- Cathy Sweeney
Am I a 10?
Wait, that sounds a bit too much like the loaded question, “Honey, does this outfit make me look too big?” Hint to honey: respond ‘no’ under all circumstances.
Perhaps clarification is in order.
I have a friend who insists that accuracy is important. And he’s right, especially as it relates to financial analysis, the context in which he was speaking. In that particular case, ‘perfection’ is important; but even then, inaccuracies are measured in material terms. Are the errors material to the statement? If not, probably ok to pass on correction.
Another example, same friend. This one has to do with those pesky annual evaluations from our friendly human resource department. You know the ones – rank, on a scale of 1 to 10, a number of attributes on which a person is ‘graded.’ My friend’s outlook on these forms is insightful: Should we expect that everyone should strive for a 10, on every attribute, every time? The answer, it might not surprise you, is ‘yes and no.’
See, we are not ‘practically perfect in every way’ Mary Poppins. And, if you believe as I do, only one human who ever walked this earth was perfect. So what do we do with this expectation of perfection? Let’s look at it in three points:
We shouldn’t try to be a 10 in all categories in all circumstances, at least that’s my friend’s motto. He is right – especially if we are working as a team. See, one person might be an 8 in analysis, but a 2 in creativity; another might be an 8 in creativity, but a 2 in administration. The question I’ve learned to ask is this: In which categories am I most likely to move my 8 to a 10? Is it likely that if I consistently score a 2 that I should expect to raise it to a 10, or even an 8? Probably not. So it appears we should be focusing on two things: finding the strength of each person, and making sure those strengths are appropriately additive to the team results.
Finding our strengths. Outside of those fun (and often predictable) social media quizzes, how do we know? Some of us know by instinct; others don’t realize until someone points out the gift. In a biblical setting, these strengths are referred to as ‘spiritual gifts,’ and once identified to us by the Holy Spirit, we gravitate toward those gifts with a passion. In 1 Corinthians, 12:4-11, Paul writes about these gifts using the Greek word for ‘charisma,’ or that of which someone is graced. See what he does there? We are ‘graced’ with ‘gifts.’
OK, I think I know my gift – what now? Funny thing – Paul continues to answer the question for us. In 12:12-31, Paul creates an image that we are all parts of a body, with Christ as the head. More importantly, each part of the body relies on the other parts. It matters not what your individual function is; what matters is that together, we make up the body. Together, we create Christ on earth, to be each other’s strength. Together, we strive for a 10.
And how exactly do we do that, you ask? 1 Corinthians 13: The gift of love. When we act in love – the love taught by Christ – we score a 10. 1 Cor 13:8 tells us that love never ends – all of those other gifts: prophecy, tongues, teaching, knowledge: all of these are only part of a whole and will eventually end. But when we love – when we love and act on that love as Christ calls us to love – that is the perfection for which we strive.
So maybe we should think about changing the answer to “Honey, does this outfit make me look big?” Consider, instead, the answer: “It doesn’t matter, honey. I love you even where you aren’t a 10.”