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You’re not “just a” ______________.

Recently I was the newcomer on a team. For my benefit, each member introduced herself and mentioned her role in the group. One by one, these women of God gave me their names and prefaced their roles with “just a….” I’m just the secretary. I’m nothing like those other women around the table–I just plan a big event. I’m just here representing XYZ group; I’m just a rep.

One brave woman put a stop to this nonsense: “We are outlawing ‘just a.’ You are not ‘just’ anything. You are a woman of God.” Amen.

I’ve noticed this phenomenon in other places as well. I work for a non-profit and have heard staff preface their own remarks with “I’m just part-time.”

Why do we do this? We seem to be devaluing ourselves in the process. In our efforts to praise others and to esteem their contributions, why must we belittle ourselves and the gifts we bring? It’s a habit for many of us to speak about ourselves as “just a” little bit short of what someone else is.

How do you think of yourself as less than others? Are you “just a” sound guy instead of up on stage? Are you “just a” mom instead of a mom who works outside the home as well? Why compare ourselves in this way?

Are you a sound guy? You are vital to the worship service—most people can’t do what you do. You have gifts and are using them for the kingdom. Are you a full-time mom? You are the only mother your kids have, so wear that label with pride and joy. Are you a part-time worker? You have much to offer your workplace and your perspective is needed. Are you a behind-the-scenes volunteer on a team? What would we do without you?

As members of the body of Christ, let’s lean into our gifts, our roles, and our skills with joy and confidence that God will use them for the good of the whole body. Let’s rejoice in how God has called each of us and proclaim the ways he is at work. And most of all, let’s quit comparing ourselves to one another so that each of us feels like “just a” in the sight of others. We are children of God. There’s no “just a” in that.

1 Corinthians 12: 17-20, “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.”

 

 

Anna Moseley Gissing

Anna Moseley Gissing is Associate Academic Editor of InterVarsity Press. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild, and her writing has been published in Let us Keep the Feast and Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two kids, and she aspires to more reading, more writing, and more patience.

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