I was recently told, “You’re so ahead of your time.” A compliment but an amusing one because I can count on fingers and toes the ways in which I am so far behind. And I hate that. I hate that being ahead is such a stretch for me. It’s one of my greatest weaknesses. My best ideas always come right before the deadline and my greatest fears always arrive after I’ve submitted the work.
Because I know the expectations and I know my limitations. And I know the latter usually interferes with the first.
And some of you, who for whatever reason are reading this, get that. You get that because you’re there. You get up in the morning, you look in the mirror, and you see defeat before your day has even begun. You see that your limitations far outmatch your giftings and you have no idea how you are going to manage the workings of the day.
For the past few months I have wrestled with that. The more I work in ministry, the more I see my weaknesses and the more I want to run. Fortunately, I’m not runner (physically anyway) so I have begun to walk through my weaknesses with the Lord instead. Because even though I’m far ahead and yet so far behind, God is always on time.
This morning our church launched two services. We have grown as a congregation in so many ways and it’s all breathtakingly exciting! Lives are being changed, souls are being saved, programs are growing, and us pastors are learning what it means to walk with the blessed and with the mess.
But as a fellow pastor who knows her limitations, the growth is impeccably challenging. I work with our kids and they get me the most. Because when I see them, I see myself. I see the kid I was when I was their age and I want so much for them to live beyond their weaknesses. I want them to trust that God is good and He has remarkable plans for them.
So today I taught them about Gideon. A man destined to save Israel. But Gideon pleaded with his destiny proclaiming that his people were the weakest and that he was the least in his family. But God said “I will be with you, mighty warrior.” And God was. The Midianites were defeated, but not in a way anyone would expect, and Israel was free once again.
I so relate with Gideon. I get his fear. I get his intimidation because he knows where he comes from and he knows his greatest weaknesses. But God did too. He still does. And I love that. I love that despite knowing His children’s limitations, God still calls us to great things. He still encourages us to do what we don’t believe we can do when we look in our morning mirrors.
The Lord has done some unbelievable things in my life and I am living a pretty incredible journey, but I have never been more challenged to believe in God’s words as I am today. Before I shared Gideon’s story, I asked our kids to answer a few questions on slips of paper. I asked the following:
“If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you want to go?”
“What or who do you want to be when you grow up?”
“If you could pray for anyone or anything, who or what would it be?”
“What would you say is your greatest fear and why?
After telling the story of Israel’s victory, I told the kids that even though Gideon had fears or doubts of that victory, he still believed God’s word enough to run into a scary battle. A battle he once saw as defeat. I then asked the kids if they believed God could take them to the places they would love to go. I asked them if they believed God could mold them into who they wanted to be when they grew up. I asked them if they believed God could answer their prayers and calm their fears. I asked them if they believed God enough.
And though I was asking them, I found God was asking me.
“Do you believe enough? Do you believe that despite your limitations and where you come from, you can do great things for My Kingdom? Do you believe that I can answer your prayers and calm your fears? Do you believe I can take you to the places you want to go and mold you into who you want to be when you grow up? Do you believe enough?”
I don’t always. You see, some may say I’m far ahead, but often I am so far behind. And maybe you’re there too. And that’s okay. Because despite how far ahead or how far behind we are, God is always, always on time.
So let us hold one another accountable. When we get up and look in our morning mirrors let us hear Him say, “I am with you, mighty warrior.” And with that, may we lay our limitations before God and let Him do what He says He will do through us.