When I met Stephen Brasington for the very first time, he asked me if I knew what God had told him when he was called to be a pastor. I told him that I did not know, but that I wanted to hear. He told me that God told him, "Tell them about Me." Simple. Concise. And I can hear it in my head when God wakes me up at 4:00AM and tells me to write about Him. So here goes...
In week 3 of Growth Track at MyChurch, we played some games and took a couple of assessments to learn more about our personality types and what our spiritual gifts are. If you've never done either of these, I highly recommend them both. I have done the DISC thing over the years for one organization or school or another so that one was no shock to me. I think most people can look at me after five minutes and guess that I'm somewhere between an "I" and a "D". I have gone back and forth over the years as my life has evolved and my personality has grown, but my spiritual gifts...looking back...have always been a part of me.
One of the things that Christy Murphy told us before we started the assessment was that your spiritual gifts don't "change" you because God knew what He was going to give you before you were formed in the womb. But when you accept Christ into your life, He "unlocks" those gifts and finds ways to allow you to use them for His glory. That's what this story is about.
When I was living life without Christ I got accused of always trying to "one-up" people all the time. People would tell me a story or about something that was going on in their life and I would offer up a similar story about something that had happened to me. When someone pointed out to me that I was doing that, I recognized the truth in the accusation and I tried to stop doing it. (Sometimes the devil works by using that kernel of truth doesn't he??!)
I was saved when I was 16 years old. Baptized at Fairview Baptist Church in the fall of my junior year in high school in the same water as my mama. I have highlighted in my Bible in bright green, passages about spiritual gifts. They're highlighted so I know that at some point Brother Dallas Latham talked about them and I paid enough attention to color them in. I even memorized what the interesting ones were so the concept was not foreign to me.
Imagine my surprise though when the assessment revealed that my spiritual gifts are "Showing Mercy" and "Pastoring/Shepherding"! Showing mercy I can live with but Woah... PASTORING??? Well we'll get to that in a minute.
My life has been shall we say...flexible. I have moved so many times my kids think we are part gypsy. I have worked in so many places that I joke all the time about being that guy from the TV show "The Pretender" because you can put me into any work environment and I'll just do the job. I am the ultimate temp. And I gotta tell you, that is HARD for a girl with OCD!!!
Another thing that I realized after talking to Christy tonight though, is that God is leveraging my life in some really cool ways in order to make the best use of my spiritual gifts!! I mean really REALLY cool ways. Why else would He call me to be a doula (and eventually a midwife) which is like the end all be all of being an empathetic person who guides, instructs, and assumes responsibility for the spiritual instruction in a person's life. (In other words...no danger of me becoming a preacher. Whew!!)
Seriously though, God has used some wacky moves to put me where I need to be when I need to be there. He took me out of a relatively stable place at one job and sent me to another job that looked like it was going to be right up my alley...for THREE DAYS. In hindsight, I would have hated the job (and of course HE knew that) but He needed me to be there to make friends with a lady who worked there so that a few weeks later when she walked through the doors at MyChurch (for the first time!) on the heels of some devastating news, that I would be the first person she saw and I would be able to hug her through hearing the message that she needed to hear that day.
At my birthday dinner, my dear friends were discussing these exotic locations they had visited and these cool experiences they had had and I just kept saying, "I've never done that." The awesome thing is, even though my existence has pretty much been localized to this area, I've been right where I was supposed to be. God hasn't called me to go to foreign lands (for which I am eternally grateful!) but He has allowed me to work with two amazing ministries that help orphans in India and Africa.
God doesn't give us anything harder than we can handle if we rely on Him. The trick is to stop asking "WHY" and just get ourselves out of the way and let Him do His work. If a girl with very little life experience outside of Columbus, GA and a nasty case of OCD can do it, so can you.