Work in Progress

As I am reading through the Bible, trying to learn how to be the best leader I can, I am stuck on 1 Timothy. In Chapter 3 Paul talks about how an overseer must be temperate and self-controlled among other things.

Those two ways of being are both VERY hard for a passionate, impulsive person like me!

Now I can use the cop-out of, that is how God made me…OR I can understand that I want to obtain maturity be being able to be temperate and self-controlled.

Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean subdue and a passive doormat. It just means there is a time and a place.

What I learned today…To remember that the Fruits of the Spirit show Maturity in Christ. I can say I am following the Bible…but in less I am growing in each of these areas, I’m not growing in my maturity as a believer.

Fruits of the Spirit

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Pride vs Humility

Prior to giving my life over to Christ I did not battle with pride. I WAS prideful. I thought, though I am not better than the next person, NO ONE was better than me. I could stand on a stage and talk in front of 1000s and be fine as I couldn’t care less what they thought of me and/or what I was saying.

When I became a Christian and had the opportunity to teach, I FREAKED OUT. Why? Well, in reading the Bible I learned that teachers are held accountable, by GOD! (Check out Paul’s letters to Timothy).

As I learned more about abilities give at birth or learned vs spiritual gifts, given at baptism, I learned that I do have a gift of teaching. I can let the enemy use it and do it to get all the glory for myself, or I can let God use it and point all the glory up to Him.

What I still battle with, which you can read in 1/2 my earlier posts, is pride. God gave us abilities and we should not be prideful in them, yet we should be confident in them, right? How do you be confident in them, while not being prideful, while expressing humility?

I know that was written in a circle, as that is what my brain has been stuck on…until last night. We went to church and it was a terrific service. Check out “God Can Use Anybody” from April 3rd.

Pastor Rick talked about my favorite subject, how everyone is necessary in the Kingdom of God. We are all built to serve, using our God given abilities, to help others grow.

In the sermon, he said something that was a BIG AH-HA for me…

“Humility is not denying your strengths, it’s admitting your weaknesses.”

What I learned today…I can be CONFIDENT, not prideful, in how God made me. I can be humble in the fact I have a LOT of weaknesses. A LOT.

 

Who? Me?

Have you ever had one of those moments where you have walked in to a situation and thought, “What in the world am I doing here?”.

I do that at work, a LOT. I look at God incredulously a LOT and ask Him, “Do you REALLY think I belong here?”. You know, those days were you feel SO different.

Not smart enough. Not young enough. Not old enough. Not thin enough. Not “Holy” enough. Not male enough. Not female enough. Not “hip” enough. Not quiet enough. Not “soft” enough.

I do alllll the time. Now, I know you can say, we need to remember God created us all beautifully for a specific purpose! And I hear what you are saying because I get it. I just feel completely under-qualified 85% of the time. The other 15% of the time, I think I’ve got it.

Last night Chad and I were invited to a function. It felt like a hush-hush deal so I didn’t bring it up much at work. I felt privilege to have been afforded an invite. I was excited to see who would be there.

When we arrived, it was a small, narrow building and I saw some familiar faces right away. (Now remember, I am VERY socially awkward with small talk, even with people I love.)  I saw wonderful people from the worship and production teams and only a few others. People that I REALLY like and admire…but rarely have words to use around them in my awkwardness, so Chad and I were thankful to have a couple faces that we could connect with.

As the evening began, I was YET AGAIN in awe of the leader of our worship team. He truly has a heart for God. I am not close enough with his wife, but I can safely assume she does as well. As he started the evening, he took time to thank each and every person that had helped with the release of their first EP (“First” ironically is the name and you can click here to purchase it on Itunes now). As he walked through each name, you saw each person feel honored and hold their head a little higher because they were SEEN and Valued.

As I was looking around thinking, what am I doing here, I was praising God for such amazing people. We were in a room full of people that use their time, energy and gifts pouring their talents back out to the Lord who provided them all of those things.

And then, the leader said MY name. What?!?!? He said he was thankful for my support. Through the thick and thin they new I was always cheering for them and praying for them. Soooo, I teared up, because I couldn’t believe he’d point that out!!! Isn’t that what we are suppose to do? Love and support each other? Pray for each other? I felt like it was a privilege and honor to have a position where I can support and pray for them. Shouldn’t we all be doing that for each other?

