Do you like to wear hats? I’m not a huge fan of hats, with the exception of baseball hats. I LOVE wearing baseball hats!!! I can throw my hair up in a ponytail or let it hang down. I can wear the hat frontwards, sideways or backwards (frontwards looks the best on me), AND it’s great for sunny days, rainy days, snowy days or any other kind of day. Maybe you are one of those people that enjoys wearing multiple kinds of hats, maybe you’re like me and only like one certain type of hat or maybe you don’t like hats at all.
Regardless of personal preferences for tangible, physical hats, the reality is that no matter who we are, we all have multiple intangible “hats” that we wear, which symbolize the different tangible roles that we play on a daily basis. Sometimes, we wear one hat at a time. More times than not, we end up wearing two or three or ten hats at a time. To make life even more interesting, our collection of hats changes over time. We may end up throwing some hats away, tossing some hats to the back of our “spiritual closet” (only to find them again at a later time), acquiring some new expected and unexpected hats, losing some hats along the way and maybe even passing some of our hats on to other people. Even so, it is vitally important that we know and understand the hats that we’re wearing and have access to right now…in whatever season of life we are in…so that we can give our best to God and to the people that God brings into our lives.
My personal collection of invisible “hats” has increased quite a bit over the last few years. More times than not, I end up wearing multiple hats at once, just like everyone else. To be completely honest with you, sometimes I’m good at donning several hats at once, but more times than not, it seems like I can’t even get one hat to fit the way I think it should.
So here is what I have decided to do and what has worked well for me for the past few years…I intentionally build friendships with people who wear an invisible hat or have access to a collection of hats that are similar to mine, who excel at and have confidence in wearing those hats and who are comfortable in their own skin. Why? Because I want to give my best to God, to my family, and to the other people God brings into my life.
If you have a moment, take some time and think about all the intangible hats that you have right now and write them down. My hats right now include being a follower of Jesus, an active duty Army chaplain’s wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a Ph.D. candidate (Second Temple Jewish History and Literature), an ordained minister, a public speaker, a preacher, a Bible study teacher/ trainer/writer, a blogger and a university/college professor. In this particular season of life, I have yet to find someone else who owns all of these hats and wears them well; HOWEVER, I have built some friendships with people who excel in wearing at least two or more of these hats, and those relationships continue to shape who I am right now and who I will be in the future. In other words, most of my solid friendships are intentional…They are on purpose.
For example, when I meet someone (either male or female) who understands the military culture, understands what it’s like to be in full-time ministry, loves Jesus and is confident in all three areas, I’m going to do my best to get to know that person better and hopefully build a friendship with him or her. When I meet someone who does a good job of balancing family life and either work or school and they love Jesus, I’ll do the same thing. When I meet someone who has earned or is working on their Ph.D., who is either serving as a university professor or desires to eventually become a professor, I’ll do the same thing. You see, there are multiple combinations of my intangible hats that any person I meet may wear, which is really exciting because, more times than not, mutual investment takes place and strong friendships are formed! I love that!!!
The same is true for you too. You have a collection of intangible hats that you wear all the time. Your collection is unique to you and some of your hats have been handpicked for you by God. So now, take a look at your list of intangible hats. What do they look like? How do you wear them? What ideas do you have for cultivating friendships with people who wear similar hats to you? What role does God play in the formation of your hat-wearing skills?