If you had asked me a year or two ago what I thought my calling was, I would have immediately told you I was called to work with children.
I love kids, most especially preschoolers. I am comfortable with them; I can get down to their level and explain things in a way they understand. And my heart is that all children would know that God loves them just as they are.
Ever since I became a Christian, I have worked in children’s ministries in one way or another. And for the longest time, it gave me such joy to do so.
But a few years ago I began to notice something. My joy wasn’t quite so evident anymore. I had to really work at it. I started to lose my ability to connect with kids. I became frustrated and confused. Through it all, though, I kept going through the motions while trying to find new and bigger ways I could serve God’s children.
It didn’t matter what I tried to do or how I tried to serve, I kept experiencing the same frustration and fatigue. Doors began to close on me, opportunities to serve slipped through my fingers, and I began to wonder if it was even worth it anymore.
This in itself was very troublesome to me – I didn’t get how God could be taking away a “calling” I was so sure was mine!
And then something funny happened.
God called me to something I would never, ever have imagined Him calling me to.
I didn’t think God would call me to it because I didn’t feel like I had the ability to do it. Sharing God with kids came so easily to me. But this?
Was He kidding?
I lacked the talent, the know-how, the connections. I lacked courage and confidence.
But overall, I lacked faith.
For months I struggled with self-doubt. For months I questioned God’s wisdom in putting me in this place to serve Him. For months I fretted and worried over my own inadequacies and fears. I prayed long and hard, convinced He was wrong and that I needed to get out of this pool He was immersing me in.
One Sunday I arrived at church, a few minutes late as usual, after wrestling with God yet again over this thing He asked me to do. After settling my kids in the seats beside me, I looked up at the wall where the words to the song the congregation was singing were projected.
“In His presence, I lack nothing.”
I almost laughed right there – could He have made it anymore clearer?
For months I had bemoaned the fact that I was no longer feeling it in the ministry of my choice. Until that moment, I hadn’t realized that I was serving me, not Him. I was seeking recognition and glory that was rightly His, and I was frustrated because I was not getting it.
Now, I was knee-deep in unfamiliar waters, scared of the possibilities of what else He would think of asking me to do, and I realized, finally, that it wasn’t about me and what I couldn’t do.
It was about God and what He was doing through me.
Each time I began to make it about me, I would doubt my abilities and if I was truly good enough to do His calling.
“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)
I’m not one to brag about my weaknesses. I’m the classic Type-A personality that likes to be in control and let everyone know just how in control I am. Weakness is not an option.
I think that is why I struggled with this for so long. I just couldn’t get why God would choose to use me in an area I felt so weak. I knew that verse in Second Corinthians, but until that moment it hadn’t made sense.
His power works best in my weakness.
I love how the Message puts verse 10 – “I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”
When I remember to do this, when I remember to set aside myself, my doubts, and my need for control, when I just let Christ take over, He makes me able.
Able to do that thing He asks me to do.
And able to do it with joy.“As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.” Colossians 1:11, MSG