Seven months ago I stepped off my career track to become an intern. I’m 32, and let me tell you, my life looks nothing like I thought it would.
Intern. Honestly, it bothered me anytime that lowly moniker slipped out of someone’s mouth.
Hello, pride and insecurity.
When my job title changed, along with my stable income stream, I suddenly felt less than, like I lost my sense of self.
Why does our culture put so much weight on things that are temporary, things like job titles and salaries that can vanish in an instant?
These last seven months have taught me that it’s only when my identity is rooted in Christ that I’ll find true security.
Jesus says: I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. (Matt. 15:5 MSG)
We are here to live abundant, fruitful lives. The world tells us to accumulate status and wealth, but Jesus came to show us a better way.
The way of Jesus is abundant and adventurous, yes, but also risky and, at times, rocky. God doesn’t promise us trouble-free lives.
As I’ve been walking, and stumbling, these last seven months, I’ve learned a few things that I want to share with you.
MONEY. It’s pretty important, right? I became accustomed to that direct deposit at the end of the month, every month. I was earning a living, and it felt good.
So when I learned about the residency program and the requirement to raise monthly support, I was shocked, to say the least. I had never heard of such a thing.
This requirement was a sticking point for several weeks. I just wasn’t sure I could get on board. But I eventually realized that if God was leading me in this direction, he would take care of the details. I just needed to trust.
Guys, God provides! It’s been a humbling process to raise support, but I have been blown away by God’s generosity through his people, perfectly timed gifts, and other opportunities. In Matthew 6, Jesus reminds us:
Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?Matthew 6:26-27
Man, I love to be comfortable! Give me a coffee, a cozy blanket, and my dog on my lap, and I’m content for hours.
It’s easy to stay put in our little corner of comfort — whether it’s a seat on the couch, a job, a relationship, a location, or even a state of mind.
But how will we grow? How will we produce fruit by playing it safe and sitting on the sidelines?
I’m learning it’s important to put myself in positions where I need God to come through. That’s what faith is. It’s an action.
Afraid to tithe 10 percent of your income? To start that side hustle? To initiate that tough conversation? To step on stage and speak in front of an audience?
Pray. And then do it anyway!
Here’s a promise I preach to myself often:
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…Ephesians 3:20
We can do hard things while we practice walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. But it won’t happen when we stay in our comfort zones and cling to some semblance of control.
It’s tempting for me to look around at others and compare myself — whether it’s my life stage or my abilities. So this verse has become precious to me recently:
Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.2 Corinthians 3:5
Working in church ministry has been so far outside my comfort zone. I’ve been put in situations that have pushed me — praying out loud, preaching on a stage, planning ministry-oriented activities and events — and left me critiquing my performance.
It feels good to feel competent. I want to be good at what I do. Don’t we all?
But what if we are called to work out of our weaknesses? To embrace and, even, enjoy. In 2 Corinthians, the apostle Paul talks about a “thorn” in his flesh sent to keep him from becoming proud. He begged God to take it away three times. And God responded:
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.2 Corinthians 12:9
In the next verse, Paul writes words that are so counter to our human nature…
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecution, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.2 Corinthians 12:10
We serve a POWERFUL God. And his ways are just plain different than our ways. Backwards, really. (Look no further than Jesus on the cross.)
I’m not competent on my own to do what I’m doing right now. But I believe I am called to this program, so I’m reminding myself that my qualification, my competence, comes from my Creator.
The same goes for you. Wherever you are now, or whatever God is calling you to. You can bank on his power and strength.
And here’s some really great news: It’s NOT about our performance. The work is already finished. (Again, Jesus on the cross.)
These last seven months have been some of the hardest yet most formative of my life. It’s not crystal clear where it’s all leading yet, but I’m trusting God will show me each step.
If you’re still with me down here, THANK YOU for following along on this crazy weird journey. I want to share what I’m learning in hopes that it helps you in some small way.
Now it’s your turn. Tell me, what has God been teaching you lately? I really want to know!
I’m excited to announce that I’m leading a class at Christ Community Church!
Starting March 14, we’ll be going through Seamless, a Bible study written by Angie Smith. It covers the people, places, and promises of the Bible, tying them together into the greater story of scripture.
If you’re a lady in the Omaha area, consider this your personal invitation! The class meets Thursday evenings, 6:30-8 p.m. Learn more and register here: https://www.cccomaha.org/wbs
Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash