Through the eyes of others

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It’s easy to doubt, to feel self-conscious and inadequate, and thus to squelch the talents we have. It’s the ever-present desire of the enemy to do just that: repress your gifts. And lately, that temptation has been strong as daily interactions cause me to doubt myself.

One weekend away helped to put that into perspective.

As we gathered as a church community for a weekend retreat, I felt that the biggest thing I would gain was friendships. I knew it would be an awesome opportunity to get to know this new community. While that was true, God used the sessions to build these relationships and speak through them in ways I couldn’t have dreamed.

As Rabbi Allen cultivated conversation, every person seemed to chime-in, engaged in the text. It was a refreshing reminder that the Bible was originally read to a group rather than read alone. In reading the text together, everyone shared their knowledge and their gifts with the group.

One of the comments that stuck with me was Rabbi Allen’s notion that we, as brothers and sisters in Christ, need to speak into each others lives. He spoke specifically to our (read: my) tendency to be overly self-critical and to brush aside the truth others speak into us (me).

And so I started listening.

With new interactions, I saw a unique opportunity to try and see what my neighbor saw in me. I attempted — and am attempting — to put my perceived self on a shelf and instead hold onto the observations others might share.

Suddenly God spoke loud and clear to a few areas in my life. With seemingly small comments, my perceived identity was shaken.

What if my areas of weakness were just the opposite? What if, instead of being poor qualities, they were simply expressed poorly – manifesting themselves in inopportune moments or  through inopportune ways?

Something tells me I’m not alone here.

As I’m digging into the concept of gifts and talents as described by the Bible, I’d encourage you to do the same if you’ve resonated with any of my many ‘feels’. Perhaps we can grab coffee, bare our souls, and lift each other up as we aim to see God in each other – as we aim to see God in ourselves.

We’re all a work in progress, but hopefully we can continue progressing toward confidence in Christ instead of a lack-of-confidence in ourselves.

— Haley

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We are Haley and James Earley, a family of two established on October 11, 2014 in our hometown of Rochester, MN and now living in St. Paul, MN. We are dog-lovers, coffee addicts, tree-huggers, balance-seekers, community-livers, and new foster parents. We live in a house of three adults, three dogs, and our sweet foster kiddos. We desire to slow down in this fast-paced world in order to pursue intentional community as we seek after the heart of God. We're just one couple trying to figure out this whole living life thing.

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