Hi everyone, Rob here.
Tomorrow I fly out to Fiji with a team from our church to work on a building project, bless some friends, teach some kids and enjoy the company of a church we have connections with. It will be a great time and the tropical warmth will be a tonic I’m sure. As a pastor I’m fairly sure that I’ll be called on for a few extra activities and that will be great too. But I do have some nerves. It’s not around the cross-cultural stuff, although that can get a bit tricky. It’s not around team unity as we’ll all get along fine. It’s around the actual activity of building.
Building and home handyman skills was not something I was brought up with, nor have I ever shown a lot of talent for. Whenever I’ve tried I’ve found it frustrating, and something always goes a bit wrong it seems. Now I know that I could find useful activities on the building site and I could play the part of a good servant. However, part of me wants more than that. I want to learn some skills and make a contribution in the actual building.
Now, I’m sure you know the uncomfortable feelings that go with being an old dog trying to learn new tricks. I have certainly carried feelings of shame around my inadequacy in this area. I have felt incompetent as a man, especially a Kiwi man surrounded by other men who are very capable practically. I have felt fairly stupid at times as I struggle to get my head around learning even the most basic of skills. While these feelings have been real, they’ve also been profound lies.
They’ve been built around such things as envy, a false masculine ideal, a failure to be thankful for my own gifts and skills, a lack of grace towards myself and the inability to surrender all of this to God my Father, thus not allowing myself to learn as a son and, as an apprentice to Christ my brother. The truth is I’m not very good at building and that’s just fine. I don’t need to be and God doesn’t need me to be. But it is an opportunity to be a student, and serve as a student. It’s a time to learn and grow. It’s an invitation into humility and a time to lay my shame and inadequacy down.
We all have these places within us that feel inadequate and shameful. They need to be presented to God and healed by his kindness and love. We need to repent of the agreements we’ve made with the shame. We then need to have a true humility that can own up to our imperfections, but still choose to serve and be teachable. This trip is a good step on the journey for me. I still feel vulnerable but that is leading to surrender and trust. I choose to walk with God and be Fathered by him. And while that’s enough, I still want to learn how to make a set of bunks!
Grace and peace everyone.