We Need Each Other
This is a guest post by Ally Keaton, a preschool teacher and missionary with the Uganda branch of The Global Village Project, a nonprofit working to further education in impoverished countries. Her heart is to encourage Christians to be mission-minded and share the love of Christ. You can connect with her on Facebook and through her blog.
We can’t do it all on our own.
We are very me-focused people. Our society tells us that we should do things on our own. Bookstores have a variety of self-help books that fly off the shelves. We want to be able to do things alone.
I am no exception. I grew up as an only child and loved having independence. I attended a Montessori preschool (and now work in one) where the philosophy is “Teach me to do it myself.” I like figuring things out on my own.
And those are good things. It’s good to be motivated to do things by yourself. It’s good that we give children freedom to learn to do things without our help. It’s good to be independent.
But there’s a truth that we’re missing: We were created to need each other.
Your Strength is Someone Else’s Weakness
I’m a big believer in gifts. We all have different gifts. We all have strengths and weaknesses, things we excel at and things we need to work on. Here’s the beautiful thing: Our strength is someone else’s weakness. And also, our area to work on is an area where another person excels.
Therefore, we need each other.
I enjoy being a leader as well as organizing and planning (read: I like to be in charge). But my weakness used to be delegating to others. My (prideful) thought process was, “Well, if I want it done right, I’m going to need to do it myself.”
Praise God that He brought me to a place that wrecked that kind of thinking.
Use Me Where I’m Most Needed
I was spending a summer in Africa in 2013 when God changed how I look at working with others. During my second month, I traveled to Kenya where I volunteered at an annual missionary conference. My role for that week was to help with a childcare program for missionary kids. That week, I was an addition to a phenomenal team from England.
I had previously come from Tanzania where I had a big role in creating and implementing the programs we were doing. But here I was in Kenya, where I was only a small part of a team. The team was fantastic at filling me in and giving me an overview of the week ahead.
To give you a little background, my overarching prayer while in Africa was, “God, please use me in the place most needed. I’m willing to do whatever job you ask–even if it’s scrubbing toilets!”
The team shared that they needed the most help leading crafts. Hopefully, I didn’t immediately cringe at the idea. (Side note: Although I’m a preschool teacher, you wouldn’t guess it by my ability to create cute little art projects. Art time in my classroom is usually led by Pinterest.) But as they shared where I could be most helpful, I remembered the prayer I prayed over and over and said yes!
You Don’t Always Need to Be in Charge
Leading up to the conference, I struggled with “not being in charge.” I heard ideas that I thought wouldn’t work and saw things that I would do differently.
But God reminded me, “Ally, it is okay that you’re not in charge. You don’t always have to be. Remember that I am.”
Throughout the week I saw God at work. The lessons were incredible, the songs and games were fantastic, the crafts were adorable, and none of it was my idea!
God taught me a valuable lesson: We were created to need each other. We all have different strengths and weaknesses, so that we fit together perfectly. There is no project we should do singlehandedly; we need support. God has gifted us uniquely so we can lean on each other.
My role that week was small, yet I gained a lot. As I watched these people use their gifts to serve God, I was learning. I learned a new way of doing children’s ministry. It might not have looked like my normal way of doing things, but perhaps that’s what I needed to see.
There is so much beauty in working together. Our product ends up being so much greater when we combine our gifts with the gifts of others. Friends, we need each other.
Who has helped enhance your work?