As many of you know over the last year I have been on this wild ride of self-reflection, the best thing I can compare it to is some type of Christian mid life crisis. I find myself constantly asking the question, "Am I doing everything that I possibly can to make my life count for Christ?" Sometimes I ask myself this question a 100 times day. And what started out as a great exercise in reflection and accountability has quickly turned into an exercise of doubt and defeat. An exercise that lead me to feel not Christian enough. What do I mean?
Well, while there are many things I have to work hard at, pride is not one of them. Lucky me. I have not been known to struggle with self-confidence. In fact, unfortunately have been known for not choosing humility when it was painfully obvious to those around me that it would be the better choice. So when this new question began to produce thoughts of self-doubt, that was new territory for me. And, I felt like Jesus had given up on me. That He had lost confidence in me. I felt like I lost the support of my biggest fan and cheerleader. I felt like I was no longer Christian enough to do something really significant with my life. I felt shaken, confused and at a loss as to what I had done wrong to fall from being a part God's big plan.
And, isn't that just like the enemy? To take something that spurs us closer to Christ, that pushes us to live an even more abandoned life than ever before, and twist it into something that not only pulls us away from Him but then makes us wonder why He doesn't find us worthy of a great call. So my question slowly went from "Am I doing everything that I possibly can to make my life count for Christ?" to "What is wrong with me that God doesn't find me worthy to do something really significant?"
I don't know about you, but when I feel out of control, I desperately try to regain control - as if I was ever in control in the first place. And, like any good type A - I made a list. I made a mental list of the characteristics and "things" that I thought God asked people that are really following Him to do. It went a little like this:
- Care deeply, take action and advocate for a social injustice (preferably homelessness, trafficking or orphans).
- Give away a lot of money. And by a lot of money, I mean an irrational amount of money.
- Do something that is so crazy, no one around you (even your spouse if necessary) could possibly understand. But that's ok because the more cray the better the story. (This should involve but is not limited to moving to a developing country or the innercity, changing jobs, adopting or starting a non-profit)
- And, then writing it all down into a life changing book that publishers get in literal fist fights over.
Ok, so that list may be dripping a little in sarcasm but so is my mind people. This is the E! True Hollywood Story! However despite the sarcasm, I don't think this is a bad list. In fact I think if everyone that claimed to follow Christ had a life that reflected this list (minus the sarcasm) our world would look very different - radically different.
But the truth of the matter was, I asked God about everything on this list at some point over the last year. Somethings He said we needed to move on, and some He was silent (which in my mind is worse then a no, at least with a no you can move on). The problem came when I had convinced myself that the reason He did not say yes to everything on this list was because I wasn't worthy of such a calling. I wasn't Christian enough.
Sure, I was worthy of the calling to lead kids to Jesus and equip them to follow hard after Him, but anyone could be worthy of that calling. Anyone given the same opportunities, coaching and resources I have been given, oh and remotely cared about kids could do my job. I mean it isn't feeding orphans in Africa, it is the burbs after all. And, as I was sharing these very thoughts with my husband one night he wisely responded back to me, "But Jenny, not everyone has been given the same opportunities, coaching and resources. You have been given that. When did devoting your life to ministering to the families in our community - the community God put us in - when did that become not good enough? When did we start making decisions based off of other people's callings? Stop resisting what God has called you to do because you - not Him - but you, don't think it is Christian enough."
Y'all I spent the next few days being so mad at my husband for no good reason other than, he was absolutely right! And in return made me feel like a ungrateful, brat. Mostly, because I AM! But when I finally let the anger clear, I realized God never gave up on me. He was just waiting. Waiting for me to stop trying to define myself, but rather let Him define me.
So I am here to say God has not asked me start a non-profit. I do hope to one day write a book, but I also have 3 little people that call me Mom and about 750 that desperately need more Jesus in their life and the life of their family. And as of today, I am keeping my house in the burbs west of Houston.
My life mission is to lead kids to Jesus and equip them to follow hard after Him. I don't know what that will look like everyday for the rest of my life. But for right now, it is an honor that I get to do it at Parkway Fellowship in Richmond, Texas. A call I am humbled God has found me worthy to take on.
I don't know what God has called you to do. It might look like mine, but it probably doesn't. Regardless, whatever it is remember this - not just anyone can do it. In fact out of everyone in this universe God picked you. You are the one with the resources, skills and you are oh so worthy to get the job done. Not anyone else, but you. So stop stiff arming the call, and chase after it until you are left breathless.