Tag Archive | truth

I’m No Expert

Experts? 

Image courtesy of adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I hate the idea that you should find the one thing you are really good at–become an expert–and use that as a platform to make money. Or do ministry. Or both.

It’s as if we are to find that one thing and use it as a way to lord it over others that you have more years, experience, training, ect than others to do that job. And maybe if you’re lucky, they’ll pay you for that privilege.

I experienced this years ago in ministry with a woman who had great skills. But on a team with a younger leader who lacked some of those skills, she sabotaged the team (and that leader) instead of filling in what lacked on the team and providing training, support and encouragement that young woman needed. God worked and the team accomplished its goal but rationally, spiritually, emotionally, there was a heavy price paid because of this pride and arrogance.

Ouch, did I really write those words?

I see this in the writing field too. I’m off to a conference this week and I’m doing a workshop. But I want to make it clear. I don’t know it all. I’m not an expert. I might be further along the path than some in some areas but I still need to learn and grow and sometimes I find my capacity for that growth is stifled by the tasks I need to accomplish. At the end of my workshop I’ll be pointing people to someone else who is teaching further along the path of my topic, I’ll get their feet wet and he can douse them with info they will need! Maybe I should provide towels? 

Ministry or People? What’s More Important?

We lose focus on what’s important. As my pastor, Ken Nabi has said,

We don’t use people to get ministry done. We use ministry to get people done.

But from what I see often in the publishing world, we are failing at this in honor of a buck or our name on a book, or maybe as the teacher of a workshop at a conference.

I’m still growing as an author and editor and would never have come this far if it hadn’t been for those further along the path who have taken time to encourage and mentor me. A helping hand. A little push from behind. A word of encouragement on the way when times get tough. And maybe even a dose of humility as thoughts and beliefs are challenged. This is true of my younger years serving in church leadership as well as with my writing career.

The fact is, none of us have arrived. If I see someone further along the path, I ask questions, challenge too if I need to, and grow. If I see someone younger in the journey or maybe less developed in skills I might have, then I can encourage, train, show the way and if it is a leader I follow, push them to further growth as others have done for me.

The Missing Ingredient

Now this is the thing that has been weighing on my heart most about this process: accountability. This in the church to varying degrees and there needs to be more. I don’t ask the hard questions often enough myself. But community cannot grow without that kind of vulnerability. As an editor, I’m not sure I’ve stepped in to assist my authors as much with their spiritual walk as I have their publishing journey.

And that’s a shame because their walk with God is more important than their name on a book or good ratings on Amazon.

My weakness goes back generations. I want people to be happy. I write “happily ever after” endings because of this deep-seated need within me. Ultimately we get that in this life, when we are with Jesus.  In the meantime though, it is in the best interests to help others grow towards that “happy” but along the way sometimes truth hurts. Truth spoken with love and grace can be a powerful force towards growth though. I’m just praying that if God pushes me that way, I will have the courage to follow. I need to humble myself more and more before His throne if he can even use me in that way. It’s not a happy task, but done well, glorifies God.

After all, He’s the expert.

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Falling off a Pedestal

DSC_0506I sat down with a good friend last week and confessed that I was struggling in my walk with God. It’s not that I don’t pray, I do. But making a daily time to spend with Him was something I was ambivalent about and even resisting.

She asked me a good question. How come with all the women I know and have served with, there wasn’t anyone to be holding me accountable?

Well, some are just too busy.

I also served for years in leadership and to some that seems to elevate me to the status of someone who isn’t going to really struggle with my spiritual walk. I’m good for listening to them and encouraging and praying for them–but it’s not reciprocal.

And I’m still feeling bruised and battered from some of the abuses I suffered while in leadership. These are hurts that few know about because I don’t gossip and spread other’s sins abroad, no matter how badly I was injured in the process.

My friend gets it because she’s seen leadership struggle in her own church. It can be a lonely place.

Someone came up to me a few weeks ago and told me she used to be afraid to approach me. She thought I was intimidating.

Wow. That made me so sad. I don’t want to ever appear intimidating.

I’m glad she knows better now.

So here’s the scoop. I’m not in the “in” group anywhere. I often feel like an outsider. I’m afraid I’m not good enough – at anything and everything.  I cry. I lose sleep due to my irrational fears.

I get lonely and due to circumstances I won’t go into here. I struggle to feel like I have any value in this crazy mixed up world because there are people in my life who have pretty much led me to believe I don’t. And I often sabotage myself in the very things I’m trying to achieve.

Ugly truths, huh?

I don’t like heights. It’s not the heights themselves, but the fear of falling from them. Please, PLEASE take me off any pedestal you have put me on.

I sin. I screw up. I let emotions sometimes derail me from being productive in the work God has called me to do. I get scared about the future, even the good things I see God doing.

I don’t feel ready for that. I feel inadequate and inept.

Just because I smile doesn’t mean I have my act together. I’m so far from perfect. I’m a member of the human race just like you are. Any good you see in me is totally there by the grace of God.

I’m grateful that my friend was willing to take the next step that many others weren’t. She asked me the tough questions and she made a date for us to meet again to discuss how it’s going. Accountability. I am beyond grateful.

The best gift I ever got while serving in ministry was from the first pastor I worked for who weekly did not hesitate to ask : “So how is your walk with God going? What is He teaching you?” At first I found those questions intimidating but soon learned they were an expression of love. We need more of this in the church.

In a recent radio interview I said this: “Whatever calling you pursue, don’t do it alone. I don’t think we can do anything for the glory of God on our own.”

I know I can’t. How about you? Who is holding you accountable in your walk with God?