In April, I shared about living between tensions in my faith walk. The latest tension: I am gifted, but it is only through God’s power that I can do amazing things to build His kingdom. Having to toe the line between understanding my worth and understanding that God does the work through His power has been tough.
I have found myself on either extreme over the years. Either I am frozen by the fear that I am not enough or I see the dope things God has done with me and begin to think, “I got this!”
For many years, I have struggled to see my own worth. I trace it back to feeling like the weirdo in my family. My siblings often remarked on how different I was from them. It wasn’t a positive acknowledgment of my uniqueness, and it made me feel like I was somehow inherently wrong.
As well, if we (as children) brought home an A, there was no celebration. My parents asked where was the plus. Nothing seemed to be good enough. While celebration was far and few between, criticisms were par for the course. I understand now that my parents were pushing us to be the best we could be, though their methods were not best practice.
These themes in my childhood instilled a central question: What is wrong with me?
Since I uncovered those roots, I have been on a journey to find belief in my own beauty, creativity, and brilliance to bounce back from the damage of the messages I received in childhood. I have learned myself; what I am good at and what I am not, what I love, and what I don’t. I have embraced me without reservation. I have refused to discount, stifle, or reject any part of me. As a result, I have fallen in love with who I am.
This gave me the confidence to go out and slay, so when God told me that it is not my gifts and talents that make me usable to Him, it threw me off at first.
That Ain’t Kingdom
We are socialized to believe life is a battle of the fittest. Only the strong survive. Your ability is what qualifies you, but that is not a kingdom principle. The Bible shows us that God does the most through those who are considered the least so the glory will not be mistakenly attributed to the vessel.
It confused me because I had just discovered my worth and accepted my anointing and talent, and now he was asking me to recognize none of that matters.
Confusing as it was, it gave me peace. Often, I am afraid to do some of the big things God is calling me to do because I fear I am not adequate enough for the task. How could I set others free?
Shoot, half the time, I am in the dark myself, and my heart has only recently started to heal. How can I set others free when I find myself bound by my own thoughts at times?
Knowing that God hasn’t chosen me because He expects me to build His Kingdom has relieved a great deal of pressure. Knowing that He has chosen me because I am not capable of the task until He works through me and that He will work through me, that gave me peace.
Where’s the Middle?
Finding the middle in the tension is important because God doesn’t want proud people who steal the spotlight. He also doesn’t want us to have a spirit of self-deprecation or low self-esteem. After all, we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
It means being a plain clay jar (2 Cor. 4:7). If all people see is my capability and talent, the cross will be overshadowed by me.
Instead, He is asking that I hide my life behind the cross so that when He uses me, people will see Him alone. “You are special and gifted, but this is not about you,” He said. “Not the most talented or gifted, but the most willing to be used. Those are the ones I can do the most with.”
He needs people who know they are special because He made them that way, but are humble enough to understand His glory shines best through crack clay jars.
Drop me a line in the comments about the tensions you live between. I’d love to hear from you. Other readers may be exactly where you are and need to hear how you manage your tensions.