It’s your move.

I was in the gym this morning for the first time in YEARS. I was overwhelmed by the size of the gym, the muscular people and my inability to even find a place to stretch. As I was fumbling through elliptical machines and treadmills, I heard the quiet voice of God remind me that every part of my life should bring glory to Him for the purpose of making disciples – even at the gym, my purpose is to make disciples. My first thought was…Not in this huge gym, where I don’t know ANYONE! I hate when people talk to me at the gym – especially while I’m trying to work out. I don’t want to have to become “one of those people”. This is impossible.
So I prayed. I prayed that Jesus would open a door. If He was serious about this disciple business, then HE would have to make the first move because I was completely intimidated by this massive gym with sweaty, focused, and headphone laden people.

As soon as I walked into the locker room after my workout, my jaw almost hit the ground. A dear church friend from 12 years ago was sitting on the bench looking like she almost expected me to walk through the door. We chit-chatted and she proceeded to introduce me to many other women in the locker room. I immediately knew this was God answering my prayer. He made his move. He showed me how important this is to him. He comforted me by letting me know he has me in his hands and I’m right where I belong.

Now it’s my move. Back to the gym tomorrow…

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Purpose over Position

Mark and I have had the pleasure of being worship pastors at our small church plant for the past 3 years, but yesterday, we announced to our church family that we will be leaving.

Leaving where? I don’t know.

What I do know is that God has clearly called us to take a step of faith, and we are answering that call. Since we made the decision, we are seeing the sanctifying hand of God in our lives. More love, more joy, more patience…and more adoration of the Father. We need Him. We need Him to guide us, to speak to us, to hold our hand. We are driven even closer into relation with Him. We lay down the title of “worship pastor” that has been our identity for so long in exchange for a closer look at what our true identity in Christ is. Jesus is showing us that his calling is not wrapped up in position or titles, but in the simple command to make disciples. We can do that from our living room, around the dining table, at work, on the street, sitting on our patio.

Pray for us as we seek God for guidance. Until then, we will make disciples. And after that, we will make disciples. We don’t seek position…we seek purpose.

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What’s your talk track?

I’ve been spending the majority of the last 3 years running swiftly away from any sort of “name it, claim it” preaching. Even the “power of positivity” stuff is just not what the Gospel preaches to us. However, it’s important to recognize truth and speak it boldly in your life. It’s not about “thinking positive thoughts”, it’s about cutting out the lies and replacing it with truth. The lies trap us in an identity crisis – we really have no self awareness of who we are and how others view us. We need to know who we are and develop a “talk track” in our mind that builds that up.

Here’s my example from work: I am seen as a leader in my company. I have been chosen with 9 of my colleagues to be developed in an “Emerging Leaders” program. I’ve struggled immensely with this new identity. I don’t see myself has some awesome leader. I still see myself as the receptionist or the assistant that keeps her head low and nose to the grind stone. I have a humble position to help others and I don’t want to be arrogant in thinking I’m more than I am. This is a major identity crisis. Here’s where it becomes a problem for me: While I’m trying not to bother others with my “tasks”, they see me as excluding them from the process. This is because my “tasks” have evolved into major strategic initiatives or programs. I didn’t ask for a leadership position but others must see that in me and now I need to see it in myself and own it.

My talk track used to be: “How can I get this done without bothering anyone? I’m just in a support role. I don’t have the experience to be a leader. I don’t want the scrutiny that comes with leadership. I don’t want to have to take responsbility for other people’s failures. This is too hard.”

Now it is: “How can I ask for help to include others? How can I embrace this new responsibility? How can I bring people together for a common goal? How can I empower others to reach their goals? How can I show someone that they matter and that I care? I have the opportunity to change, influence and impact lives! I’m going to make mistakes along the way, but I’m just getting started.”

We especially believe the lies when it comes to our spiritual identity: I’m a loser, I’m a sinner, God is far from me, God is mad at me, I’m being punished for my sins, I’ll never be able to be free from sin.

Instead, we should be staying: I’m an adopted precious child of the King, He has chosen me to glorify himself, Jesus loves me, Jesus’ grace covers all sin and I don’t have to earn it, my good or bad actions do not affect God’s grace, God is good and loving. God is great and powerful. Sin and death have no hold on me.
Does your “talk track” match your real identity? If not, change it…NOW!

Lesson Learned: Open to Feedback

I consider myself a very open person. I’m willing to share anything you want to know about me. However, I never…ever ask for feedback. I’ll share with you what I think about me, but I don’t really want to know what you think about me. Because of fear, pride, and 100 other reasons.

I recently was exposed to the feedback monster against my will and it bit me pretty hard. I received feedback that cut me to my core. That I’m perceived as cold, uncaring and will plow over anyone to get what I want – OUCH!!!! As much as I don’t think this is reality, it’s someone’s reality about me.

So, what do I do now knowing this harsh reality? I can crumble, become paralyzed, become defensive (which I did all of these things by the way). My mentor helped me analyze this feedback in a positive way and the most important thing I learned was that feedback must have context and you must learn from feedback and MOVE ON! As simple as it sounds, it helped me tremendously to hear this. I need to move on. I need to rely on Jesus for my approval and not what others think about me. I need to treat people with the love of Jesus and take time to get to know who is around me and genuinely care for them. If I’m doing those things then I can rest easily.

The hardest part now will be opening myself up to more feedback. Anyone…?