I sometimes feel I have to be all things. Do everything. Be a complete person.
But that’s an awfully discouraging and ineffective way to live.
The truth is, I’m not meant to be good at everything. I’ve got weaknesses.
And that’s okay.
For quite some time now, I’ve been working in areas outside my gifting and strengths. Trying to improve where I wasn’t strong. Trying to be something that I admired in other people.
It’s been a hard slog.
But I’ve come to a decision today not to do this anymore. Other people can do a better job, and more easily than me, in some of the areas I’ve been slaving away in.
There is one of me and the best I can offer the world is the best of me. My strongest strengths are the things I should give my time, energy, learning and resources too.
Knowing what I’m good at and focusing right in on these things in an unbalanced way is how I’m going to give my best to those around me.
This idea of unbalance has been coming up again and again for me recently. I always thought I should live a balanced life. And in many ways, I should. But this strange idea that imbalance is better has been nagging me.
I think I’m beginning to understand though. For me to achieve the most I can and to get the best out of myself, I need to give my attention in a very unbalanced way to only a few most important things.
I have limited time. I have limited resources.
There are many really good things I can do. But these things, while giving me a broad appreciation of life, will distract me from the opportunity for true excellence. For kids and young people, a wide range of experiences is very helpful and creates self-awareness, but I think that narrowing down our focus is part of maturing.
I have been inspired by the excellence and passion of others and mistaken their passion for my passion. I need to discover my own, very unique, path in life.
And you do too.
Once you know who you are and what you’re good at, forget balance, and throw yourself into it completely.
Become a one-legged chair.
You might think that imbalance will cause you to fall down. But I think that all of us are only really capable of being one good, sturdy leg.
Our one-legged imbalance isn’t meant to make us try and create four thin legs out of our one solid leg. We might achieve balance- but we won’t be able to hold much! No, our imbalance should lead us to teamwork. We need those around us - much more than we realise.
We all have a part to play, but we shouldn’t try and be the whole play. Stick to your lane. Let the fantastic opportunities that aren’t meant for you go by for someone else.
An amazing pair of shoes that doesn’t fit won’t do you any good. You’ll just end up stepping on other people’s toes. So find what fits and make the absolute most of it.
Knowing who you are and being content with that is best gift you can give others. And yourself.
It brings us together. It frees us. It allows us to appreciate each other, without comparison, judgement or jealousy. And reveals a beautiful design in the bigger picture that is beyond any single one of us but includes all of us.
Tom likes Indian spices, French cars, British drama and Japanese gardens. He goes running nearly everyday, but early in the morning so that he doesn't miss time with his wife and two young kids. In his spare time, Tom is a Special Needs and Technology teacher. Read more of Tom’s articles here: https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/tom-anderson.html
Tom Anderson is pioneering www.haventogether.com, an online church plant supported by his in-person church, Catalyst, Ipswich. He has a young, growing family and enjoys playing backyard sport. Tom is a keen long-distance runner, averaging 21km each day last year. He has worked as a teacher for eleven years and enjoys perfecting a flat white on his home espresso machine. Tom would welcome a visit for a coffee some time… or an online catch-up via Zoom. See the Haven Together website to get in touch.