How often do you wake up in the morning and hope someone asks Do you mind if I give you some feedback? For most of us, those words rarely lead us to think that someone has something awesome to share with us. We generally prepare ourselves to hear something that shines a light on our shortcomings, failures, or mis-steps, and the truth is, sometimes, ok, many times, it does highlight something that we didn’t see ourselves, but wish we had.
This morning, after reading my latest blog post (Sunday School) which talked about the biblical story of creation and what it might tell us about ourselves, my husband Tom asked if he could share his perspective with me.
“If someone didn’t know your theology, they might think that you believe that the world was literally created in six days. They might not understand that you were saying that the story is meant to point us to a much deeper truth.” My first response was that he hadn’t read it carefully enough, and then I remembered who it was that was offering me the gift of his feedback. As a scientist and a writer himself, he is a careful reader, and, he is also one of my most trusted voices. When he speaks, I (generally) try and listen, so took a deep breath and asked him to tell me more.
In my mind I had specifically written that piece to point to a deeper truth, not as theological commentary on anyone’s understanding of a powerful story of creation. I wrote it to encourage each of us to take seriously the unique errand upon we have been sent. To remind us that when we do the work we are called to do, and share the gifts that are ours to share, we can look upon all that we have done, and see that it is good. Just as the Creator does in the story. That was my point. Tom’s point was that readers might get wrapped up in a theological debate and miss the point altogether. It would have only taken a little more effort on my part to provide some context for my readers. To set the table a bit better before inviting them to partake of the offering.
It’s never fun to feel like we’ve missed the mark, and yet missing it is the only way we can improve our marksmanship. Whether as a writer, speaker, teacher, or coach, the only way I can get better is through honest feedback from trusted sources. The same holds true for all of us. In order to become more of who we are meant to be, to live into our fullness, and yes, to reflect the image of the creative power behind everything, we need to hear from others what they see in us that we cannot see in ourselves. Feedback is always a gift, not because it is always accurate or right or deserved, but because it provides a perspective other than our own, and helps us better understand how we are showing up in the world.
Whether that world took 6 days to create, or 4.6 billion years.