In Aesop’s fable, The Scorpion and The Frog, a scorpion asks a frog to carry him to the other side of a stream. Skeptical, the frog asks, “How do I know that you won’t sting me?”
“Why would I sting you?” countered the scorpion. “Then, we would both drown.”
The frog agrees to carry him, but, midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. As he sinks, the frog cries, “Why did you sting me? Now, we will both die.”
“Because I’m a scorpion and that’s what scorpions do.”
Over the last few weeks, some of us have acted like the scorpion and some of us like the frog. The culmination of three holidays can be overwhelming. If President George Washington had foreseen holiday stress in the modern world, he would have provided a buffer between Halloween and Christmas and moved Thanksgiving to a more suitable date. But, he didn’t! And so, on the tired heels of two preceding holidays, we will now be baking, hosting, driving, flying, packing, unpacking, and fill in the blank.
So, let’s strategize. How are we going to thrive over the next few weeks?
My job is as an HR consultant. My responsibilities vary depending on the needs of each client, but the majority of my work involves the screening, hiring, training and managing of people. Our focus is on matching talents with tasks, hinged on the belief that we are our most productive selves when we operate from our strengths and not from our areas of weakness and deficiencies. Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” There is no doubt that each one of us is uniquely created. And, as we better understand ourselves and how we are hardwired, we better understand our Creator and His divine purpose for each of us.
To uncover a few of your strengths that are core to your peak performance this holiday season, I’m going to ask you a series of questions. Grab a piece of paper and here we go:
- When we are doing the things that make us feel confident, satisfied and fulfilled, we are operating from our natural strengths, talents and abilities. The opposite is when we are doing the things that make us feel non-productive, bored, dissatisfied, weak and frustrated. Without overthinking, write down a few things that make you feel strong, confident, inspired and satisfied.
- Think back to the last few weeks. In your interactions with family, at work, church and in your community, what did you look forward to? What were the activities that made you feel capable, strong and energized? What were you doing when you brought the most value or when time seem to pass by quickly?
- Take a few minutes to look at your notes from above. How many of them are central to your duties and responsibilities with family, work, church and in the community this holiday season? Hopefully, many of them! If not, look for more opportunities to do the things that you are good at, that make you feel strong, capable and confident.
1 Peter 4:10, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace in it’s various forms.” God created each of us with specific talents and abilities and for a very specific purpose to bless the lives of others while also bringing joy to ourselves.
If I had to rewrite the ending to The Scorpion and Frog, it would be this:
A piece of wood drifted towards the sinking scorpion and frog. “Grab it with your claws, scorpion.” commanded the frog, “and I will use my strong legs to push us across the stream.” The scorpion grabbed the wood; the frog kicked; and they safely crossed the stream together.
“Scorpion!” frog scolded. “You have one of the sharpest and most impressive stingers in all of nature. But, if you can’t learn to control it, there will be nothing left to sting. Your stinger is your gift, but it isn’t an excuse to misbehave.”
The scorpion waved his claws in agreement and crawled into a log to sleep until dusk.