Who I Was Not
Not so long ago, in a galaxy not too far away, my life was consumed with being who I was not. The year was 2009, the galaxy was Wisconsin, because if you have ever been there, you know Wisconsin is a whole different galaxy, the place was New Tribes Bible Institute. It feels like a whole lifetime since. Anyway, it was there where my passion for theology began and my desire to do ministry planted as little, baby, seed. ……..Sorry, I love listening to Bob Dylan, but had to change the guy, as for some reason he was really disrupting my thought pattern…. Being at New Tribes one of the ministry opportunities you hear about, A LOT, is tribal missions…and good for them! They are a school and missions organization whose M.O. is to reach unreached people groups, they should be plugging tribal missions! It was here however, that I began to see tribal missions as the pinnacle of Christian ministry, and no matter what it took, I was going to be a tribal missionary. If you know me, or if you were to ask anyone who does, you would know that I am, in no way, a tribal missionary. I could not even play one on television! That did not stop me from pursuing the idea. It was after my first summer of working at Village Creek Bible Camp, I realized I was not a tribal missionary. I could barely handle the conditions and counseling kids, in the civilization of Iowa, there was no way I could handle ministering to tribal people, far removed from societ, on the other side of the world. As that passion died, and new one was born, life in the midst of death.
Who Are You?
My point of telling the above story is that, because I spent so much time pursuing being something I was not, I wasted time that could have been invested into becoming who I was. We all do this at some point, just look around, you see people doing it all the time. You can see it in smalls things, like the clothes they wear, or the media they enjoy. People also do this through the majors they choose, ministries they work with, careers they work for. Being what you are not is something many do, and I think few ever realize. People go there whole lives pursuing what they are not and then wonder, why they are so bored, why there life is so dry. For example there are people I know, who in their mind, make particular ministries the pinnacle of Christian service, and on the outside you see it is not their gifting, yet the pursue it all the same. They are good, even talented, at so many other things, but they ignore the gifts they have, for the ones they lack. It seems as if this is the case for many people who pursue ministry. There are people like that in every field of ministry, those who forsake the gifts God has given them to use, for gifts in which He has not. Just because you are a believer, does not automatically give you the ability to serve in whatever role, in whatever ministry, you desire to do so. As I stopped grasping for the gifts I wanted, I was able to take hold on the gifts I had.
Be who you are. I do not mean this in the secular sense of giving into whatever you wanted, saying “F” you and be whatever you want to be, but be who you are in both Christ, and who God has made you. Even in ourselves though, God has made us specifically who we are, and that should be completely discounted. We are not a mystery to God, He has made us with our strengths, in every good day, just as He as allowed us our weaknesses, in every bad. Paul the Apostle, said in 1 Corinthians 12:8 “18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as He chose.” God was no haphazardly throwing us together like patchwork people when He created us, but He made us, all with a specific design, in order that we would function properly among the body. By neglecting the gifts He has given us, for the gifts which He has not, it is as if we are saying, “God does not know what He is doing, I know better, so I am going to do otherwise.” Thinking we know better than God, often shows how little we actually do.
And To Top It All Off
Think about the times in a day that you stand in a line. How do you think about yourself in that line? People who are their selves will stand as their selves in that line, but people who stand in that line trying to be someone else, will stand in that line as if they are someone else. What do I mean by that? When I get up in the morning I dress as Chris Cantrell, and they times I do not, the times I try to dress like someone else, I know it, I feel it, and it is not quite me. One time I took a job where I essentially has to be a salesman. No matter how much I tried, how much I tried to force it, I could not sell things. Part of it because, I worked at a bookstore, and found something fundamentally wrong with coaxing people to purchase a card, which made already overpriced books a little less overpriced, but the major part all, I just was not a salesman. (By the way, do not shop at Books A Million, they store is overpriced, and most of it you can find for a deal online.) Okay, my goal was not to say where I worked, but that pretty much just went out the window. We can try to be what we are not, but we will be bored, and we will be miserable, two definitions that should never be descriptive of our Christian life.Who are you? Are you pursuing the gifts God has given you or are you pursuing what you are not? Do you even know what your gifts are in the first place? Who we desire to be, should be consistent with who God says we are, and as we pursue Him, we will develop, grow, and more effectively use our gifts. Be who you are, but more importantly, be who God wants you to be.