John Maxwell once said, “If we could kick the person responsible for most of our problems, we wouldn’t be able to sit down for weeks.” Life is an invitation to get out of our own way, so that God can have his way through us. The economy isn’t my problem and the devil isn’t my problem, I am my biggest problem. Too many of us are committing self-sabotage and blaming it on external circumstances. What you can’t see, you can’t guard against or prepare for. We need to ask God to gently reveal to us areas in our character that are blind spots and apply Gods grace to whatever he reveals to us. The more out of the way you are, the more God will have his say through you.
I had a very engaging conversation with a friend and peer of mine recently who discussed with me the idea of being completely comfortable and secure in your own skin, as being a vital key to impacting ministry. I definitely agree.
I think there is a lot of imitation in ministry because people really don’t know to the core of their being who they are or really what God has called them to accomplish. Whilst we are all under construction and hopefully changing to be more and more like the character of Jesus, the truth is our gift mix and unique personality is largely fixed. We need to embrace completely whom God has created us to be if we are going to be able to minister into other people’s lives with what God has put into our hearts.
I love John the Baptist. He was a voice and not an echo of all the other voices around him. He wore camels hair, a leather belt and ate locusts and wild honey and yet didn’t flinch or miss a beat. He had his own unique fashion, diet and message, repent for the messiah is coming. Even when his own team tried to pressure him to do something because Jesus’ ministry was blowing up, he didn’t let it change who he was. He responded with, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegrooms voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase but I must decrease.’ (Jn 3:28-30)
What incredible security and confidence John had in the Father’s purpose and call on his life. We must come to the same point in our relationship with God too. Security is a relational thing, not a situational thing. Too many of us measure ourselves by our image, reputation and circumstance. Jesus made himself of no reputation. Paul could care less what he even thought of himself, let alone what other people thought of him. God wants us to get so caught up in our relationship with Him that we lose the need to prove anything other than live in the love, grace and call of God made freely available to us.
It’s time to be 100% YOU. That doesn’t mean you excuse yourself from growing and if necessary repenting but it means you get real comfortable with who you are and the skin you’re in. You’ve got to live with you, you may as well be at peace about it and even celebrate it. If you don’t enjoy being you, no one else is going to be you.
One of the biggest obstacles to our calling is ourselves. Too often we get in our own way and one of the keys to walking in the fulness of our call is to get out of our own way. I preached a sermon once called, “Get out of the way and let the Holy Spirit have his say.”
The biggest issue you are going to have to get over in your life and ministry is YOU. One of the reasons for delays in your life journey is God is working in you before he works through you. Unfortunately, there are issues lurking under the surface of our lives that need to be healed or removed or both, that if not dealt with, will continue to hold us back.
How do we get out of our own way?
- Become secure in who you are – Insecurity will close doors of opportunity in your face. Insecurity can be sniffed out a mile away and cause you to sabotage important relationships and personal success. Stop comparing yourself to others and start celebrating the uniqueness of who you are.
- Grow in self-awareness – Know thyself. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What’s your dominant personality style? Where do you get energy from? Extroverted or introverted? The more you know about yourself, the more you can relate to the world around you from an informed perspective.
- Develop people skills – A lack of social awareness and minimal people skills can cut short your capacity to influence and thereby limit your call to a small sphere. Whatever your call is, it will involve people and helping people in one way or another is what ministry is all about. The Scriptures exhort us to not look only to our own interests but also to the interests of others. Listening and giving positive feedback is one of the first steps to learning how to relate to people.
- Do what you know you ought to do – Don’t procrastinate on what you know you ought to do. The Bible teaches, he who knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, for him it is sin. There are things that God asks us to do we delay on, that we need to obey… when we are asked to do it… not 6 months later or 6 years later. There are little things like, going to bed early, exercising daily, eating a healthy diet, returning the phone call, and saying ‘I love you’ that we know we ought to do but sometimes procrastinate on and we end up paying for it.
- Spend time with God – A lack of dependence upon God means you only have yourself to rely on and frankly, you’re not that good… either am I. We were never created to exist apart from God. Apart from God, we can do nothing but we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.