This month, we are focusing on lessons from my favorite children’s books. Today’s book is one I saw for the first time when our oldest granddaughter was born.
You are Special, by Max Lucado, has a special place in my heart. This is the story of the Wemmicks, a town of small wooden people, each uniquely created by a woodworker named Eli.
They spent their days giving each other stickers, either gold stars or gray dots. If you did good things, you got stars. If you did things that others viewed as dumb, you got gray dots.
Punchinello was a rough Wemmick with scuffed paint. He couldn’t do much, so everyone gave him gray dots. Eventually he didn’t even want to go outside because all he got were gray dots. When he did go outside, he hung out with the others who had gray dots, because it made him feel better.
One day, he met a Wemmick who had no dots or stars, Lucia. People tried to give her stickers, but they didn’t stick. Punchinello wondered why this was. He wanted to be like her, so he asked her how she did it.
She told him she went to see Eli every day; she sat in the workshop with him. She suggested that he hang out with Eli, too.
Eventually he got up the nerve to go. Eli was so happy to see him! He even knew Punchinello’s name. Punchinello was surprised – but of course Eli knew his name, Eli had made him!
Eli told Punchinello that he didn’t need to worry about what the other Wemmicks thought. Eli said, “All that matters is what I think, and I think you’re pretty special.” Punchinello had a hard time accepting this, but Eli insisted. Through spending time with Eli, Punchinello believed Eli about his worth and eventually the gray dots fell off of him, too.
This sweet children’s story has three important messages.
- Accomplishments bring applause from the crowd, but it is fleeting.
- Labels from others only stick if we accept them.
- When we spend time with our Creator, He shows us why we are special – because we are His.
As I prepared to share this with you, I realized why I like this story so much. It’s a story about my WHY, restoring and unleashing God’s masterpiece in frustrated leaders, leaders who have lost the focus God put in their heart for one reason or another.
Gold Stars Vs. True Fulfillment
On my own journey from frustrated leader to a leader focused on what God has called me to, I’ve learned that the stars others put on me come with a price. Those gold stars may or may not be related to the focus God put in my heart. Often, they are more about the person who is placing the stars than what is best for me.
If I’m honest, sometimes I’ve placed gold stars on another because of my preferences, not what’s best for them. Focusing on the gold stars and the attention of others doesn’t provide true fulfillment.
True fulfillment comes from spending time with God, learning to focus on being the masterpiece He created me to be. Living as God’s masterpiece brings me the fulfillment of work and relationships that make a difference.
This story leads me to two questions:
- What gold stars and gray dots stick to you?
- What change would make stars and dots less likely to stick to you?