About two years and a half years ago, my employer brought me into her office to discuss a promotion with me. Her biggest concern (and rightly so) was whether or not I would have the confidence and leadership qualities to take charge of a situation and delegate tasks, especially in tough situations. I’m not going to lie – that was a hard thing to hear. But it was the truth. The obvious truth.
I was not a leader.
In fact, I had struggled to be a leader my entire life leading up to that very moment. I rarely ever even wanted to be. If I’m being honest, nothing really significant changed soon afterward. I continued to live my life fairly passively. I didn’t fully own up to God’s calling, I just simply followed my life where it took me.
A teaching job practically fell into my lap after years of pursuing the healthcare field (at the time, I had been applying to medical school), and I jumped on it. It started out as a job to pay the help pay the bills while I decide how to move forward in healthcare, but I got very comfortable. I was offered a career as a teacher making decent pay and began seriously considering it.
((Disclaimer: There is nothing wrong with being a teacher. Teachers are arguably some of our best assets in society and we do not always appreciate them nearly enough. I pray that being honest about the fact that I got a job because I knew someone and had a science degree doesn’t take away the due pride of a teacher reading this who worked hard to be where they are.))
Anyway, my wife recognized that I was settling for comfort when I knew God put healthcare on my heart, and gently reminded me of that. It was my incredible wife and help-meet that encouraged, motivated, and lead me to pursue nursing. She looked into it, did her research, and set me up appointments with counselors so I could meet the deadlines to take pre-requisite courses. I cannot take credit for me being where I am today, not even a little bit. Without my wonderful, Godly wife, I’d probably still be working within my comfort zone, making a decent living, and avoiding His call.
I’m not proud of that. I’m just being honest.
I have recognized more of my weakness and brokenness in the past couple of years than I have ever in my entire life. In falling to my knees before my LORD, broken and weak, I have finally found my strength, purpose, and identity. In praying for God to bring out the gifts in me that He called me to exhibit, I found the peace and joy that is only found in Him, and a true desire to be a better man and servant leader.
And then, strange things started happening.
My school, my church, and workplace began calling me to leadership positions that humbled and terrified me more than they flattered me. People even started asking me to lead prayer before tests at school and during mission trips, and I couldn’t help but think to myself…
“Do these people realize who they are talking to? I must be the worst and least equipped out of everyone here.”
To give you a little insight as to why this is a big deal, let me tell you about the first time ever that I was asked to pray. It was before a meal. I hesitated for so long that the person who asked me eventually just lead the prayer for me. I just couldn’t do it. I was not willing or able to get that vulnerable with people. It was embarrassing! Public prayer has always been (and still kinda remains) such a huge insecurity of mine that I even pray about it. Does that make me crazy? Praying about praying? Maybe a little, but I digress.
I began filling roles that I’d never believe I’d fill if you told me a year ago.
Trust me, it is never my own doing, but by God’s mercy, grace, and strength alone. In the end, it is always God who supplies the courage, faith, and discernment to carry out the tasks ahead of me.
If I remain in God through Jesus, I can bear fruit, but without Him, I can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Left to my own devices, I would be the guy who procrastinates because he can’t prioritize his time, who chooses comfort and safety over the necessary risks associated with true obedience to Christ, and who avoids leadership roles and even social situations in general because of insecurities.
That is the flesh my spirit has to overcome through Jesus everyday.
Why am I saying any of this?
I want to admit that I have more weakness, brokenness, and insecurity than I let people believe, and its only by admitting that and asking God to use me in spite of me that I am able to be the person that I am today.
Remember when Paul asked God to remove his own weaknesses? Jesus’ response challenges and encourages me at the same time:
But [Jesus] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
– 2 Corinthians 12:9
On the outside I may look like I have it together, but
sometimes most of the time I feel like I’m in over my head. I can tell you that I’m a natural-born leader, or that time management comes easy to me, but I would not only be lying but robbing God of the great glory only He is due, and the victory He has provided for me.
In the words of Andy Mineo, I’m just another beggar pointing out where the bread is.
We all have something that we feel like keeps us from being who we are called to be, but the truth remains that God is good, and His power is not hindered by our weakness. He is so much bigger than our brokenness that He uses it for our own good and for His glory.
How great is our God?