POD #6: What do you do that no longer serves you?
What do you do that no longer serves you? What are you getting out of doing it? Are you attached to that? What would it take for you to release it? And who would you be, if you released it?
This prompt could not have been more timely. I was with two friends in an extended fellowship and discussion, when it quickly surfaced. What am I doing that no longer serves me? I am holding on to the past allowing it to keep me from stepping out and using the gifts and talents that God has blessed me.
Despite knowing that my true identity is found in Christ, I have allowed two other areas to shape how I see myself. The first would be the church the second would be work. Besides my family, which provided predefined roles the majority of my time is spent at church and work. It is easy to find identity in acts of service for the Kingdom and from my career.
About seventeen years ago, God placed a dream inside of me that is so much bigger than me. He keeps refining it, but it has never changed. My dream is to see the Church rise up and be the Church, Christ’s hands and feet to the hurting world around us. I want to see the Church connect with the tangible needs of our communities and serve with love and compassion to meet those needs. Although it has fallen to them, I do not believe that God ordained the government or non-profits to fulfill this role. He called the Church to do it.
Over the years, God has blessed me to be able to do this one on one. People with needs are sent to me for help. People with skills look to me to help them find a place to use them. I love to get to use the skills, abilities, and knowledge that God has given me to help people right where they are. I am more excited, when I can connect people with the body of Christ in meeting that need. It is amazing to see God at work.
God has also given me a platform at many churches to talk about the needs in the community and help connect them with causes where they can serve as hands and feet to the hurting. God used the Church to transform my life, and getting to share my testimony has been one of my greatest pleasures. I have seen God do amazing things through His body. I love seeing the generosity of Christ meet tangible needs. I am in awe when He lets me serve beside other brothers and sisters in Christ.
A few years ago, I was given the opportunity to share my vision with a pastor and woman in a local church. They connected with the vision and got involved on a personal level through their church. They had small groups connect with local agencies to serve throughout the summer meeting physical needs. It was an amazing ministry. It blessed my heart to see them serve. Their church really connected where they served. It was beautiful.
After a while, I gave my confidence to the woman and we began to look at other ways she could stay connected and serve. A perfect storm of events happened, and she not only betrayed my trust, she eventually started telling lies about me. I had been warned about trusting her, but I never thought things would play out like they did.
Where I was once supported, encouraged and praised, suddenly everything I was doing was wrong. For two months I attempted in good faith to work to fix those areas where I had shortcomings – like being a critical leader. At one point early on, I offered to step down if it was what was best for the organization, but my boss assured me I was doing a good job. Eventually the woman’s efforts led to me being fired, I didn’t know the extent of what was said until I filed for unemployment. Most of what was written was outright lies. I was left feeling completely deflated.
I look back on the months following my firing, and I am grateful for it. God really drew me to Him during that time and showed me some amazing things. It was a period of personal growth and dependence on Him. Yet, I still felt lacking, my pride really took a hit with the firing. It hit me at my work identity and brought up past hurt and deepened those hurts from the church. She was after all connected to me as a Woman’s leader from her church.
It would be over a year later before I could understand why this seemingly stranger hurt me so deeply, and even longer for me to process it. I have forgiven her, and at times have even given her help since that time. I just haven’t been able to let go of the feeling of deflatedness. It was only yesterday when I realized it was my pride at the root of the hurt.
I have always been a good worker. When I am at work, I give my all. When I don’t know something, I research it until I can be an expert. Was I perfect – absolutely not. I know I am opinionated, at times judgmental and come across much harsher than I mean to be. I had really given my all to the organization and those we served. It was my identity in the flesh that was torn down by that firing.
I had shared a peace of my soul with her, and she had disregarded it. It was everything to me. She had used it for selfish gain. It was the tearing away at my dream by her actions that really broke me because she represented the Church to me.
As I sat in prayer, God laid it out for me. “You aren’t stepping out because you got your identity from work and from Church. And those were taken from you. Your pride in that identity is holding you back. You lost your confidence because you lost who you thought you were. Child, you are mine. Your identity didn’t come from that job. Your identity isn’t even in the church. You are who I say you are. Set down your pride, and pick back up your confidence. Get back in again. You have so much more to give.”
So who would I be if I left the past behind and let go of my pride? I would be everything that God says I am. I would walk in the gifts and talents He has placed inside of me. I would stand with confidence knowing that nothing anyone says about me can take that away or stop me from using them for Him. There is a quote from Beth Moore that sums it up, from her book So Long Insecurities, You’ve Been a Bad Friend to Us – “Confidence is driven by the certainty of God-given identity and the conviction that nothing can take that identity away.”
This post is prompted by Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 30 Day Writing Challenge for Conscious Leaders.