The other day at our cafe a customer came over to me and commented on how beautiful our tables are. Hardly a day goes by that someone doesn’t mention them so they come up in conversation a lot. Richard, a friend of ours graciously made them from black walnut before we opened in 2015. They look awesome and add so much to our space.
On this occasion, the man was referring to a particular 4-seat table that sits in the front window and so I proceeded to tell him the story of how this table almost never came to be.
As it was being sanded it split. And at first we weren’t sure how to fix it or even if it could be. But Richard came up with a plan that included adding epoxy to fill in the gaps which in the end, helped turn it into a beautiful, unique piece of furniture.
Of all the tables, it’s my favorite. Like a signature hole on a golf course, this table stands out among the rest of the beautiful tables.
The customer was taken by it as well. Then he said something to me I took notice of…he said, “This table is perfection.”
What a great perspective.
Instead of seeing the split wood and the epoxy-filled hole as flaws, he saw the beauty of the piece as it now was. In fact it stands out because of it’s flaws.
Why Do We See Flaws as Failures?
I think this is easy for us to do…why?
We focus on what we don’t have
When we look at others’ strengths, personalities, abilities etc we can easily be lured into thinking that we don’t measure up, simply because we are different. We inadvertently put a greater importance on what they have rather than what we bring.
Have you ever visited someone in their home you think is nicer than your own? What do you do? You begin to see what yours is missing. Right? We all do it.
We compare ourselves to others
The act of comparison itself sets us up to feel worse about ourselves. I’m not suggesting that we should think too highly of ourselves, but comparing at all can leave us frustrated. Theodore Rosevelt is quoted as saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
We downplay our own uniqueness
Maybe it’s false modesty or true self-loathing but it can be our default to simply minimize even what others see in us. The problem with this mindset is that it’s only when we understand our uniqueness, that we can begin to understand the impact our lives can make.
What You Think Is a Flaw, Is What Makes You Unique
My wife and I are very different…no surprise, right? It’s been said that in relationships, the things that you are originally attracted to can become the very point of contention later on. But if I insisted that Kathy change those things that make her who she is, she’d stop being herself.
What I might see as a flaw is actually her unique character that makes her uniquely awesome.
As family therapy pioneer, Virginia Satir once said, “We come together in our sameness, but grow in our differences.”
Maybe it’s human nature to desire what others have; but what if your flaws are meant to highlight the unique way in which God has created you, to impact the world around you.
Maybe, what you consider to be a flaw is what makes you…you?
At my home church our current sermon series, “What’s The Point” takes a closer look at finding life’s meaning and purpose. Part of that discussion is about understanding how each of us has been designed; that we are all unique in our abilities, personalities, temperaments and passions.
Why on earth would we want to strive to be like someone else?
Your Flaws May Be Your Greatest Contribution
I did some checking and we estimate that over 10,000 people have sat at that 4-seat table since we opened the cafe in 2015. Think of it…
- the shared family lunches
- the double dates
- the friends reunited
- the birthdays celebrated
- the numerous work projects completed (free wifi doesn’t hurt)
- the countless conversations
Imagine if we had decided to scrap it…because of some perceived flaws…flaws that actually set it apart from every other table. In fact there is no other table like it on the planet.
What could have been deemed a flaw has actually become it’s best feature and has served so many.
Q. Are you prone to see your unique features as flaws? Why do you think that is?
Q. Are you using your unique strengths and abilities in ways that honour God and impact your world? Why or why not?
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