Too young. Too old. Too immature. Too mature. Too shy. Too bold. Too quiet. Too loud. Too reserved. Too talkative. Too poor. Too rich. Too colloquial. Too sophisticated. Too uncultured. Too cultured. Too spiritual. Too worldly. Too diplomatic. Too blunt. Too weak. Too strong. Too cold. Too warm. Too polite. Too rude. Too lax. Too strict. Too hopeful. Too realistic. Too unqualified. Too qualified. Too sheltered. Too exposed. Too complaisant. Too argumentative.
Too this. Too that….
Do these words strike something in you? Do they sound too familiar?
In my lifetime I’ve probably heard almost every single one used to describe myself at one time or another. While there have been times where some were accurate, there have also been many more times where they were so far from the truth. Where they were nothing more that the enemy’s attempt to use someone’s word to cause me to feel unqualified for the place I was was in.
No matter what field or career you find yourself in, these words can be terribly crippling if you allow them a place in your heart. In ministry ESPECIALLY, these words seem to all linger around anyone who’s served in ministry for any considerable amount of time. For me, I can’t count the times I’ve heard these words personally, or the number of times I’ve heard them about my parents and even my pastor. My parents served in the local church when I came into this world, and then before I turned one, they had moved away from their hometown and became senior pastors of a church in North Carolina. I had no choice in the matter, I was born into a pastor’s home to grow up a pastor’s kid regardless of what I may or may not have wanted. I was thrown into one of the most amazing and most horrible positions in life, a PK. A pastor’s kid is just like any other child, except people take out their anger and frustration with the pastor on his family and kids. Its a low-blow, an evil device, but used quiet regularly none the less. As you grow up and start maturing, you’re entrusted with responsibilities. These responsibilities are never given to you because you could actually be qualified, or even remotely good at them, they’re simply a fringe benefit of being the pastor’s kid and he’s just too blind to see your shortcomings, or so they say. Then you come of age, where you could choose a different path, a majority of PK’s and Minister’s Kids do. Despite all the negative experiences, despite all the hurtful ways “Christians” and congregants treat you. Despite all the stereotypes. Despite all the bad…. I decided to follow the call I knew was on my life. Even though many in my life saw me, and sometimes still do, as nothing more than a kid who benefited from her parents’ position of authority, my Heavenly Father saw me as the person He called, the person He set apart, the person He positioned, the person He trained, the person He QUALIFIED.
It has taken me some time to get to a place where I fully realize that people and their opinions are simply that, people. They are imperfect human beings who can be rude, hurtful, and unkind just as much as they can be compassionate, loving, and kind. People will disappoint you and if you purely seek their approval and acceptance, you may have a season of popularity. A season of success. But it can all go away as quickly as it came, and you will be a disappointment to yourself. BUT, when you choose to only be concerned with the approval and acceptance of God, then you will find perfect peace in everything life throws at you. And in that, in realizing who HE qualified you to be, you will find staying power. You will find yourself qualified to stand through all the tests, storms, and battles that life brings. You will find that in spite of it all, you can pray for those who “despitefully use you.” (Luke 6:28) That you can stand in the place or the pulpit He’s called you to, free from all fear! And in that you become truly qualified to run your race!
When you find the criticism of others weighs more on your feeling qualified or not for the place you’re standing, open up your Bible and reflect on the person you see in the perfect mirror of the Word!
Called. Qualified. Anointed. Appointed. Chosen. Sought out. Planted. Raised up. Equipped. Accepted. Righteous. Wise. New. Heir. Joint Heir. Blessed. Free. Bold as a Lion. Strong, Courageous. Full of Love. Holy. Blameless. Predestined. Preordained. Promised. Alive. Joy. Confident. Complete. Fully Supplied. Loved.
THAT is who you are and so much MORE!
“For if any one listens but does not obey, he is like a man who carefully looks at his own face in a mirror. Although he has looked carefully at himself, he goes away, and has immediately forgotten the sort of man he is. But he who looks closely into the perfect Law—the Law of freedom—and continues looking, he, being not a hearer who forgets, but an obedient doer, will as the result of his obedience be blessed.”
James 1:23-25, WEY