Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Clarity

First of all, thank you so much for my presents! I was very surprised and grateful for the beautiful plate but mostly for your precious sweet words on my cards. What a blessing you are to me!!! I will cherish them.

Because I did not want to take too much time away from others in sharing, I don't know that I made myself completely clear with what I shared today.

So, for those of you not there and for those of you confused, let me explain what I meant more thoroughly here.

Two years ago, the position for leading Seeds was open. I had just stepped down from being the MOPS coordinator. I rested for a couple months but really wanted to remain some part of the Women's Ministry at Hope and also be in leadership. So, I prayed - quickly - and jumped right into the position.

Shortly after I took the position, I started to question whether I heard God correctly and if I had jumped too quickly into something that he was not calling me to do but rather something I wanted to do out of obligation or pride.

So, this was about 2 or 3 months into leading that I started to look for a way out. Not because of my time with any of you but because of doubt in myself to handle the job. I prayed, wrote in my journal and shared all the reasons with God why I was not the right person.

Basically, I was scared. I was following in some footsteps of women that had been walking with the Lord for a long time. They were bible teachers, mentors, prayer warriors.

I was a fairly new Christian who had only been in ministry for about 2 years. What could I possibly offer to this group (you) of ladies? I convinced myself that I didn't have much.

Well, I never felt God give me the go to step out of my position from Seeds (until now). As a matter of fact, I felt him clearly saying - "Quit whining and do your job."

Well, maybe not in those words but I finally realized that if I was not called to serve somewhere else then I needed to glorify God in the position I was in.

So, that is what I did. I stopped worrying so much about being all wrapped up in my little kingdom and started focusing on God's kingdom. I started praying that God take the fear away and not the position.

"When we are optimistic about the future, we find the energy to create it." - Erwin McManus, Soul Cravings


Suddenly, leading Seeds and coaching small group leaders changed for me because my perspective changed. With last year's Fall kick-off, I found a new confidence and strength that only came from giving myself over to God. Giving up my insecurities and fears and leaning into God's all-sufficient being( 2 Cor 1:9). Turning away from the dark lies that the enemy would love for me to believe and toward the bright light of a God that loves me. To believe the truth he has written for me. For you.

I'm pretty sure now that it was all part of God's plan and my initial jump was me following his lead.
Often that is how God and I dance.
He says "Jump!"
I do.
I FREAK OUT.
He calms.
I freak out some more.
He shows up over and over again until finally I give it over to him and let him lead.


As I wrap up this position, it is so I can take yet another position that I feel greatly under-qualified for. I have found myself again asking God, " Are you sure I'm the right one?"

I've jumped. I'm freaking out. He is calming. I have no choice but to give it over to God and let him lead me again. On paper - my resume, so to speak says that I am under-qualified. But you see, I am qualified through Him! The old saying, He doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called - it's true! Exodus 40:15, Colossians 1:12 NASB, NIV or my favorite translation of this verse in the Message...
...It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. Colossians 1:12

The passage that I referred to today was 2 Corinthians 3:1-6. One of my pastors read this to me the other day and I was reminded that our "resume" is not about our education or our background necessarily but how we share the life changing message of Jesus Christ. As Christ-Followers , we are all qualified in this way. Just share what Jesus has done in your life with others.

I'm know that God has used me to touch people's lives. I'm pretty sure that he has used me to help grow leaders and to help people realize their gifts. What an honor! I just want him to use me some more. I never ever want to say, "I'm just too busy to be serving right now. " Going back to that same passage in 2 Corinthians - I don't say this to boast, just as Paul did not mean to boast, but to say that without God and without what I have to tell you about my Jesus -- my gifts would just amount to nothing.

I also spoke of some events that took place in my life this past year that have been difficult. Thank you for your concern. I have shared the situation with many trusted friends and have been working through it with them and God. God is faithful and good and like only he can do - he has taken these yucky situations and is making good of them.

There were days, I did not know how to go on. If I ever felt like quitting before, I definitely did during these times. But I kept serving just one step at a time - just like Su said today - the path right in front of you lit up to take just the next step.

My lesson learned here?
Life will never slow down.
It will seldom be easy.
Serve your amazing God now.
Use the gifts he has given you to further His kingdom right here on Earth - now.
Don't know what you gifts are? Find out.
Try this, try that.
Just serve HIM.
You will figure it out.
You will grow in your relationship with him and you WILL be blessed.

I want you to know that I have been truly blessed by watching you each grow, growing with you and your friendship. I will miss you very much!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written Janel! Thank you for sharing your journey through leadership – it really is inspiring. I know God is going to bless you wherever He plants you!

I had the neatest picture in my head yesterday as I thought of all the changes coming up – it was a picture of a fruiting tree. God was taking cuttings from the branches that were bearing the most fruit and transplanting them to new trees to bring fruit there. The empty spaces left behind enabled His light to hit branches that had been hidden so that they too could begin to bear fruit. I am so proud of all the women I’ve had the honor to study and serve with – it is so amazing to see what God will do with them all.

Thank you for your leadership - we will miss you!

- Julie

Janel@Dandelion Dayz said...

That is a beautiful picture, Julie and exactly what is happening! Thank you for posting that comment!

Deb Browning said...

I couldn't be at the brunch yesterday so thank you for this post. I can't begin to tell you how much your leadership has meant to me this past year. You always had just the right words of encouragement right when I needed them (I don't even think you realize some of the times that they were almost like God was speaking right to me thru you). You were so kind, wise, and understanding at a time when I really needed that. You are an awesome leader, speaker, friend, and sister in Christ. I will miss you SO MUCH!!!! Thank goodness for your blog so I can still feel connected!

Janel@Dandelion Dayz said...

Deb - don't make me cry now!!

Speaking of gifts, you have no idea of how many times YOU spoke to me before you played a song that just seemed to touch the right place in my heart. And oh - your smile was always there even when times were painful for you. You are a true example of finding Joy in God. Thank you.