So as I stood there praying my heart out, asking for God to show people His love and His mercy. I felt God strongly say there is someone here that NEEDS to know THEY ARE SEEN. I looked behind me and thought WOW, God must love her a LOT to be having me awkwardly step over and give her a big hug in the midst of it all. He wanted HER to know that she is KNOWN. Did I have a chance to truly explain that? Nope. But I am hoping she felt it through my look and hug. Sadly, she left before I could get to her again. I prayed God would stay with her.

Who in your life are you not SEEing? Who did He put in your life that you can support and pray for. Not in a big way, but in a way that says YOU MATTER.

What I learned today…Be thankful for those in your life. Acknowledge and honor the gifts God gave them. I need to always thank God for the opportunity to work for Him. And to constantly ask Him to show me who He needs me to tap on the shoulder, hug and let them know they are SEEN.

 

How Informal Are You

We had a staff meeting about Informality. It is one of the Values we have here at my church that we hold dear.

At one point the moderator asked everyone who is naturally informal to raise their hand and around 80% of the staff did. Then he asked for those who struggle to make sure they are informal to raise their hands. I raise my hand for the later. When I did that, I saw multiple faces show shock.

In my current work place I am very informal 80% of the time. It is a struggle, which does surprise most people. By nature, I am fairly uptight about the workplace. My mom taught me an extremely strong work ethic, so time spent chit-chatting has been something I have had to learn over the last 4 years. It hasn’t been easy.

As I have learned a fruitful life is less about production and protocol and more about people and relationships. Again, I have LEARNED and continue learning as when I have a lot going on and a ton to do, it is still difficult for me to stop for conversation. However, Jesus modeled that some of the best Ministry comes out of interruptions.

What I learned today…

I will continue to work on being present and informal so as to set people at ease, help the feel comfortable and truly be engaged in relationships.

I will continue to spend time intentionally being loud and goofy, when I can, remembering it is more relatable.

I will also fight the urge not to be “all business” as I don’t work in a setting where it is all business.

I will work through the pull of my head to be stern in circumstances, and be more understanding.

I will pray for God to give me the wisdom to know the right and wrong times for informality and that I don’t come off too strong, but as a very loving, hard working, leader.

Do you see the light?

My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me. Acts 22:9

What a strong verse. Saul was walking with his companions, who were also non-believers in Christ. All of them saw the light and yet Saul was the only one who understood the voice of Jesus that was speaking.

Sometimes that happens in life, right? We hear God speaking clearing to us, yet those around us either can’t or won’t listen to His direction. At times it’s because they are non-believers and choose not to hear Him. Or because they refuse to listen. Or because they haven’t met Him yet.

There are many reasons we can sometimes hear God clearly and other times we feel like He has left us completely. In both He is at work. Thankfully, Saul turned to Paul, because He listened…and followed direction.

Whether we are seeing the light and listening patiently to His voice. We see someone else reflecting His light and we follow the lead He has given them. We can’t see His light and we look for it in His Word. At all times He is with us. He is shining His light so bright it would burn our faces! Whether we see it or not!

Remember God giving Moses direction through the burning bush? (Exodus 3)

Moses heard God, hid his face and said, there is NO way I could do what you are asking.

 Throughout the chapter we see God saying to Him,

I am God.

I will be with you.

I am sending you.

I who have sent you.

I AM WHO I AM

I know.

I will perform.

I will make.

Boy, Moses was stubborn! (I can relate). God was giving him pretty direct directions and Moses kept pushing back.

Do you do that? I do.

Let’s remember, that in order to shine our light…we need to be firmly planted in His Word and LISTEN to His direction, than follow it.

 Look at it this way…

He is God.

He is with you.

He is sending you.

He has sent you.

He is sovereign.

He knows.

He will perform.

He will make it possible.

May your light shine BRIGHT to all around you this week whether they be a believer or “pre-Christian” (non-believer).

What I learned today…We can only reflect His light if we are looking to Him. Stay connected through the Word.

Stuck on David: Numero Uno

I am completely stuck in 1 Samuel 17. The whole thing!!

