Incompetence Does Not Make Me Exempt

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Water skiing sucks. That was my mantra for 6 years of growing up on a lake. My dad really wanted me to learn how to water ski when I was a little girl. If you’ve ever water skied, it feels incredibly awkward as you’re learning.

You have to ‘sit’ in the water in a chair position...while trying to steady these wobbly planks strapped to your feet...the whole time, you’re trying not to topple over into the water sideways... meanwhile your arms feel like they’re being ripped out of their sockets every time you take off...then you pretty much drink the entire lake through your nose each time you fall. As I said, it’s not pleasant. Each summer, I’d give learning to ski a good 3 attempts before I’d start crying and say that I couldn’t do it. That I just wasn’t good at it. I’d give up for the rest of the summer. It took me about 5 summers of this routine to finally learn to water ski.

Do you ever feel that because living missionally isn’t natural to you, you don’t want to do it?

It sure isn’t natural for me. When it comes to living missionally, I have the same mentality as water skiing. It feels awkward. It feels unnatural. I’m friends with our neighbors, but when an opportunity comes to mention the name ‘Jesus,’ everything I think of saying feels really strange, so I choke and end up not saying anything at all. It just doesn’t flow.

I don’t know about you, but it makes a world of difference for me to have permission to not be good at something and have it still be ok. That’s what Nate’s little diagram in this week’s sermon  about ‘unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence, unconscious competence,’ did for me.

I realized that just because it’s not easy for me, I’m notexempt from a missional lifestyle. It’s not a natural gift, but that doesn’t mean that I never have to bring up Jesus with my neighbors. It makes sense that if I’ve never done it before, of course I’ll feel awkward, and I’ll have to work on it. God’s intent is ‘comptence,’ but it takes effort and time to get there.

Giving up is not an option. Mentioning Jesus to my neighbors will probably continue to be awkward, but as I do it more and more, I’ll move through those 4 steps of competency, just like I did with water skiing. In fact, even though it’s been a good 15 years since learning to ski, it’s like second nature to me. And I actually love it now.

What about you? Does living missionally come naturally to you?

 Blog entry by:  Sarah Howard