Some dear friends of mine are putting together a Women’s Conference here in Silver City (The Brave Conference, April 8-10, 2016). The goal is to discover who God created you to be without fear or insecurity. I’m excited to be involved in this, and I am preparing myself through prayer and reflection.
I got to witness bravery in Xander this weekend. He went roller skating for the first time. Watching other kids zipping around the rink, he wobbled on his own sets of wheels. As he took risks in this kind of movement, he fell hard, his considerable height and mass making it more like an adult hitting the concrete instead of a child. Both the pain and the feelings of failure brought intense reactions in him. I saw so much bravery in him as he continued to try even when I asked if he’d like to stop and as he calmed himself down while still feeling the ache and embarrassment. His desire to skate overcame his fear of hurting and looking foolish. That is how I define bravery!
This has challenged me to think about what it means for me to be brave for Christ. See, being brave doesn’t mean doing dangerous things- that’s being reckless. It doesn’t mean doing things that are scary to others- that’s just being different. Bravery is not letting fear get in the way of what is most important. To think of being brave for Christ, I have to think about what terrifies me.
Probably first among my fears is insignificance. I grew up in a Christian home, went to Christian schools, love Jesus bunches, and have learned so much about Him. All this has equipped me for Kingdom work. I want to make a difference for Christ in the world! The lie that I believe is that I’m squandering the good investment by not doing enough, not being significant enough.
It is easy to squelch this fear by jumping into the ministries that don’t scare me at all. Throw some VBS at me, baby! Somebody needs a meal brought to them? I’m all over that! What takes bravery, however, is to not volunteer. If I am not involved in something, I might miss that big spiritual accomplishment that would define my life’s ministry. If I went on that mission trip, someone’s life might have been forever changed! If I gave out care packages to the homeless, I could impact thousands of lives! Cleaning the home of someone in distress might communicate to my entire community what the love of God looks like! I’m not for a moment saying that those things are not important and you shouldn’t do them. I’m saying if I’m not called to them right now, volunteering for them would only be my human way of managing my fear of insignificance.
Jesus talked exactly about the fear of insignificance. In Luke 14, he had noticed that everyone at a dinner was worried about not getting a significant place.
7When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8“When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests.
So he told people to take the insignificant places.
11For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Pushing myself into every ministry opportunity is just gonna get me humbled, not give the glory to God. Whenever we do things to “handle” our fears instead of taking them to Him and trusting Him to guide us through them, we are preparing ourselves to run in circles. God is calling me to patiently wait, giving Him my fear of insignificance, for Him to direct me into the specific ministries He has for me. It is then that I will best be able to give Him glory- which is always really what I want to define my life’s ministry.