Last week I received an email from Suzy, one of the coordinators who is organizing details for an event I’m speaking at in December. She sent me the guidelines for putting together my PowerPoint presentation.
The problem was, when I opened the document, it might as well have been written in Czech. All I saw were unfamiliar acronyms, instructions for resolution, and percentages for “action safe” margins. There were even diagrams with arrows. It probably goes without saying, but diagrams with arrows are not my love language.
Almost instantly my pulse began to race and my feet began to sweat, because I knew I was going to have to make a decision and I knew I only had two options:
1. I could reply to the event coordinator and admit I was a complete techno-nincompoop whose feet were sweating over a set of basic PowerPoint instructions.
2. I could reply, “Great, got it. So very on it. No problems here, no siree!” and then dedicate the next millennium to figuring out dpi and RGB and action safe margins.
Here’s the thing that was giving me pause: this is kind of a big event, the biggest one I’ve done yet. I really, really did not want to risk the event coordinator thinking, “Great. And we’ve hired a yahoo from Nebraska,” as a pit the size of the Yukon Territory yawned open in her stomach.
No, no, no. I wanted her to think I am the consummate professional, all fancy and PowerPoint savvy and unsweaty. Someone who will get the job done.
I was really tempted to email Suzy a chipper “A-okay” response. But something stopped me. Maybe it’s because I had a scratchy throat last week, and when I have a scratchy throat I act like it’s the end-of-the-world-Black-Death and become strangely unable to deal with anything.
Or maybe it’s simply that I decided to be honest, to stop pretending who I thought I should be and simply be myself, PowerPoint shortcomings and all. To admit, for once, that I don’t have my finger on the pulse of everything.
I decided to come clean.
“Hi Suzy,” I wrote, “I have to be honest, this is like Greek to me. I’m worried I’m going to mess it up!! Maybe it would be easier if I had no slides?! I think this is why God made me a writer…He knew I couldn’t handle much beyond Microsoft Word! I’ve done PowerPoint presentations before, but I haven’t ever thought about 16:9 (I don’t even know what that means) or the resolution.”
[This is my actual email. And yes, I do use that many exclamation points on a regular basis.]
Suzy replied right away:
“LOL…Just send me your PowerPoint by December 7th and it will be fine. :)”
Gracious, generous, beautiful Suzy. I will love Suzy forever, and I haven’t even met her in person yet.
I learned something last week, and I want to share it with you, friends, because I think it’s important.
We don’t need to pretend to be perfect. We can be ourselves, uniquely gifted as only we are.
Because here’s the truth: God made me good at what I’m good at for a reason. And he made you good at what you’re good at for a reason.
And he did it that way intentionally, because we are better together than we are on our own.
So here’s my final word in the wake of my feet-sweating, pulse-pounding admission to Suzy:
Embrace what God made you good at. Strive to be the best you can be. And then be honest when you bang up against an area where you fall short.
Because you know what?
I guarantee God made someone else good at what you’re not good at, but you’ll never know until you admit your own weaknesses first.
See how that works? We don’t need to be perfect and we don’t even need to pretend to be perfect, because God’s already got it all perfectly worked out.