Recently, I’ve had some conversations with friends and other pastors that go like this: I wish I were more like so-and-so, I wish I had that gift or personality, I wish I was less like me and more like they are. Being envious of someone else’s gifts and personality is natural. The more I’ve studied personalities, the more it seems people would like to be anything other than what they are. But, by doing that, you create a ceiling for yourself. You keep yourself from being productive and from church planting success.
We spend our time being jealous of someone else, wishing we had what they had, and we stop growing with who we are.
Recently, I heard an illustration that helped me understand this.
There’s a story about when the British colonized India and the English people were trying to establish a golf course. The problem was that there were wild monkeys that surrounded the golf course and whenever a golfer would take a swing, and the ball would land in the fairway, a monkey would run out, grab the ball and move it or throw it to another monkey. This was very frustrating. They tried putting up fences, moving the monkey, they tried capturing the monkeys, and nothing worked. They couldn’t solve the problem, and so they made a rule for the course that said, ‘From now on we play the ball wherever the Monkey drops it.’
Now, when it comes to your personality, wiring, life, gifts and talents, you can envy someone else’s, or you can embrace yours. You could wish you were more outgoing or didn’t always open your mouth. You could hope that you were more shepherding or more visionary or more organized, or you could embrace who you are and live from the best version of yourself.
For the longest time, I struggled as a young pastor because I tend to be more of a visionary leader/communicator than a shepherd counselor. Most of the people I knew or pastors I talked to told me I needed to be less of a leader and more of a counselor. Can I grow in how I care for others? Absolutely. But I would apologize for how I was wired instead of growing in those areas. I would downplay who I was, and consequently, I was miserable and didn’t bring how God wired me to where I worked and to those around me.
Maybe you can relate.
There might be something you wish you were better at, but you aren’t.
Maybe you wish you had a different personality or enneagram number than you have. But you don’t.
At this point, you can decide to fight against that or play the ball where the monkey drops it and be who you are and how you are wired and created.
This article originally appeared here, and is used by permission.