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We have a huge event in my town called, "Big Hat Days."
I am not sure what my big hat is some days.
I had a "what have I learned" assignment a few years back thanks to a wonderful and relatively new friend's invitation to speak to a group of peers.
It behooved me to remove my "expert hat" and be a fellow traveler.
That hat never fit too well anyway.
In fact, I have never really liked wearing hats much. I find them functionally necessary at times as tools, identifiers, shades from the sun, or ... well ... that is all I can really think of.
Hats - I have so many, role-related identifiers.
Whenever I introduce myself I have to do a reality check. What hat am I wearing today? What is the "so what" of the crowd that is my ticket in the door? Why was I invited? What are the needs of the people that I have been sent to serve?
I am not switching between one authentic self to another; I am just turning the side of me that is relevant to the side of the crowd that cares.
And yet, everything relates, integrates, and colors everything else.
I have been a pastor, preacher, teacher, writer, blogger, community manager, non-profit (public benefit organization) board member, executive director, coach, toastmaster, encourager, singer, chaplain, "barrista", entrepreneur, husband, son, brother, father, GRANDPA (!), disciple of Jesus, human being, friend .....
See, I did not, could not list them in order. The order changes with the setting.
If you ask me what I have learned I have to ask what about! And I have to ask who is asking and what they need/want to know. What have I learned in what context? Under what hat? As a what? How will it help?
"What is the big banner? What is the big hat?"
It is not about having a changing persona; it is about function. All functions serve a greater purpose. I only become all things to all people for the benefit of others. I do that for the sake of a message of good news which is greater than anything that I am. As a result, I get to share in the benefitss ... like Joseph who, for all of his gifts, designations, and complexities, a servant who lived out his life for the benefit of a people not his own in a land not his own ... and came to share in the benefits of life giving service he had offered.
Fellow traveler is a pretty good hat.
What have I learned?
I have learned that I have a lot to learn.
Here is a lesson from someone who learned that life's greatest calling is to serve.