When I was in high school, I was part of a Young Life campaigners group, a group of about 8 girls who met with a college girl, Emily, once a week and did a Bible study.
At the end of the very first meeting, when we were all just little baby freshmen, Emily told us to hold hands and pray, but to interlock our fingers.
“Gifts and gaps,” she said, pointing to her waving fingers. “These are your gifts, and the spaces between your fingers are your gaps. When we interlock fingers, your gifts fill your friend’s gaps, and her gifts fill your gaps. Each other’s gifts fill each other’s gaps.”
We prayed like that every single time we were together until the day we left for college. “GIFTS AND GAPS, LADIES!” we obnoxiously shouted in unison before we ate at Johnny Carino’s for our final meeting the summer before heading off to college.
Gifts and gaps.
I’m pretty sure I didn’t understand the depth of that phrase at the time. If I had, I wouldn’t have spent the entire decade of my 20’s so intimidated by every other woman’s gifts. I wouldn’t have seen their God-given abilities as a threat to my own or wondered if there was room for mine since everyone else’s seemed so much more awesome.
If I’d really gotten the whole concept, I would have realized life’s not one big competition to find out whose talents are the best. I wouldn’t have believed in the lie of scarcity, that another woman’s success means there’s less room for my own.
Instead, I would have been confident enough in the unique blueprint God used to create me, ONLY ME, to know that me and you, my gifts and yours, were actually created to complement each other.
That you, and the awesomeness that is your gifts, make me better, not worse. More whole, not more empty. Greater, not lesser.
If we stopped viewing each other as the competition and started realizing God created us to work as a UNIT, each gift filling each gap like cogs in conjoining gears, imagine the beauty we could crank out with all the time saved NOT obsessing or comparing or competing.
The enemy knows that. He knows the power in that kind of unity. And he will do anything to convince us that we are a threat to one another, to keep us locked in a prison of insecurity and fear. He knows what happens when we feel inferior — we lose courage and shrink back, lose our voice and determination. He’s counting on it.
Well, pardon me, but he can go straight to his home down south with all that crap.
I don’t believe it.
I believe we are better together, because that decade filled with comparison and wondering if I was good enough, smart enough, talented enough, _____ enough? It was exhausting and life-sucking and isolating.
Your gifts are an asset to me. Not a loss.
My gifts are an asset to you. Not a threat.
God created us to fit together like interlocked fingers, reaching down to pull the other up.
He made me with specific-to-me gifts. They are not yours.
He made you with specific-to-you gifts. They are NOT mine.
And that, my friend, is GOOD. We don’t have to lament the ones we don’t have. Instead, we can praise God for giving them to someone else, who can use them to help us or others, use them to fill our gaps.
So walk proudly and humbly in your gifts and your gaps. High five everyone you pass by along your journey, or, if needed, hold their hand. But don’t forget. “Gifts and gaps, ladies! Gifts and gaps!”