I didn’t want to do it. But at the same time I did want to. Have you ever had those moments? When you feel called to do something, but that something is outside of your comfort zone? In the grand scheme of things, this calling of mine is relatively small. Writing about my walk with Jesus. It doesn’t require me to move across the world, adopt orphans, sell all of my possessions, or spend time away from my family. But even so, it’s extremely important. This is about God, not something to be taken lightly.
When the possibility of writing first entered my mind, my gut reaction was, “No way! I’m not qualified!” My pastor was quick to remind me that the disciples weren’t exactly qualified either. They were simple fishermen, and one was even a tax collector. Gasp! (Should I mention that taxes happen to be my profession as well?) The disciples didn’t qualify for the “scholarly” crowd. Yet Jesus chose them to do the most important job on the planet.
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
~Acts 4:13 (NIV)
Even though I know Jesus is with me, I still tend to shy away from certain assignments, under the assumption that I’m not qualified. Sometimes, after a particularly bad week, I don’t feel qualified to walk through the church doors, let alone share my journey with others as if I have any answers at all.
Looking back now, I can see that this experience shined a light on something that was lurking beneath the surface. An old familiar feeling had emerged – fear. It used to fuel my people-pleasing tendencies, but I thought I was past that. I’m focusing on God now. So why was fear pushing its way back into my life, getting in the way of my calling?
One of my favorite mentors, Jennie Allen, shared a confession at the IF:Gathering a few weeks ago that pointed me in the right direction. Perhaps I’m afraid because instead of trying to please people, I am now trying to please God. It doesn’t sound like a bad thing on the surface, but it creates an enormous amount of pressure. It creates room for confusing serving God with trying to be God. Of course trying to be God creates fear! I will never measure up to Him. But the truth is that He doesn’t expect me to. He created a way out of the chase for perfection.
But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in Him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with Himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where He always wanted us to be. And He did it by means of Jesus Christ.
~Romans 3:23-24 (MSG)
That pure gift is why I am able to write about this journey and share it with others. I’m not qualified on my own. Jesus did it for me. For all of us. Through His death on the cross, we are now in right standing with God. Qualified to evangelize, in whatever way He calls us. Through leading study groups, raising my children to know Him, writing a blog, sharing a Bible verse on Facebook, inviting people to church or even just to dinner – the list goes on and on. And the most powerful way of all – leading by the example of how we live our lives as Christians.
Too often we shy away from sharing Jesus with others because of fear. Fear of what they might think. Fear of not doing it right. Fear that we’re not holy, so we’re not qualified. But I can assure you, the best lessons I’ve learned have come from watching mentors who are struggling to figure it out just as I am. Like Jennie Allen did on the IF stage in front of hundreds of thousands of people – the ones who can admit when they stumble and are willing to share it so we all can learn from it.
So I challenge you, and me, and all of us – don’t wait until you’re perfect to share Jesus with the world. Share your imperfections now, so we can all see how Jesus qualifies you, so that we might believe that He qualifies us, too. So that others can find the courage to stand up with you.