Friday, January 7, 2011

The Teacher in Me

It was Sunday and we were visiting a town we had lived in previously.  I was sitting in church before the service began reading the bulletin.  And I snapped!  Not visibly mind you, but in my heart I was hurt, very hurt.  I’m quite sure my worship was greatly hindered that day or perhaps non-existent.

The reality of my heart collided with the reality of an event at the church.  There was a women’s retreat planned and I had not been asked to be the speaker.  My heart desperately wants to minister to women.  That was not a new desire.  And at that time my definition of ministry was pretty narrow – speaking.

One of my life lessons is that I need to continue to crucify my sinful nature.  That nature causes me to compare myself with other women.  I am never good enough.  My ministry is never as spiritual or as significant as theirs.  The place where I am most vulnerable is the place of my desire.  Wanting to minister to women is a good desire.  God put it in my heart long ago.  But that desire can also derail me. 

As I was pondering this on a walk one day, I realized my vulnerability displayed itself in primarily two general circumstances.  One circumstance I could almost always count on to bring up my vulnerability was when I was with a group of women with similar hearts to mine … like staff get-togethers for the Navs.  I could count on it, I knew I would compare, I knew I would struggle.  But there were other times when my vulnerability would show itself that caught me off guard, like that Sunday reading the bulletin in church.  There had been no thought ahead of time that day that would have helped me prepare for my sinful reaction. 

It was kind of like school.  Sometimes there are tests.  I know ahead of time that they are coming and I prepare for them.  Sometimes there are quizzes.  I don’t know ahead of time and I can’t prepare.  I need to be ready.  And then to continue the analogy, there are the final exams.  They too can be prepared for.

In my life I believe I am ready for the “final exam”.  I’ve trusted in the work of Jesus on the cross for that.  I’m becoming aware of those  “tests” that I’m walking into and I’m learning to prepare for them.  And I know too that there will continue to be “quizzes” in my life, those things that catch me by surprise.  I’m doing better on them these days too.  As I’m learning my places of vulnerability, the places where my sinful nature displays itself, I’m also learning to prepare for them by reviewing the truth of the Scriptures.  The truth is gradually becoming my default.  It feels good.

As a bonus, as I'm learning to be content with where God has me, ministry is happening.  Go figure.  :) 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely …”.  Hebrews 12:1

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”.  Matthew 11:28, 30


  1. I love your blog. Often you will help me see a verse in a new way (or make me think, "That verse was NOT in the Bible before today"). You're not standing at a podium with a microphone, but you're speaking to me. :)

  2. Thanks Elizabeth .... Or are you Beth?

    You are so encouraging to me. And I'm growing. I know standing at a pulpit is only one application of ministry. YOU are ministering to me with your encouraging words.