For example, in the first 2 verses –

“Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Sokoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Sokoh and Azekah. Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines.” (vs 1-2)

Okay, something hit me. Notice the Philistines gathered their forces for war, while Saul and the Israelites assembled.

If I was a betting person, based on these two sentences, I would’ve bet on the Philistines. However, in life I don’t. When something needs to be done, I generally look for the fastest and the strongest. The ones who can get-it-done.

What these 2 verses remind me of, is that I might be trained to jump on the train of the fastest moving, shiniest, strongest looking, etc.. thing available, and I should be praying for who GOD wants me to lean on or fight for. Not necessarily who I think should be backing. God knows the story of everyone all around us. Those teams, groups, people who might not arrive to a task theand ready. They might be the ones who show up and need time to process the situation. It might even look like there is no way they could ever succeed at the deed…but if God wants them to, they will.

Who is around you that you may be overlooking? Do you consistently go to your “go-to” people rather than giving others a chance?

I am a firm believer in try. Try and succeed, woooo whoooo! Or Try and fail…and learn.

Both are okay.

What I learned today…I need to pray for God to open my eyes more to those around me that I might be overlooking.

EPIC Fail At Work

Okay, so yesterday was going great…until I failed in an EPIC way. Now, you might complete disagree with me, but just wait until after you hear it all… I even talked with a couple people about it, as they could tell I was “off” at an evening event…and they didn’t think it was epic…so you might not. BUT, it is to me.

At around noon I was invited to a meeting that started at 2:30pm concerning a project I am help with. I hit “attend” and didn’t think twice. When I arrived, there weren’t many people, and we weren’t waiting for many more per the leaders of the meeting. I thought it strange the leader of the project hadn’t shown up, yet, as he is fairly prompt.

I felt the nudge to call and see where he was.

I ignored it.

The meeting was about to start and I felt the nudge again.

I ignored it.

As they said, okay let’s get started, everyone is here – I felt the nudge…

Guess what?

I ignored it and thought he was probably called in to a meeting with people more important. (That can happen).

So, the meeting got started.

At the end of the meeting I went down to find the project leader and tease him for not being there.

He had not been invited.

UGH. Immediately I felt horrible. No, I wasn’t the one in charge of calling the meeting. No, typically I wouldn’t have looked at the invite list as I assume everyone is on the same page, BUT, it was very difficult to see the upset on his face and in his posture. Righteous frustration. I could understand that and I hurt for him.

Now, people have said, I had no epic failure here. A) I didn’t set it up. B) I wasn’t intentionally doing something wrong. The “miss” wasn’t mine to own.

I disagree.

The Holy Spirit was nudging me, and I ignored Him. I was being given clear instructions, and I wasn’t listening. I kept feeling that nudge and KNOW that 100% of the time, I am better off following through with whatever I’m getting nudged about it. I didn’t so missed an opportunity that hurt someone else.

Yes, my heart hurt for the frustration of the situation for my co-worker. But I felt even worse that I ignored GOD, who was trying to get my co-worker in to that meeting.

I failed.

What I learned today…Follow what the Holy Spirit is nudging me to do regardless of what I think. I am obviously not in the “know” like He is.

Article On Me Being Mean

I wanted to share an article that was written by one of the amazing women on my team, who I was VERY strong with.

Check out what she wrote…

Iron sharpens iron – http://wp.me/p75LYu-2F

What I learned from it…Trust God even when it is uncomfortable.

I CANNOT BE SORRY for Who I Am

We know, from past posts, I battle the feeling of being inadequate a LOT. Sadly, I didn’t battle this in such a life altering way until I joined the church. Within the church, I started feeling like I wasn’t enough. I don’t have a memory that retains Bible verses as quick as others that can recite the whole Bible from memory. I don’t have the theological PhDs that others have. (I didn’t even finish college!) I could go on and on.

Thankfully, God didn’t call me for all of that. He would have given me a better memory if He wanted to.  He could have given me the drive to get a great education if He wanted to. Now, to be fair, I am in seminary as I do believe being educated regarding the Bible is very important. That way I am not going only off my interpretation of the Bible and/or what others tell me, but truly digging in to it and hearing a variety of opinions.

