Spring of 2013 I received a call from a leader at my church asking if I would like to start teaching in our Young Adult Ministry. Now, this is not something my church takes lightly. There are a series of required classes, evaluation of your teaching, etc. It’s intimidating. I hesitantly accepted her invitation while simultaneously scouring my social media pages, deleting inappropriate posts.
Fast forward some time later, one of my co-teachers and I were featured in an article in the church magazine. Mind you, there are 10,000 members at my church. So you can imagine how terrified I was to have thousands of people see me in a magazine talking about “how God called me to ministry.”
In preparation for the article, a series of questions were sent to me to answer for the article. I’ll never forget this particular question:
“What sets you apart from everyone else?”
While I couldn’t answer it right away, I knew there had to be something that made me different. I couldn’t accept the fact that I was the same as everyone else. I didn’t strive to be different; but I felt different. The only problem- I wasn’t acting different.
I had to keep my answer honest! With thousands of people reading this article, I personally knew AT LEAST a hundred, and some knew me VERY well. Well enough to see right through the “churchy” answer I had prepared to give. So, I had to keep it honest and real.
“What makes me different?!”
A few months before this I found myself praying for God to make me more meek, more gentle and submissive. I really wanted to be more low key. My personality is always over the top. I’ll take a joke and run with it like I’m stand-up comedian. I rarely have a filter; although I know when to turn it on and off. I'm loud, my laugh is loud and obnoxious, and somehow I always find something funny at the most inappropriate time. I'm strong, independent. I have a tough exterior and can be a hard nut to crack at times. So I began praying that God would make me quieter and softer, more like my sister.
Around this same time, I attended a revival at a church I’d never been to before in support of some friends who were performing. During alter call, I went up and just lifted my hands and began to pray. I felt defeated because I knew that God was calling me into ministry and I wasn’t ready to accept this call on my life. I knew what that my life at church did not line up with what I was doing behind closed doors.
What makes me qualified?
During the revival I remember standing at the altar and the First Lady, whom I’d never met a day in my life, at a church I’d never attended before, walks up to me and began prophesying. She looked me dead in the eyes and said “You’re very tough. I can see that in you. God wanted me to tell you that he made you like this and it’s okay to be tough. But he’s saying ‘stop being tough with me.’ Don’t be tough with God.”
Whoa! Let’s pause for a minute. I’ve never audibly heard God speak to me. But I will tell you this- all this time I had been praying for God to make me soft and meek then here he comes speaking directly to me through a stranger.
I felt like in that moment God reminded me that he calls the least likely people to fulfill his mission. We see evidence of this in Paul’s life. In Ephesians 3:8, Paul describes himself as “less than the least of all the Lord’s people” yet God’s grace was given to him to preach the Gospel.
When God called Moses to lead the chosen people out of exile, Moses’ response to God was “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11 NIV). One chapter prior to Moses being called, he murdered an Egyptian!
So, what sets me apart from everyone else? Nothing; other than I've allowed God to use me, and when I became obedient, he turned my world around. Leviticus 20:26 says “You are to be holy because, I, the Lord, am holy. I have set you apart from all other people to be my very own.”
In her book Uninvited, Lysa Terkeurst says that God “set us apart” not to be mistaken with “set us aside”. So when you feel like you an unlikely candidate to fulfill a task, just remember-
God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.
Thank you for joining me in my journal to Finding Grace…
Enjoy the journey