"I'm so embarrassed. If anyone ever found out, I'd die."
"I'm such a screw up. God can never use me."
"No one will take me seriously because of [insert reason here]."
"They'll think I'm a hypocrite if I talk about [insert flawed past here]. I've made such a mess of my life, how will anyone listen to what I have to share?"
We all have so many reasons why we shouldn't be handing out life advice.
I know I do!
I have lots of reasons why I think I should keep my mouth shut.
I am a miserable failure at so much.
Yes, sometimes I get it right, but so often...more of the time...I get it wrong.
And I feel like, "what do I possibly have to share with others? How can I possibly speak to what God wants for us when I have made so many mistakes myself?"
Do you ever feel that way? Do you feel like you have so much on your plate or too many skeletons in your past that you could never speak about those things to someone else?
Are you afraid to speak up? Are you leaving it to someone else "more qualified"?
Are you afraid you'll chase someone away if you speak out to them?
I'm here to tell you...that's all bull.
Every last bit of it.
There is no scale by which we can gauge ourselves to deem if we are "appropriate" or "qualified".
If those who had a spotless past were the only ones qualified to speak up, there would be silence.
We are all flawed. And, contrary to our method of weighing and measuring sin, God sees it all the same.
We have ALL sinned and ALL fall short.
Romans 3:23 (MSG):
"Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ" (Emphasis mine).
I am a sorry mess.
But somehow, God still chooses to use me...in spite of me and DEspite myself...for His glory.
And you know what...He wants to use you too. We all have a "ministry".
How that looks for you may not be how it looks for me.
He may not ask you to blog or write.
He may be asking only that you are willing and available.
He may ask you to adopt.
He may ask you to take that job that everything seems to be pointing to, but you feel inadequate to perform.
He may ask you to forgive that person (and pssst...He asks that of all of us!)
He may ask you to sing that song.
He may ask you to care for that loved one.
He may ask you to be kind to that individual that grates on you.
He may ask you to stop being silent when your friend shares how she is going off the rails of life.
He may ask you to tell the truth.
He may ask some scary things of you.
He may ask wonderful things of you.
And although the ways He asks us to serve may look different, they have one very big thing in common: Him.
He will always be in the middle of it.
He will never call us to anything that He isn't already able, willing and prepared to do through us.
He already knows we're inadequate. He wants us anyway.
Here's what I am starting to figure out..
God puts us where we are for a reason. And yes, sometimes we make some less-than-stellar choices that lead us down paths that we weren't meant to be on, but according to Romans 8:28, God can use anything and everything for His glory:
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
I'm finding that He uses the areas that I struggle in to help others struggling in the same areas.
I'm finding that the very things on my mind are on others' minds too.
I'm finding that I don't have to look at others' "platforms" to find my own.
I have a past.
We all do.
The answer...I'm learning...isn't to sweep it under the rug or hide it in a vault.
The answer is to shine a light on it and how God brought me through it...and continues to bring me through it.
For me, that means I need to talk about growing up in a bumpy childhood, life after adultery, thriving after divorce and remarriage, being a mom to lots of kids, dealing with anxiety, being obsessive...and the list goes on.
So, what is it for you?
What things has God put in your life, allowed you to go through, or made right after you messed up, so that you can minister to others?
I bet if you thought about it, you'd be surprised in how many areas He can...and wants to... use you.
You say you don't see yourself as having a "ministry"?
Your story is your ministry. And it needs to be heard.
After all, you are an expert on your life. Who better to tell your story than you?
|Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography / FreeDigitalPhotos.net|