During my senior year of high school, my class chose me to be Student County Commissioner for a Day. Students from each area school participated in a live session to discuss county affairs. We deliberated on budget issues, permit requests and various county matters.
I didn’t see it then, but the Lord used that experience to speak to me about His calling in my life.
Mustering courage is tough on your own.
I was honored to take part in that process. And I spent weeks gearing up to “perform.” The truth is there wasn’t a single cell in my body that felt qualified for the task. Appearance and perception held my attention rather than studying the process.
The result: I was unprepared and vulnerable to fear.
On that pre-GPS day, I headed toward the courthouse with big shoulder pads and even bigger hair (think Melanie Griffith in the 1988 film Working Girl). I resisted the urge to make a U-turn.
I thought of my family, who would be let down if I was a no-show. I remembered my Government teacher, Mrs. Jones, who I’m certain was my proponent in the selection process.
And this was enough to stiffen my backbone and stay the course.
Who needs enemies when I have myself?
The entire day, I compared myself with the other participants. They were self-assured with thoughtful and relevant contributions. A leader of the bunch emerged, and I knew I was out of my league.
I did survive that day, and there is a measure of success in that. But I realize that survival was not the goal.
Leaving the courthouse that day, the weight of the spotlight tag-teamed with disappointment. Perhaps my heavy heart indicated I should have aborted the mission.
No, that’s not true. Any experience, no matter how treacherous, holds value in lessons learned. If I had taken a look around, the only one clunking myself over the head with a failure stick was myself. (That may explain the throbbing headache I had that day.)
Author C. JoyBell C. shares these words of encouragement:
“I am my own biggest critic. Before anyone else has criticized me, I have already criticized myself. But for the rest of my life, I am going to be with me and I don’t want to spend my life with someone who is always critical. So I am going to stop being my own critic. It’s high time that I accept all the great things about me.”
A welcomed truth.
It’s taken me some three decades to reach my “high time” and to realize the greatest thing about me is Christ in me. I do fall short. I do make bad choices. I do think wrong thoughts. But it’s Christ in me who works to mature me through these life lessons.
And that’s what we, our own biggest critics, must believe. The self-criticism must end for us to get down to God’s business.
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” (Ephesians 4:1 NKJV).
Get a move on it.
God calls us to action. We can’t get stuck in expectations of would’ve, should’ve or could’ve. We steadily move forward along the path of God’s calling.
When we mess up or someone we love hurts us, we proceed humbly and gently. We are patient with others. And we make allowances for each other’s faults out of love. We make every effort to keep ourselves united in the Spirit, binding ourselves together with peace. Ephesians 4:2-3
Get used to being worthy.
This is hard for me. I don’t see myself as worthy. On our own we are not, but Christ, CHRIST, makes us so. We’re measured by the Lord’s perception of our worth, not our own.
It’s the salvation of His death and resurrection of His life poured into us that say we are worthy. Ephesians 4:5-6
Get to listening for His call.
We’re not alone on this journey. All around, we hear the stamping of feet as others follow their calling in unison with the Body of Christ. It’s the sound of maturity as our brothers and sisters stay the course and steady their feet as they go.
With every faith step, we listen as Christ guides and directs us to fit perfectly together. Each of us do our special work and help others grow so the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. Ephesians 4:11-16
Do this one thing.
My eighteen-year-old self in that courthouse could only see an unqualified girl dropped in the middle of a circumstance in which she didn’t belong. My emotions allowed those moments to expand beyond their worth and diminish mine.
I’m thankful for this “totally tubular” lesson from the 80’s that has taught me to “take a chill pill” when I feel overwhelmed with unworthiness and to do this one thing – remember these truths:
Jesus died for me
Jesus lives in me
Jesus qualifies me
Tell God today that you believe you are worthy in Christ and that He is calling you to your place within His Church!
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