Recently I was the newcomer at a leadership meeting for a ministry. For my benefit, each member introduced herself and mentioned her role on the team. One by one, these women of God gave me their names and prefaced their roles with “just a….” I’m just the secretary. I’m nothing like these other women over here, I just plan a big event. Well, I’m just here representing XYZ group; I’m just a rep.
One brave woman put a stop to this nonsense: “We are outlawing ‘just a.’ You are not ‘just’ anything. You are a woman of God.” Amen.
I’ve noticed this phenomenon in other places as well. I work for a ministry organization and have heard staff preface their own remarks with “I’m just part-time.”
Why do we do this? We seem to be devaluing ourselves in the process. In our efforts to praise others and to esteem their contributions, why must we belittle ourselves and the gifts we bring? It’s a habit for many of us to speak about ourselves as “just a” little bit short of what someone else is.
How do you think of yourself as less than others? Are you “just a” sound guy instead of up on stage? Are you “just a” mom instead of a mom who works outside the home as well? Why compare ourselves in this way?
Are you a sound guy? You are vital to the worship service—most people can’t do what you do. You have gifts and are using them for the kingdom. Are you a full-time mom? You are the only mother your kids have, so wear that label with pride and joy. Are you a part-time worker? You have much to offer your workplace and your perspective is needed. Are you a behind-the-scenes volunteer on a team? What would we do without you?
As members of the body of Christ, let’s lean into our gifts, our roles, and our skills with joy and confidence that God will use them for the good of the whole body. Let’s rejoice in how God has called each of us and proclaim the ways He is at work. And most of all, let’s quit comparing ourselves to one another so that each of us feels like “just a” in the sight of others. We are children of God. There’s no “just a” in that.