Have you ever had the thought, “I wish I was in full-time ministry”?
I’m not great at compartmentalization. If I am passionate about someone or something, I let it consume me. I want to pursue that passion with every fiber within me, and I don’t want anything to get in the way. Of course, I have other responsibilities, like a full-time job, a home, and a family. But sometimes when I am at church and in the presence of God and in community with fellow believers, I wish I could stay in that place of ministry and that attitude of worship full-time. I want my time and my life to be a reflection of Christ and His love. I want to share what God has done in my life with you and with others so that they can experience His love as well. But – because there’s always a caveat – remember my last post when I talked about being ready for God to refine me? I mentioned that once I finally submitted to that refinement, God began to work in my heart about some things that weren’t so nice?
Yeah, that. It’s time for that. Happy New Year.
I’ve been praying about the various ministries that I’m involved in for a long time and letting God know about the afore mentioned passion for spreading His love to His people. I also expressed my frustration to Him that I didn’t think He was answering some prayers fast enough or providing a definitive answer. (Yeah I know, the audacity of this mere mortal). In that particular season of refinement, God said, “Oh Megan, the reason I’ve not answered that prayer is because you are not a hospitable person. You’re prideful and arrogant and frankly, not approachable.”
And before you tell me that was the enemy’s voice and not God’s, let me clarify. It wasn’t mean. It wasn’t a feeling of negativity. It was a solid, honest answer to an earnest, seeking question. I asked for clarity, and God clarified that before I can move forward toward the woman of faith that He wants me to be, I needed a heart-check. There are things – pride, arrogance, angry-resting-face – that I need to work on if I’m expected to grow in my faith.
And I am prideful. I am arrogant. I know these things; these are not new character flaws, but I’ve never been willing to take ownership of them before now. Frankly, I don’t like that these are parts of my character, but I’m working on them. I realize now that I needed to be in the right spiritual place where God could call out some behavior mods and I wouldn’t crumple into a negative headspace. I needed to be willing to let God move when I asked Him to move, AND be receptive to the answer He gave.
Hospitable. This one is taking a lot of my energy, I’ll be honest. By nature, I am a socially-anxious, introverted person. I am an observer. I am comfortable being alone, which is way weird for some people. I like being behind the scenes. I’m kind of awkward and nerdy and I like the quirks in my personality. But I’m also guarded, because I have a past filled with tense relationships and a lot of betrayal. I worked very, very hard to get to a place where I could trust people after being hurt, and I was a 00’s emo-wannabe, so I built a lot of walls that I’m now needing to tear down. I was the definition of unapproachable because it was self-preservation. It had nothing to do with other people and everything to do with the pre-determined scripts running inside my head. So when God brought those words to mind – inhospitable and unapproachable – my first reaction was, “Oh crap. You’re right.” How can I be effective in pointing people to Christ if my attitude, demeanor, or ARF (angry-resting-face) are telling a different story? It’s simple enough, yet complicated. It’s an ongoing process, as most things are, but I’ve been actively working toward hospitality and approachability since last fall.
So what does that look like? For me, it means literally opening my home and inviting people over into my safe space. It means letting things go, embracing the imperfections of human relationships, and trying to make the first move towards new friendships and relationships. It means actively remembering to smile more (ARF is a curse) and inconveniencing myself to make others feel more comfortable. But you know, the darndest thing is happening – it’s getting easier. I’m probably never going to be Ms. Charisma, but if I can be someone else’s safe space, that’s enough. If I can be someone’s friend, that’s enough. If I can share openly with people about my struggles and be honest about this journey and invite you and others along with me – in person, not just in this online space – that’s enough. That’s what Jesus did anyway. He made friends. He invited people along. He shared life and meals and His ministry with others and look how that impacted the people who knew Him. So if God in His gentle, Fatherly wisdom tells me that losing the pride and arrogance and picking up hospitality and approachability will help me become more like Jesus, then I’m going to try my best. At the end of the day, that’s what it comes back to: Jesus. None of this is worth anything if it wasn’t for Jesus.
The truth is, friend, we already are in full-time ministry. Everything we do points somewhere, whether it’s at Christ or not. As much as we like to believe that no one really cares what we do or say or how we live, the truth is, someone does. Someone, somewhere is watching to see how a Christ-follower lives. How many people have we impacted, for good or not-so-good, without even knowing it?
I’d like to encourage you this week to ask God the hard questions. Sure, no one likes to face their shortcomings, but I believe that God honors an honest, truth-seeking heart. We could all use a heart-check from time-to-time. It’s a new year, so now’s as good a time as any. What does my pastor say every year, throughout the year?
“Your future spiritual life will be different when your present spiritual life is different.”
So friend, pray for what needs to be different in your life, and your ministry.