WARNING: This is a no-edit zone…
Called to Serve? Bottom Line: Trust God
©2011, Vicki Hinze
Many believers feel called to serve and answer that call only to then feel displaced among others in their field or area of expertise. They have no qualms with others in their sphere also called to serve. They have close friends and wonderful relationships with many in that sphere. But still they feel they don’t quite fit. Or, more specifically, that their contributions—the means through which they serve—don’t quite fit.
Some don’t feel embraced by the community they seek to serve. Some love but feel slightly out of step with the community. And some feel their service fits the mold or established template . . . and yet it doesn’t.
Their reactions to this sense of belonging but not belonging, or of being on the fringe, vary. But it’s typical for these servants to suffer bouts of insecurity, of feeling as if they’re failing—not just those they intend to serve, but failing their Lord, which is far more disturbing to them—and their esteem and sense of worth feels hammered.
This leads to servants questioning themselves about their path. Well, first to doubting it. Had they interpreted their calling correctly? Are they doing what they’re supposed to be doing? The way they’re supposed to be doing it? Is the rough road they are on a sign that they goofed and they’re not on the right path at all?
All these things and more in which the servant feels a sincere lack of certainty seep in and take hold, and before the servant knows it, seeds of fear and doubt sprout and grow into full-fledge mounds.
That really clutters up their thoughts and that clutter feeds the uncertainty until the mound becomes a mountain.
Here’s the thing. All that clutter and scrub brush grows like crazy and wraps like vines on a tree until the trunk of the tree is obscured. That trunk is truth. The truth founded in faith.
Evil wears many faces and uses many methods to counter good. We all know it, but we also need to remember it. Evil also attacks us where we’re most vulnerable, and how much more vulnerable can a believer be than in a profound desire not to fail God? So the more we fear and doubt, the more power we give to evil and, boy, will he use it against us.
There’s a key reason this is so. Evil has a strategy. If we’re tied up in knots and consumed by fear and doubt, we’re playing pretzel, and when we’re busy being a pretzel, we’re not busy serving. Evil wins. If good isn’t there to counter it, evil wins by default.
But servants aren’t doomed to be pretzels or helpless victims in this unless they fail to recognize, acknowledge and address what is happening. If servants do those things, they recognize that they can counter.
A mustard seed’s worth of courage—that’s all it takes to turn things around.
Courage for what?
To pick up a machete.
A machete. Huh?
When you pick up a machete and cut through the vines concealing and choking the trunk, you remove that which binds the trunk. When the trunk is unbound and exposed, the truth is unbound and exposed. You can see the truth because it’s revealed.
When the truth is revealed, what happens? Clarity.
A few points I think are noteworthy:
- 1. Picking up that machete is trusting God. He knows you. He knows your heart and everything else about you. Nothing is hidden. And He chose you for service. Imperfect, flawed, scarred, battered and/or soul-weary, He chose you. If you’re on the fringe, He knows it. If you or your service doesn’t quite fit an established mold, He knows that, too. If you are walking in faith, in His path and will and not your own, being where you are, doing what you’re doing might not be comfortable, but it’s not a mistake. Bottom line: Trust God.
- 2. If you aren’t on the right path, or you’re not sure you’re on the right path, ask Him to make that clear. Ask Him for signs you can’t miss or misinterpret and believe you’ll receive them. Ask for guidance to the right path and believe you’ll get it. Here’s a tip: You will. It’s blatantly stated, not up for debate, and couldn’t be more clear than it is in Matthew 21: 21-23: “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Either you believe in His Word or you don’t. Bottom line: Trust God.
- 3. Evil loses its power. It can’t trick, deceive, clutter or muddle your mind. It can’t stand up to truth. God promised to be with you always. He promised never to leave or forsake you. If anyone’s not been home or been left in the hall, it isn’t you. You left Him. So reconnect. Evil will flee. Bottom line: Trust God.
- 4. With a clear mind, you reassess and grasp this gem of truth: There are no molds. There are man-defined similarities, traditions, general commonalities and preferences, but God made each of us universal (in spirit) and unique as individuals. That’s an important distinction. The Word tells us we are fashioned by His hand. We are as He made us, with the gifts and abilities He gave us. We choose whether or not to use them and whether or not we use them as He wishes or we wish, but they’re there. So if we’ve chosen His wishes, we’re following His will, and we still feel we must be like others or fit some other mold, isn’t that a backhanded way of saying God messed up? And isn’t that insulting Him and expressing a lack of gratitude and a lack of faith? Isn’t that counter to the bottom line, which is: Trust God.
You know, I’m a simple woman and not some highly skilled theologian. But that doesn’t mean my purpose is less valuable or less valued than anyone else’s. Neither is yours. God infuses us all and uses us all in ways of His choosing. We sometimes get so mired down in minutia that we forget that.
We can get too mired down to notice or recall or discover many facets that truth reveals. That’s worth remembering, too. Not just on the “God giving to us” end, but on the “us giving to God” end. He doesn’t need us. He wants us. He respects our free will and delights in our desire to connect with Him and serve Him, and in our willingness to serve Him by serving others. That’s significant because we’re all different. Why is that so significant?
Because being different, we see and react to different things in different ways. God made us so. That means human beings aren’t one-size fits all. We need different approaches, different methods and different means. Something that touches one person will not touch another. Something that touches that second person won’t touch a third.
God comes to each of us in ways we understand. As different people who are in different places with different attitudes and different perspectives standing on different rungs of our own personal spiritual ladders, doesn’t it make sense that He would call servants capable of touching those He wants touched in ways they understand and grasp what He wants understood and grasped?
And doesn’t it make sense that He’d match servants and serving?
We question, and that’s a good thing so long as it is constructive. But when we fret and worry and fear and doubt, that ceases to be good, it becomes destructive and that destroys momentum.
I look back over this post and realize that it’s been a circuitous route leading back to a place that could have made this a two-word post.
But I hope that there’s been value in the journey and that whatever fears and doubts you’ve been experiencing, it’s helped bring a little clarity or triggered something in you that brings you clarity. I hope that when you reach the bottom line, it’ll be the simple and elegant bottom line: