We’ve come to the end of another transitional role in the community after being here almost two years. We’ll have been here 23 months when all is said and done. In preparation for a move we’ve been shedding, whatever we can shed and I’ve been continuing to scan documents. I’ve dropped another file box worth of documents just in the last weekend.
I came across a file of documents which I’d actually already scanned, but hadn’t tossed out because I wanted to read them through again. These are documents from conferences and sermon notes I’ve done, but they were so good I didn’t want to chuck them out yet, so I’ve been reading them through again and taking more notes as I think about them.
I came across this one from a pastor’s retreat from 2008 and a speaker named John Stumbo. It’s a talk about being yourself and what that really means. He says if you’re going to be yourself, you better be the best self you can be and then he got into this whole talk about excuses. Here’s the question: what’s your default excuse, your reason why you can’t do what God is calling you to do? He had some great biblical examples of people who had excuses, like Moses who said “I’m a nobody, I don’t know what to say.” And Gideon, “I’m from the weakest clan and the weakest family.” And Elijah in First Kings 19, “There’s no one left just me. I’m the only one left.” In Jeremiah, “I don’t know how to speak, I’m only a child.”
All of these excuses that they couldn’t do. He points out that if you see something you think God might be calling you to do and you have an excuse of why you can’t do it, then you’re actually in a line of great leaders and people God has used throughout history. The truth is that you’ve been designed by God and he has gifted you, probably in many ways, and you do have some strengths and whatever he’s called you to run, with those strengths and trust him to fill in the weaknesses.
Now the risk is of course that if we’re being ourselves and we’re rejected, it can feel very, very personal. But if we’re not being ourselves and we’re rejected, we can kind of write it off as well, that’s not really who I am. So there’s a risk in being authentic and being ourselves, and we are called to be ourselves; to function as God has called us to function and do what he’s called us to do.
So as I’m looking at these notes here, this talk ended with a question. The question was this. What’s one aspect of your personality, of who God made you to be, one of the talents you’ve buried under a rock? Is there something you’re a little less of than you were one year ago? In other words, is there a way you are not being yourself? Is there something that has happened? Have you taken some hits, some criticism and it’s hurt you and caused you to pull back and not be completely authentic, not exercise the gifts and pursue the calling God has laid before you?
I’m finding these, these rich thoughts to reflect on as we complete a role and in the mode of seeking God for what is next. We’re actually moving about a 12 hour drive from where we are. It’s straight North to a place we did a transition role in years ago where we ended up buying a little condo because the rent was so ridiculous there that it made more sense to buy something. Then the market went down and now we’ve got this place. Fortunately, it’s been rented out and just came open, so we’re heading up there.
So I’ve got some time to think and reflect, and I’ve been mulling on this among other questions. How has God made me? How has he wired me and gifted me? And am I living that out? Am I living out what God has poured in? Am I exercising the gifts He’s given me within the calling by which He’s called me.
I want to drop that question into your day as well. Is there something you need to take out from under a rock or is there some way you need to be more fully yourself, pursuing who God has called you to be. Hope that gives you something to think about today. Wisdom to you as you seek direction for whatever your next steps are and the great adventure of Christian leadership.
God bless, press on.