We all want to be skilled, don’t we? Skilled at a lot of things, hopefully. Do we ever want to be unskilled at anything? I mean looking at any ability we could have and say to ourself, “I’d rather not be skilled at that?”
Oh, now that I think about it, I guess we can. I have no desire to be skilled at dentistry, hunting, or cleaning fish.
I guess I should rephrase from ‘skilled at any ability we could have,’ to ‘skilled at any ability we desire.’
I would like to be skilled at the guitar, the basketball three-point line, and the paint brush.
I don’t think I will ever become really skilled at any of them. Why? Because I probably won’t ever take the steps necessary to get there.
Let me submit these steps as necessary to becoming truly skilled in any ability.
First, you have to have a desire for the skill
Second, you must be shown and taught the skill
Third, you must try and practice the skill
Fourth, you must demonstrate the skill
Fifth, you must demonstrate the skill during adversity.
It’s the last one that interests me most, and the one that most of us take a pass on, at least when it’s left up to us.
Take these examples:
You can only said to truly be a skilled soldier after going to war.
You can only said to truly be a skilled sailor after living through storms.
You can only said to truly be a skilled artist after looking at your failures
I am a photographer by trade. Several months ago, I bought several new cameras, and I tell you the instruction book for each is four-hundred pages long. I am an expert with cameras and yet it took me several weeks to get each camera geared to my style, and be confident in it’s use. And by confident, I mean I knew where this setting was, and what that dial did. But I also I knew (and perhaps knowing is a skill in itself,) that my confidence would not be authentic until I shot a number of times in the field, when I was losing light, and I was yelling directions to the models and assistants, being directed by the client, and all the while trying to figure out why the heck the histograms weren’t showing up on my camera monitor. Because that’s when I not only want to be skilled, but need to be skilled.
True skill takes adversity. But we usually want to take a pass on it.
Is that to be expected? Sure. What soldier wants to go to war? And perhaps in a lot of instances, it’s preferable not to wish for anyone skilled, because it means that disaster has struck.
But the soldier is not to take a pass when confronted by war. Rather he is defined by it.
We have our identity in Christ at all times, but usually our effectiveness is truly established in the midst of distress.
When that time comes, and it always does, will you accept and embrace it, or shrink behind the curtain and take a pass on it?