Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Who does she think she is?

I have spent most of my adult life trying to get myself together enough to be qualified to be used by God. Subconsciously I've believed the lie that there was some invisible, unknowable standard I needed to attain before I could really start using my gifts. There are at least two problems with that sort of thinking. One is that all the things I've done thus far then fall into the category of 'just killing time while waiting for my ministry to begin.' The other is that I've resisted stepping out in those areas I feel called to. Even to publically identify what I felt called to was often a threat too great, opening myself to scrutiny I was unsure I could withstand.

The funny thing is, I thought I was waiting on the Lord. I thought I was being humble--resisting the sin of presumption. I was waiting until I sensed it was time or received a sign. The reality is that I was afraid. Afraid to take a chance. Afraid I wasn't capable. Afraid I wouldn't be received or approved. As a perfectionist, I've feared doing anything that I couldn't do extremely well. Excellence is a worthy goal, but perfectionism is a paralyzer. I've hated my weaknesses and hated my seeming inability to overcome them. It seemed outside the bounds of propriety that God would call me to exhort people about Jesus when I'm such a poor example of a disciple. I'm sarcastic, sometimes angry, and a bit of a know-it-all. I can't lose weight, can't stop chewing my nails when I'm anxious, and can't stop being anxious. I mean, who do I think I am? I clearly don't have it together enough to tell others anything about anything!

And every time I encountered someone who stepped outside their comfort zone and did something they felt God asked them to--even though they didn't feel qualified--I became a little more envious. Until finally every time I saw a new avenue of ministry that had apparently fallen magically into someone's lap I was angry. Angry at myself and angry at God--as if there were a finite number of opportunities out there and those people were taking them, leaving me with one less. I know--very childish. But I am so grateful God is big enough to wait patiently while I throw tantrums. He just kept me bumping into people who shouldn't have been able to do what they were doing--but they were doing it anyway. When I would ask Him why (usually in a whiney tone), He'd say, "because they love me and were willing." My abilities or lack thereof were never the issue, because perfection is not a qualifier--willingness is.

So it has finally sunk in that waiting for perfection to overtake me is a fool's errand. Duh! It seems to me I read somewhere God uses clay jars so we don't get the idea that we've had anything to do with His work. So who do I think I am? Nobody, I'm simply attempting to do what He tells me without trying to figure out whether He's made a mistake asking me. Because I love Him and belong to Him, what else can I do?

What holds you back? Do you think you're too old, too young, too broken, too misunderstood, not spiritual enough, not educated enough, or don't have enough connections--STOP IT! If you feel God is identifying areas in which you might use your gifts and talents, start taking baby steps to use them. You will make mistakes. You will sometimes be misunderstood. But if you remain teachable and step forward with humility, God will make a way for your abilities to be expressed and used. You will mature in God, being who He made you to be. Don't waste time walking a rut in your rug, worried that you aren't good enough for God to use. one is, so everyone can. That's one of the wonderful paradoxes God is so fond of. 

And though it makes me chew my nails to confess it in writing...I am a writer. And holy cow, I've erased and re-written that sentence three times already!

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