When I was growing up, in church youth group we would have these banquet dinners to raise money for camp. All the kids in the church would serve the adults dinner (lasagna and breadsticks of course) and there would be a talent show. Anyone could be in the talent show, and there were a few “legitimate” talents every year, but by far the most popular segment was called “Stupid Human Tricks.”
If the name doesn’t give it away, “Stupid Human Tricks” was the time when people could show off their (often embarrassing) “talents” that were unique to them and usually quite entertaining. You would have your standard “armpit flatulent noise” guy, your “twist my eyelids inside out” guy, and then the “I can do ten hula hoops at once” girl. Every once in a while you’d get something really rare, like “I can put a sweet tart in my nose and then spit it out of my mouth.” Those moments were talent show gold.
I was thinking about talents lately because I feel like I have a talent, although I don’t think it’s all that rare. It is a talent for deceiving myself, for pulling the wool over my own eyes. Boy am I good at that one!
Have you ever walked into a situation and thought to yourself, “I’ve got this,” only to find out that you weren’t as prepared as you thought you were? Happens to me sometimes, and it’s happened to me a lot lately. How about thinking that you are doing everything right, only to realize you forgot several things that were really important? I hate that! I started to ask myself why I do this, and it was interesting what I came up with.
I could blame all my problems on busyness or on other people, but that doesn’t really help me. I think the real answer is that I am very good at deceiving myself, and I think we all are if we’re honest. I like to think that I’m ok, that I can handle it, especially when the pressure is on. I don’t want to admit I need help or I need to slow down because that would imply I’m weak. Nobody likes to be weak. I think I can keep all the hoops spinning at once.
Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” I think this means that we have to be really careful when it comes to listening to ourselves sometimes. Without the measuring line of God’s word and wise council, my advice to myself can be pretty bad. The good news is that with God all things are possible. When I rely on Him, His strength is made perfect in my weakness (2 Cor. 12:9)
Sometimes only way to fix this problem is to stop when I realize I’m off base, correct my course, and keep moving forward. I may have to go back and retrace my steps and make things right, but most of the time for me I just need to force myself to not give in to discouragement for not getting it right in the first place. Perfectionists out there? We have a hard time with this one. We want to get it right the first time. But forgiveness is the way to freedom, and that often begins with forgiving myself and trying again.