Another battle I face is being born a leader. You might think that is a super sexy role, so why would I think it was a battle? Outside of the church, it wasn’t hard. I could use my skills and they were celebrated and affirmed consistently. Within the church it is different. Well, within the churches I know about, it might be different at yours.

I came in to our church knowing that there was never a ladder to climb. We do not have female pastors. Fine. Our church does not have a female elder. Fine. All of that is absolutely fine. I knew what I was walking in to. I took a position that used my skill set and I absolutely love. I know I will upset some of you, but I do believe that men should be the lead pastors in the church. I also believe, leading the church on the team of leaders, a woman is NEEDED. When women make up over 1/2 the church, their voices must be represented at all “tables”. Not to push the “women” thing, but to work side by side like we were built to do. To help each other and promote GOD through it all. The challenge I have found when working with both men AND women in the church is when I use my gift of leadership. Now remember, I did not ask to be a leader. It’s a gift GOD gave me. In John 15:16 we read “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you.” This is a hard life! Being a “good” Christian is HARD. I don’t think I would’ve chosen to walk in to the craziness it is. But GOD chose me for it. I trust Him.

I battle knowing that He gave me this gift, while others who want it so bad, and strive for it, and educate themselves to become better skilled at it…don’t. We can say that about a lot of gifts. If you have the gift of organization, the rest of us hide and get upset because we aren’t skilled in that way. If you have the gift of teaching, the rest of us hide and get upset because we aren’t skilled in that way….I could go on and on. YOU have a gift the rest of us yearn for. The battle is knowing that God created us all perfectly to do what HE has for us. Though we might want another gift, if we didn’t have the one we uniquely have, there would be an absence in the world.

Romans 8:28-31 says –

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

SO GOOD!!!! Let’s lean on this Biblical truth when we doubt, or battle opposition!

I like what J. Oswald Chambers has to say about it in his book Spiritual Leadership Principles of Excellence for Every Believer.

“I am here neither by selection of an individual nor election of a group buy by the almighty appointment of God.”

We need to be confident as Christians in the gifts He has given us. An even BIGGER step would be to not only be confident in it, but to celebrate others gifts as well. To those who have the gifts we don’t have, celebrate them! And we all need to continuously vow to do our best to enhance and improve the gifts we have been given. It’s not a use it or lose it situation, but it is like a muscle that you have, but can get SO MUCH STRONGER the more you work on it.

What I learned today…I have SO much to say on this subject, I should learn to write more short and sweet blogs.

Bold and Compassionate

Generally when I tell others to be Bold AND Compassionate, it means – say your piece in a nice way. These situations are usually when someone needs to be “course corrected” as they are going down an unhealthy path. I remind people that we are responsible for the people God has given us to work with and around and as a leader, we have to do things that aren’t always fun, by helping people see that hey are held accountable for their actions as leaders.

This morning as I prepared for a meeting, God brought a different picture to mind and course – corrected me.

I was looking up pictures of Bold and Compassionate and was surprised when the first one that came up reminded me of the story in Mark and Luke of Jesus healing the paralyzed man who was lowered through the roof where Jesus was preaching.

Mark 2:4-5   Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (To read the full chapter click here).

It is not a story of the men trying to heal their paralyzed friend. It is not a story of the men talking through the sins that might have made him this way. (Back then, they believed that if you were paralyzed, among other things, it is because of sin in your life or your family’s lives).

This is a story of men, seeing their friend in pain, living a life that was not beneficial. It’s a story of those men KNOWING Jesus could heal. Of men not letting crowds stop them. Of men not letting a roof stop them. It’s the story of men, doing all they can to bring their friend to Jesus to be healed.

The knock over the head God gave me this morning was…why do I feel like I need to help course-correct others with MY words. What I need to do, is do everything I can to bring those people to the feet of Jesus to be healed and directed. I might have great motives and believe what I say is the best, but JESUS has pure and wants the best for all of us. He can do WAY more in a heart than I can.

What I learned today…I need to go boldly to CHRIST with my concerns regarding my path and others. I need to lean on Him to course correct us all, if it His will.  I learned that I will never stop learning as long as I go to Him with everything. The direction He gives won’t always feel good, but it is good.