Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Do not run faster than you have strength: How fast is that?

The BBC recently reported that a locally valued fresco of the Savior was "restored" by an 80 year old woman with "good intentions", but apparently with less talent than she thought. The kicker is that the original painter's granddaughter had just donated money to have it professionally restored.

Speaking generally, I don't think this is unusual for us humans. It is so easy to overestimate our own abilities: think American Idol tryouts. It requires a constant self-reflection and people whom we can trust who are willing to give us an honest assessment.

I find this in myself quite often. I was recently called to teach in the Elder's Quorum. I really enjoy sharing comments in class, teaching, and speaking at church and other venues, but I have difficulty assessing my actual abilities. I ask people I trust for constructive criticism after class, but at church the culture is one of only stating uplifting compliments. I understand this. We want people to feel comfortable no matter what their best is. It is sometimes easy to see through by asking the follow up question: "So what did you like specifically?" or a similar derivative. Which is (sometimes) followed by a waffle.

With our talents, abilities, finances, and resources we are told not to "run faster than [we have] strength", but sometimes we can't know that without a friend telling us what we can improve. It's just got to be done with the right balance of support and insight.