By Suanne Camfield
Last September, Tracey Bianchi launched the FullFill™ blog (Weekly ReFill) with a post titled: “Oooo, I wanna be just like that!”
Tracey and I are friends. We are ministry partners. We are writing cohorts. We share dreams, swap kids, groan when we hit marital and relational speed bumps, saddle up through personal and professional valleys and victoriously clink our glasses when we’ve clawed our way to the other side. And on more than one occasion, as I have watched this woman excel in her gifts, the title of that article has run through my mind, “Oooo, I wanna be just like that!”
I have a confession: My spiritual gift is comparison.
About two months ago, Tracey called me. Demands on her time as a women’s pastor, author, speaker and mom had been steadily increasing, forcing her to make some tough decisions about how to prioritize her influence. The result? A decision to step down as the manager of the FullFill™ blog. FullFill™ publisher Elisa Morgan applauded her decision and so did I.
Then Tracey asked if she could recommend me to take her place.
This inaugural post skated through my mind at the same time I was reminded of an email I sent her a few months earlier.
It was a Sunday afternoon. She had just preached a killer sermon. Her quick mind, skilled story-telling and easy banter with the crowd made me beam over the woman God had uniquely fashioned her to be. (Not to mention she looked amazing in dark denim pants and cute leather boots!) As the day went on, however, I unwillingly found my spiritual gift in full gear, creating an internal shrinking that left me completely annoyed with myself—I definitely knew better than this. Recognizing my erroneous (okay, immature) thoughts, I jotted an email telling her how proud I was of her gifts and confessing the impact I allowed her influence to have on my own soul. She graciously accepted my apology. It was an exchange that set me free from my comparison and deepened our friendship.
When I hung up the phone with her months later (and subsequently accepted Elisa’s offer to manage the FullFill™ blog), I felt God’s pleasure. Our simple exchange—the passing of this blog from one leader to another—reminded me of both the beauty and of the power of a community of impassioned women who are truly for one another. As leaders who desire growth, it’s essential to surround ourselves with others who challenge and inspire us. The irony of the beauty, however, is the greater the giftedness, the greater the temptation to compare. If we dwell in these moments of inadequacy, we can become paralyzed and defeated. But if we have the courage to be honest before God and one another—and use these moments to encourage and spur one another on—there is no stopping what God can do in and through us.
I’m grateful for this lesson in my life, and I celebrate all the women who have allowed it to be so. No one more than my friend Tracey.
This is definitely one to clink the glasses over.
Suanne Camfield is a writer, speaker, Bible teacher and FullFill™ Blog Manager. She lives with her family in Chicago, Illinois. Tracey Bianchi stepped aside as blog manager in May. You can learn about Tracey’s book and other musings at http://traceybianchi.com