I haven't always felt this way. There is a real feeling of exposure when you go to the doctor. You're poked, prodded, squinted at, analyzed. Scrutinized, really. And as much as you care for your own body, doctors see you in a way you will never be able to mimic. That used to terrify me. Here I am, lying exposed in some way on some sterile table with some shiny tool telling someone something that I don't understand. But at the dentist today, I suddenly saw that exposure as a chance to be genuine and friendly and honest about the person I am. Under the hot white light I could be squirmy and fidgety and uncomfortable. Or, I could be friendly, chill, and thankful. Thankful that my family can afford preventative medical attention. Thankful that there are people out there who actually like cleaning off the inside of my mouth!
Just as my mouth and my teeth are a part of my body, my dentist is a part of the human community, contributing her skills. She is needed: not everyone can do her job, and not everyone wants to do her job. I've been spending the summer in the early Old Testament, and one of the major lessons that I have found repeated over and over again is that God is like the ultimate occupational therapist. He recognizes people's skills, and not the easy "I'm good at counting" skills but the skills that slightly terrify people because they haven't been in the right place to act them out. But the way these people end up in situations that cry out for a certain kind of skill is nothing short of genius.
I've been thinking about two people who are mentioned quite often in Exodus, although I know we've never talked about them at church: Bezalel and Oholihab. Both of these men are noted for their extraordinary artistic skill: in design, embroidery, woodwork, and crafts. Why is this important? These two men oversaw the creation of the tabernacle, sacred garments, ark of the covenant, altars, and all of the other necessary items in early Israelite worship. In a group of newly freed slaves, wandering around the desert, were the perfect people for the job. Each of us is perfect for a specific job and purpose God already knows about, and our opportunity to use the skills He inspires within us could be just around the corner. It may not be glamorous; it may not be expected. (A stutterer becomes a leader? A dream interpreter becomes an economist?) But it will be right.