Before I begin to share with you what the Lord has laid on my heart this week, let me say that I am a big fan of all things education, training, and any and all refining activities that help prepare us to better live out our calling before God. These things are important. God does not wave a magic wand over our lives and just lay the perfect life plan out in front of us. At least that isn’t how my life has played out. Sometimes, he requires hard, hard work and a heap of faith from us before we see His plans unfold. That being said, let’s talk for a moment about titles, labels and pedigrees.
I recently added a title to my resume. Author. It is slowly becoming more comfortable as I walk in faith with the Lord but there is nothing, other than a description that I’ve written something in my life, that really changes with that title. I am still the same person I was before the title came to be. Am I proud of my accomplishment? Sure. I really am. I know more than anyone how much perseverance it has taken to push through the excuses and the fears that came along with saying, “Yes, Lord” to the writing of my book. But I’m not a pedigreed author. I did not get a writing degree in school. I have no certifications hanging on my office wall related to my writing acumen. But God asked me to write down the story of His faithfulness in our lives and I did. He never asked about my qualifications.
Recently, I ran into a precious sister in Christ who I greatly admire. She has musical talents that I can’t even begin to imagine having. Not only is she incredibly beautiful on the outside, but her deep, deep passion for Christ and His work in her life literally beams from her being. Watching her worship the Father is a tremendous joy for me. Think about someone you’ve known who has literally glowed from pregnancy, and this is the kind of glow you see in her face when she talks about Jesus. Like me, she has had a long season of hardship. She’s had to face deep pain stretching back decades and she has seen how God has sustained her, grown her faith, and been ever present through it all. There are times when God orchestrates a connection between people from very different walks of life that is almost holy. When I saw this sister last, we had the chance to talk about the projects we have been given by God. Though she is not writing a book, our struggles and joys have been similar enough that we formed a bond. We both understand the arrows that Satan throws when He is determined to derail God’s work.
As our conversation continued, she shared something with me that I’ve not been able to forget. We were talking about how incredibly vulnerable you feel when you step out in faith and open up a private part of yourself in service to God. Whether it’s sharing your testimony, writing a book, or a song, or any other “God project” that requires you to give of yourself, it is daunting. Inevitably, you begin to hear the lies that can only be from the Father of Lies.
In my experience, it starts with some variety of this:
“Who do you think you are? God can’t use YOU!”
“Aren’t you forgetting all the times you’ve blown it? God can’t use YOU!”
“YOU are going to write a book? Compose a song? Open an art gallery? (fill in the blank) What possible credentials do you have for such a thing?” Where is your pedigree?
In a nutshell, these arguments aim to get you focused on yourself and to take your focus away from God and what He’s asking you to do.
As always, we should take our truth from the pages of scripture. How often did God choose the lowly in society to do His work? Who were these fishermen that he called to help him preach the best news ever? It wasn’t the highly educated that he chose to use for this most holy task. And what about the many examples of the deep and rewarding relationships that He had with the most despised of sinners? The broken? Even the most horrid abuser of christians in Biblical history was redeemed and allowed the privilege of teaching the gospel. How can we then, ever think that we are not _______ enough for His work?
But here’s the thing.
God doesn’t need anything from you but your willing “Yes, Lord.” He doesn’t need you to have been raised in a perfect family. He doesn’t need you to fit anyone else’s mold. He doesn’t need you to have a specific college degree or resume. He needs your willingness and your obedience. Your “pedigree” is not important to Him. Do you really think that God is going to call you to something that you can’t do? Is He going to create in you a personality or appearance that isn’t precisely what He wanted for your life? If I’ve learned nothing else this past year it’s that God’s plans are always good. They serve a purpose that is far greater than what we can see oftentimes. So if you have sought His will and covered your next steps in prayer, feeling His hand over the choices you are making, then step out of the boat! I promise you the only doors that will slam in your face are the ones that God doesn’t want you to enter.