If I share with you yet another area of weakness will you judge? Will you think to yourself that I am a terrible leader of people because I don’t have it all together myself? Today’s Freedom Friday post is yet another lesson I’m learning during this time of becoming more dependent on God to meet my need for friendship. This is an honest, from-the-heart post that exposes more of the real me. I hope that you will read and NOT judge . . .
. . . After all, maybe some of you are a bit like me.
Welcome to FREEDOM FRIDAY – A new devotional, emotional, spiritual and sometimes hysterical series that I will be sharing on occasional Fridays, in addition to my regular Old Things New posts.
As I mentioned in my first Freedom Friday post I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of Knowing and Being Known. In that post I shared that I believe God has given me this time of not knowing anyone in our new community so that I will draw closer to Him and spend more time in His Presence . . . knowing and being known by Him.
Having been Freedom Session Directors for the past four years I can tell you that doing the ministry that God has called one to can be an exciting thing! Who knew that God would ever be able to use my story to help others? Life experience brought me low but God intervened and sent people who believed in me, supported me, encouraged me and brought great healing into my life by loving on me without reservation. In that process I became better, I grew, I changed, and I received such freedom that I wanted to help others.
In the beginning I could barely stand in front of people with a microphone without shaking in my pretty boots (a feeling that has never fully left me), but in stepping out of my comfort zone, sharing my own story, and offering hope in Christ to others, I’ve been blessed to see many people set free of the shackles that have bound them for years, even as practicing Christians.
When all of the work you pour into a ministry like Freedom Session results in victory in people’s lives it is not only exciting but can be a heady thing!
(of liquor) potent; intoxicating.“several bottles of heady local wine”
Each year, as we started up a new year in Freedom Session I would pray this prayer,
And God faithfully answered.
I would also often say, “I want to do BIG things for you God!”
Thinking back I’ve been asking myself what the motives were behind those prayers?
I believe they were mostly good but I wonder, now that I am in a place where I’m not known or recognized at all when I walk into a church . . . when I don’t have people deliberately making their way over to me to give me a hug or an encouraging word . . . when I don’t have people thanking me for teaching a particularly important lesson . . . am I okay with not being known?
I’m not particularly fond of a lot of public praise or having attention drawn to myself. In fact it can be quite embarrassing. This stems from a period of negative attention received in the past.
But being known in a positive way was kinda’ nice.
In this new place of BIG churches I am not REALLY known by anyone. I’m also not doing BIG things for God! What I am able to do is spend a lot of time GOING DEEPER with God and I’m finding that this season of going deeper is good, REALLY good!
One of my favorite authors, Ann Voskamp says, “All wonder and worship can only grow out of smallness”.
In this place of smallness, of being unknown, I lean in to God and He does not disappoint as He pours out His lavish love and affection on me. In this place of being small I can see how big GOD is to meet all my needs. As I become small before Him He is magnified and I am comforted.
And I realize that I don’t need to do BIG things or GREAT things for God. He doesn’t need me to make His name great. He doesn’t need me to do anything for Him at all. because He is the God of all GREATNESS!
Yet . . . and this is a big YET. . . as Christ followers we are all called to be a part of the greater story . . . His Story. Each of our lives are meant to be shared with others to encourage and draw them to Christ. Scripture says that we are chosen and appointed to bear fruit! – John 15:16.
As we play our part in God’s story it is important to remember that our stories shouldn’t make US great but should always point to Christ and His greatness!
What about you? Maybe you feel lower than low and you can’t even relate to what I’ve said. Maybe you’ve never had the experience of feeling important to anyone. In that case, if you are a Christ follower, you need to know who Christ says you are in Him:
You are CHOSEN – Eph. 1:3-8; You are God’s workmanship – Eph. 2:10; You are a new creation – II Cor. 5:17; You are redeemed and forgiven – Col. 1:13-14; You are free of condemnation – Rom. 8:1-2; You are complete in Christ – Col. 2:9-10; You are God’s beloved child – John 1:12.
You are SIGNIFICANT!
On the other hand, maybe you’ve become impressed with your own importance. Maybe it’s happened gradually without your even becoming aware of it. Perhaps you’ve even become consumed by it. Here is a gentle reminder that Mr. OTN is fond of using, “There is only one God and you are not Him!”
Papa God – Help me to maintain proper balance in my service to you. Help me not to become “heady” over the victories. Help me also not to sink back into the old feelings of being “less than” all of the beautiful Christians around me. Keep my eyes focused on You and Your GREATNESS! Keep me in this place of being dependent upon you and daily amazed by YOU! Continue to guide me as I play my part in the greatest story ever told. YOUR story!
Finally Lord, my prayer is this . . . that if there is anything at all great about me that it be You IN me!
Now that is a heady thought!