A SEASON OF REAL CHANGE by Rector Chris Girata
A SEASON OF REAL CHANGE was published in the Katy Trail Weekly, "The Good Word" Column, February 29, 2020
Chris Girata is the Rector of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas, TX.
In addition to restaurants teeing up their fish specials on Fridays, many Christians will enter the 40 days of Lent with an eye toward engaging in new spiritual disciplines. I can (and have) go on and on about how helpful that is. But for our purposes in this column, allow me to make the argument that taking a season, not just a moment, to take stock of your life is good for anyone.
... taking a season, not just a moment, to take stock of your life is good for anyone.
Who we are and who we want to be is a popular approach to selling hope for the future. Endless numbers of self-help gurus and social media influencers work to engage and sell dreams of a life that is better and more fulfilling. Statistically speaking, the self-help market is gigantic, with U.S. revenues last year of more than $10 billion. Yet when I look around, I see fewer and fewer happy, hopeful, fulfilled people. Instead, people seem stretched thin, exhausted by the constant barrage and judgment they receive all around.
Much of what I believe is based on a simple idea: what is good for the whole is more important than what is good for the individual. Time and time again, the lessons we learn in our wisdom traditions, especially in the Bible, is that our relationships with one another is most important. Relating to one another, quite literally loving one another, is paramount to the core of our humanity.
If that sounds like you, know you’re not alone. Seeking to better yourself is a normal human journey. But perhaps buying the hopefulness that another person is selling isn’t the best way to go. Perhaps we should look inside ourselves to find strength we may not know we have.
Perhaps we should look inside ourselves to find strength we may not know we have.
In my world, I talk regularly about spiritual gifts. That may sound a little churchy, but the idea is simple. Each one of us is gifted with a way of being and doing that is unique and when we use our gifts, we find deep satisfaction. Our spirit, the life-force in us, seeks to meet the needs of the world around us. Consider how you feel when you help someone in need or extend unexpected kindness to a stranger. The surge of energy we get when we feel useful and make an impact is inherent and natural, and a fire that we can fan.
Spiritual gifts are the means to achieving a good goal, not the fruits of the process. In other words, knowing your giftedness is not enough. Using our gifts is necessary to become the person we hope to be. This may seem obvious, but far too often, we are set at tasks that help us become more aware of ourselves, but without a greater purpose in mind. Simply focusing on ourselves is the very definition of self-centeredness. So instead, this Lent, do not stop at self-awareness and self-help. Instead, put your gifts to work.
We are all gifted to help do good in the world and to help make the world a better place than when we arrived. Over the next 40 days, whether you’re connected to a church or not, perhaps you can consider who you are, who you want to be and gifts you have to impact the world for the good. Then, go and do and be the change you hope to see.
"The Good Word" Column is published bi-weekly, and can be picked up at the Saint Michael South Entrance.
Tags: Blog & Newsroom