountabilities that are ours.
How do we do the creative best we can with our own life today? Friends, keep going. This is good for us. This will enhance, yeah, the relationships in our life. The work that we do, the impact we create, and the intimacy we seek. Thank you, Saint Paul. Kingdom come.