Using Your Gifts to Serve
NOT LIKE EVERYONE ELSE
I learned pretty early in my life that I was different. I’m left handed. No big deal, right? Wrong. In kindergarten, my school had to bring in a handwriting specialist because my teacher didn’t know how to teach me to hold/use a pencil properly; so that meant a couple times a week, I had to sit at the back table with a lady and do my school work while all the other kindergarteners got to sit in their seats with their friends to do their work. Also in kindergarten, during an eye exam, I was diagnosed with amblyopia, commonly referred to as a “lazy eye.” Now, this 6 year old got to wear an eye patch over one eye while she sat at the back table to do her work. The icing on the cake happened in November of my kindergarten year. I got bit by a dog. On my face. Now I have a scar on the right side of my mouth/cheek. This was a lot to handle for little six-year-old me. I remember pretty distinctly wanting to be like everyone else who didn’t have a special teacher, didn’t have to wear an eye patch, and didn’t have a scar dominating most of one side of their face. I wanted to blend in. I wanted to hide. I felt like a character from the Greatest Showman before PT Barnum found them and celebrated their differences.
TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAMWORK
Because of my experiences as a child, I learned empathy. I learned to see people and invite them to be known. I also learned how to help. My SOI, a Myers-Briggs type assessment our staff uses to help understand each other, is “Supportive Specialist,” meaning I will do everything in my power to help someone be successful. It brings me joy to watch others reach their goals and live out their passions, so I help identify and remove any roadblocks in the way of that achievement. I also love details and organization. I am the girl who can hear someone’s dream/goal, ask questions for understanding and clarification, identify roadblocks, break the dream down into smaller steps on the road to success, and then help them get there.
The way my brain is wired can be frustrating to the dreamers on our team. We’ve had to learn how to work together, how to celebrate both the dreamer and the detailer and their roles on the team. This is important because without the detailer, the dreamer can be full of dreams, but lacking action. Without the dreamer, the detailer can lack the ability to see how things could be better. Both are equally important to the team in their own ways.
Our team has learned and is continuing to learn where each of us fit and when to invite our different voices to the table. For me, it’s not always easy to be the one to “poke holes” in other people’s plans. I often apologize for “bringing logic to the party,” but I am learning how to use my gifts and wiring to make our team better instead of just waiting for someone to come to me with a problem. I am learning to embrace my differences and celebrate them because it’s so much better and more fun to win as a team.
HEAD AND SHOULDERS, KNEES AND TOES
Kindergarten Peggy didn’t know that being different is something to be proud of and that being “like everyone else” is boring. 1 Corinthians 12 talks a little about this in relation to our bodies:
15 “If the foot should say, “Because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,” it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But as it is, God has arranged each one of the parts in the body just as he wanted. 19 And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!””
On a larger scale, that passage refers to the Church as a whole and how each of us uniquely fit into it to make one body.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Your differences matter. Your gifts and abilities matter. You deserve to be celebrated. We encourage you to serve and get plugged into something bigger than just showing up on Sunday morning. What do you love to do? What brings you life and joy? No matter your answers, I bet we can find a place for you.
Do you have a heart for the younger generation? Check out our Kids or Student Ministries.
Do you love to smile and meet new people? Serve on our Guest Services team.
Are you handy with tools and fixing things? Our facilities team needs you.
Are you techy or creative? We have a place for you.
Whether you’re an ear, an eye, a hand, or a toe, you are a part of our body and we wouldn’t be the same without you. Your talents have the ability to make us better in ways that no one else could. Sign up to share your gifts with us at riversidechurch.org/serve.
That Sounds Fun
ANNIE F. DOWNS
We know there are certain things we must have to survive--food, shelter, and safety to name a few. But there are also aspects of life that truly allow us to be joyful and fulfilled. For popular podcaster and bestselling author Annie F. Downs, fun is close to the top of that list. Few would argue that having fun doesn't enrich our lives, but so much gets in the way of prioritizing it. Tough days, busyness, and feelings that are hard to talk about keep us from the fun that's out there waiting to be found.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Peggy was born and raised North Port, Florida. She moved to Fort Myers in 2011 to attend Florida Gulf Coast University and decided to make it home.
She is passionate about people knowing Jesus and experiencing His love. She often roots for the underdog, enjoys traveling, exploring unique coffee shops and bookstores, and taking naps.