I am not skilled enough
I already have enough on my plate
Its too dangerous (people are messy)
I am too young or inexperienced to be taken seriously
That this will tip the scales of balance in my life
That I am hearing God wrong and being foolish or nieve or just a dreamer
That I will say or do the wrong thing and offend someone
I have no idea how to do business or finances, I only understand people
I should never consider serving others in this capacity unless my own life is in perfect order
FEAR. And it stops me in my tracks. And then I just go back to quietly dreaming, or if its a really bad day, I try to convince myself to let someone else take up the banner. Someone more qualified, with more time and knowledge. Someone who has their life together. I love what Christine Caine says: "Isn't that human nature? We're roused to do something, and then we immediately forget the one Reason that we are capable of doing anything at all...He doesn't ask if we are capable, simply if we are willing."
Here is the thing. I see women. I see them in unique ways. I see their pain but I also see their immense value and worth. I have a passion for seeing us live whole heartedly, and I want to wage war against depression and anxiety. I have seen the two thieves rob so many of us of our potential, our relationships, and our lives. I want to fight back with the skills and wisdom and insight that God has gifted me with. I have spent too much of my life being ashamed of my gifts. Hiding them, denying them, because to own them felt prideful and wrong. I have second guessed my gifts, minimized the skills God wove into my being. I believe this grieves our Creator. As I have lived life, I have learned that God has uniquely gifted EACH of us and He does not desire that we deny those gifts but that we own them, use them, and share them. As a parent, when we give a gift to our children, how much joy does it bring us to watch them use it, but even more to watch them use it to bless others.
As for life being in proper order. Who better to have the eyes to see than someone in the trenches, fighting their way through pain and trials, fighting for truth amidst the subtle lies that invade our minds in the throes of pain and uncertainty. Trials do not sideline us, they EQUIP us. Our pain is some of the most fertile soil for equipping us to minister to others, to see them, and share with them that the joy is not the destination but the journey. I have inadvertently been taught my entire life that unless everything is perfect, I have nothing to offer. But I don't want to be lead by perfect people (and there aren't any...it was all just some terrible illusion). I want to be lead by people who have the humility to own their problems, the strength to fight, and the wisdom to know the value of NEEDING redemption on a daily basis which can only come through living authentically.
I read this the other day from Caine's book Undaunted:
Nowhere in Jesus' story (of the Good Samaritan) does it say that the priest or the Levite were bad people. But they were BUSY people, religious people. They were so consumed with keeping their schedules, appointments, and commitments that they ended up walking past someone they should have helped. The man lying on the side of the road was an INTERRUPTION to their ministry, rather than the object of it...the only difference between the Samaritan and the religious people was that the Samaritan actually crossed the street. The Samaritan was willing to have his plans interrupted so that he could assist the man...Compassion is only emotion -- until you cross the street. Compassion means action. You go to them.
I was so moved by those words. First I thought of how many church goers I know who are so busy with programs and policies and avoiding messy people that they miss those who are dying right in front of them, but then my mind floated to myself. How many times did I fail to cross the street? Almost on cue the Lord brought to mind a current student of mine. Her and her husband are from Kenya and have been trying to get pregnant for years. They finally succeeded, only to lose the baby when she was 19 weeks along. She is clearly still walking the road of grief. She shared her story with me weeks ago, and immediately I remembered how someone had gifted me Angie Smith's book I Will Carry You. I remembered what a blessing her words had to others who had suffered loss in this way and I felt compelled to give my student the book. But I was afraid it was too forthright. I have no idea where she is at on her grief journey or if she would even read it. And besides, I need all the books I can get for my women's center, right? The big ministry. I can't give it away, I need it. I have no money to make this all come to fruition so the least I can do is hang on to what I do have...books to fill some shelves. WAIT. I am the Levite. My eye is so on the goal. The big picture. The ministry. The fear and uncertainty (would she read it, would she want it, would the references to Jesus upset her?) stopped me from crossing the street. My vision for the future got in the way of my seeing the immediate need. Yesterday, I crossed the street and gave her the book. We are not responsible for outcomes, after all. We are responsible for obedience. Obedience to use our gifts. Obedience to heed His call.
The vision being born in my heart is vast. It all feels far too overwhelming and I have no idea how to get from here to there. If your at all interested in assisting me here is what I need: PRAYER, someone who understands business and can talk me through the kinds of business details I need to make, someone who understands insurance (what kind of insurance do I need as a practitioner and business), someone who understands money and can help me raise some, and keep accounts when the time comes, someone to help me with development (groups, retreats, seminars), someone to help me with advertising, and eventually I need a "Board" (people who are knowledgeable and I respect who can keep us accountable, essentially wise counsel), money, PRAYER.
I know I have not shared much of what is being born in my heart. That is another post for another day. But suffice to say that I want to wage war against the vices stealing womens' heart, vision, calling, purpose, and capacity. I want to eventually provide a safe place for women to breathe. To heal. To touch the ground. To wake up and live wholeheartedly. I want to reclaim lives from the grip of depression, disillusionment, hopelessness, and death. I want to be an agent who helps to lift the burden of shame, and point people in the direction of Freedom. I may not be fully capable, and I may be afraid, but I am willing. I am determined to cross the road. Will you join me in however you are gifted and called to do the same?