I repotted a plant this week, taking extra care to make sure I used good soil and, more importantly, a pretty pot. Midway through, I could tell the flower was tilting, so I pulled the whole thing out, hollowed the dirt, carefully centering it, and filling the gaps with the black magic of Miracle Gro. Since it was still leaning, I added soil to the other side hoping its weight would tilt it vertically.
When I finished, I had a pretty plant in a pretty pot lurching asymmetrically like a staggering drunk.
Despite my efforts, it was crooked. This could be a metaphor for everything in my life, but it’s not. Well, maybe it is, but that’s not what this is about.
My husband replanted the flower for me, and it looks lovely, nothing like the botanical version of the leaning tower of Pisa that it did when I planted it.
I have come to accept that there are many things that I don’t do well. So much so that I often find myself saying, “That’s not my gift to the world.”
Most of the time I’m okay with my lack of gifts, but the crooked plant bothered me. I love to work in the yard, to frequent garden centers, propagate succulents, and ask my husband to move heavy pots from place to place on the patio. So it frustrates me that I couldn’t do this well. My husband doesn’t even like yard work, yet it’s nothing for him to plant a flower upright. It seems kind of unfair.
Things that always appear easy for other people often felt hard for me. This always made me feel a little defective like maybe I should have a diagnosis, or my mother should finally admit she dropped me on my head as an infant.
Still, I realize that my focus shouldn’t be on what my gifts are not.
It’s so easy to get caught up in our deficiencies and forget all of the things that we do well. We forget that God made us for a purpose and it probably doesn’t have anything to do with what’s on Pinterest. Maybe it doesn’t even have anything to do with what we want to be good at. He just wants us to love him and others. This doesn’t require a complicated skill set, and I don’t think it’s something we could ever do wrong.
By distracting ourselves with that we are not, we lose sight of who we are, which is always going to be beautiful to God despite our inherent imperfection. This is the mercy of his love.
The most important thing I have learned is that God loves me regardless of anything I do or don’t do. He doesn’t measure my worth by what gets crossed off my to do list or what attributes the world might value. So much energy is spent trying to prove we are enough, we are worthy, and we have value. But we don’t have to prove anything to God.
Knowing this makes it a little easier to embrace and share my gifts with the world even if there are still many days that I struggle with identifying any. My gifts may not include planting a flower upright, yet miraculously I still grow towards the light.
After all, even a crooked flower can bloom.
I realize I need to start thinking more about what my gifts are to the world. At first, all I came up with was making banana bread but before I knew it had added rescuing cats, reuniting dogs with their owners, being a good friend, loving my family, a few more things that had to do with cats, teaching Children’s liturgy, writing, and dancing to “I Will Survive.”
What are your gifts? Please share! Sharing is a gift!