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I desperately wish that I was a nurse. Nurses are one of the most committed career paths there are with a gauntlet of requirements. Those that complete nursing school didn’t happen upon it: they missed sleep, memorized textbooks of information, and made it to the end.
To be a nurse requires direction and clear steps to follow. Point A to Point B, clear steps that I admire. My friend was completing nursing school while I was completing my college route. Our friendship came in the form of years of pen-pal letters back in forth from high school to present day. As her letters came in, her excitement was palpable, feeling more and more affirmed that this is what she was made to do, this is her life’s work for the glory of God.
And my letters sent back swirling words of confusion and unknowns. The direction I started in changed again and again.
My friend has a calling for medical missions. Her skills of nursing are a gift. For me? I am someone who writes. And my words are paired for a heart for working with women.
My excitement for my friend was matched with equal parts of feeling like my gifting and calling were wrong. Her clarity in her calling was a stark contrast to my non-linear route. What can my words do? Why don’t I pursue something more tangible? I found myself subtly retreating. My friend poured out continual support and community for me but from my side of things I could feel shame and embarrassment in my path well up inside of me.
And we know the verses about this. The Bible describes the body of Christ in Paul’s letter to Corinth. The body of Christ illustrates how we all serve different functions in a picture of unity.
“Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”– 1 Corinthians 12:15-20
Turns out I’m not the only one questioning their role. And when I have read this passage before I almost treat it like a personality test. “What part of the body of Christ are you? Click here to find out!” I want specific steps laid out.
Paul continues in 1 Corinthians 12 to assert to his reader that:
“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” – 1 Corinthians 12:27
In conversations of calling and giftings we can lose sight of the part that matters the most. The body of Christ, one body.
Instead of being able to celebrate my friend and how she is mobilizing the body of Christ I felt intimidated and withdrew myself.
Giving into comparison took me away from community, leaving me to feel isolated.
We all have a different role to serve in the body of Christ. But most importantly, we are each a part of it, and our togetherness is what is significant.
It is not an accident that the Bible is filled with diverse accounts of people living in different contexts and different callings. We need the Moses, Joseph, David, Ruth, Paul of the Bible.
We need these different stories and different purposes to learn from each other and to better represent the body of Christ.
And today I thank God for nurses and writers, and everything in between.
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