You finally surrendered to the Lord.
Perhaps you finally reached the point in your life where you realized there’s got to be something more to live for.
Or you’ve just made a mess of things, and really haven’t a clue as to how to fix them.
Maybe you just feel so totally alone, and heard about how Jesus will never leave your side (Joshua 1:5) – so you call out to Him in your despair.
Or you’ve been hurt so deeply that you wonder if you’ll ever smile again…
No matter the reason, you know the time has finally come, and not a minute too soon.
Jesus, help me! I believe in you, Lord! Forgive me and use my life for your glory!
Once you’ve prayed and committed your life to God, your heart begins to change. You realize there are many things you used to do which just don’t seem important anymore.
I’m forgiven! I’m loved! I’m feeling comfort and a peace I’ve never known before!
But time passes on. You still love Jesus, but you start feeling a little antsy – wondering what you’re supposed to be doing in your walk of faith. You begin to listen even more closely to your pastor’s sermons for some clue. You tune into your favorite speaker’s podcast, or sit quietly with your open Bible, feeding your soul with God’s words of life.
At church, you see familiar faces who are faithfully serving in a variety of roles like praying with people, welcoming them to the church, working with the children, leading Bible studies, or helping the poor and the needy.
They all look so happy as they go about doing God’s work. So questions start popping into your mind.
God can you use me like that?
You begin to pray more fervently, and it seems as though certain verses keep coming to mind about how Jesus gives us the strength to do “all things” (Philippians 4:13).
Father, do You have a plan for me?
The days pass by, and nothing seems to be happening. Then one day you realize the thoughts in your brain are different now.
Who do I think I am? I can’t serve like those other people! I’m not qualified. I’m a rotten speaker. I don’t feel comfortable shaking hands with people I don’t know. Pray out loud with people? I don’t think so! And I can barely even cook dinner for my family, so how could I help cook a meal for someone who is in need!
Your dreams begin to die a slow death.
God can’t use me. I’m just not made of the right stuff…
Those of you who have been following me for awhile undoubtedly know that I didn’t surrender to the Lord until we lost our second son, 5 months after losing one of our twin babies. I was in my mid-30’s then, and quite frankly always thought I had the “bull by the horns” and could figure out a way to handle just about anything.
However losing our boys broke me, and I suddenly realized I needed to stop living a lie. So I got down on my knees and asked Jesus to take over my life.
He did, and I became an on-fire woman for God, cramming in Bible studies, reading His Word, memorizing Scripture, and spending time in prayer almost every morning.
And, as I began to grow in my faith, my desire was to do “big things” for my Father. But what in the world did He want me to do?
I remember one day at the church we were attending, there was a blurb in the bulletin about needing a new Nursery Director.
Yeah, I can do that!
So I jumped into it. Quite frankly, I don’t even think I prayed about it. I just thought it would be a good way to do “big things.”
I lasted maybe a month…
Why? Well, first off, I really had no clue what the whole position entailed so I was flying by the seat of my pants. But – and probably the most important – I’d never really felt comfortable around babies or little kids in the first place!
As a matter of fact, if I was to get a grade for babysitting when I was in my teens, I clearly would have gotten an “F.” My goal had always been to get the kids to bed as soon as possible so I could raid the refrigerator and watch TV.
So I stepped down from the Nursery Director position feeling really bad about myself, and began to keep my eyes open for something else I could do.
Then someone found out that I played a little organ at home, and the next thing I knew I was asked to be on the worship team playing a synthesizer. So I did, even though I really wasn’t comfortable with it. Every week the technicians would hook up all the wires and speakers (which was good since I hadn’t a clue how all that stuff worked), and then I would sit and typically play little string chords to accompany the lead pianist during the worship songs.
But one day I was asked to play the lead for worship, as all the pianists were gone for that particular service.
I had no idea how I was supposed to do it. Since it was a contemporary church, my friend who was the lead singer that evening told me not to do a formal introduction to the songs, but rather something a little jazzier.
So I tried to, but it was so jazzy that he had no idea when to jump into start the song! Finally he just turned around and looked at me on the stage, and I nodded my head when he was to start singing.
Embarrassing, yes! Not too long after that a Worship Pastor was hired, and eventually I found myself no longer on the schedule.
Okay, Lord, now what? Surely there must be something suited for me?
A couple years passed. I tried a variety of different things: MOPS, door-to-door evangelism, and greeting people as they arrived at church on Sundays. However nothing was really making me go “WOW!”
Do you know our Heavenly Father always has a plan for us?
One day out of the blue a couple years later, I was asked to join a small year-long mentor group with the leader of the Women’s Ministry at the church we were attending at that time. In this group as we learned and prayed together, I came to realize that a great passion in my heart was studying the Bible. The day arrived when my mentor stated I should be facilitating a women’s Bible study. She told me I should be using the passion God had stirred in my heart to help others!
I was excited, yet can I just admit I was a nervous wreck that first semester? Yet as time passed, I knew this was a calling from my Father, and have been leading and teaching Bible studies on and off for many years now. I love it when God’s light starts to burn bright in the lives of others as they study, and come to realize how much He loves them!
But here’s something you must remember, which is hard. No matter what you feel God is calling you to, you need to be patient. God will open the right doors, when it’s the right time. I needed many years after surrendering to the Lord before I was refined and mature enough to step into the role of leading and teaching the Bible. I needed those years to study the Bible on my own, and let God’s Word seep deep into my soul, teaching me how to walk a true walk of faith, before I could lead others. I needed to learn how to rely on the Holy Spirit’s guidance instead of my own self-proclaimed wisdom.
Before you get a little persnickety with me thinking that time is passing by and nothing appears to be happening, let me remind you that the Bible is rich and full of godly believers who had incredible ministries – but they didn’t come to fruition right away.
Here’s just a few:
- David. He was in his early teens when anointed as Israel’s next king (1 Samuel 16:10-13, 17:32-37), but didn’t begin his leadership until he was 30 years-old (2 Samuel 5:4).
- Joseph. He was 17 years-old when his brothers sold him into slavery (Genesis 37:1-28), but it wasn’t until he turned 30 that he was released from prison to be overseer to the king of Egypt (Genesis 41:46).
- Paul. He was a killer of Christians, until Jesus appeared to him one day on the road to Damascus (Acts 22:6-21). After that, he spent 3 years in the desert for intense training before he came into public ministry to become one of the greatest evangelists ever (Galatians 1:11-20).
Granted, some things won’t take you nearly as long. If your passion is cooking and you’ve been cooking for years, you can easily step into the role of preparing meals for those who need it.
Are you a good organizer? Ask God to show you how you might be able to use that to help others at your church, or in another volunteer organization. You never know how God will use you to shine His light to others!
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that God places dreams in our hearts – and He also gives us different spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1-28, Ephesians 4:1-16). He gives us our passions, but sometimes it may take awhile to actually find out what those passions are. Be patient! God loves you so very deeply, and wants to use the things that make you happy to reach others. You are unique, and you are special!
We are living in a world where so many people are hurting and lost. Our Father has given us, His children, certain dreams and ideas to reach those He has surrounded us with. Not everyone is called to be an evangelist or teacher, but we all are called to walk with Him and use what He has given us to reach out and help others.
It says in Luke 19:41-42 that Jesus wept over Jerusalem because they were so lost, and they had no idea where they could find peace. People all around us need to find that peace, as well. And you never know, maybe it will be that one smile or handshake that you extend to someone, the one meal you bring to them, or the one time you go and sit to pray with someone, that will break through their hearts and bring them to the Father.
So hang on tight to your dreams, and remember – God can and will use you too!