Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Who Does Number Two Work For?

As you are, you will always be number two.  Even the most self-serving, egotistical, arrogant jerk of a human being is number two.  What you have to decide is: who do you work for?

It's a good question to be asking, both in the philosophical sense and the practical one.  That is, you should be asking both who you should be working for...and who you actually are working for.  It's about perspective.

God has been working on my heart with an incredible vision of ministry.  I wouldn't say it's entirely new - more a future reignited, but there are some new aspects to it.  Like for the first time, I'm in a place where I am able to realize it's fully about Him.  (There was a time I was pretty sure He was going to make me great because, well, look at me!  Wouldn't I be great at "great"?)

The truth is, it was just a few months ago that I woke up and set about what I was doing - working on a chapter in the new book, thinking ahead to the next month's women's ministry newsletter, shooting a couple of emails back and forth with a good friend, chatting with my atheist sister-in-law about God, answering her questions and helping her with her theology homework, and taking a few breaks every now and then to get something done around the house or draw a little - and in the midst of all that, this pure and simple joy invaded my heart.  And not one bit of it was about me.  And I didn't care.

I couldn't help but smile.  And the thought on my heart was, "Lord, if this was my every blessed would I be?"

Oh, He loves me so.  The more days that go by, the more He blesses me with days just like this.  With each of those days - not even days, but every moment - I am overwhelmed by the realization that this joy, this contentment, this peace, and even this energy is because this is precisely what He has created me for.  This.  This mix of ministry.  This fullness of who I am.  This place in my heart that is no longer raw with the pains of my own brokenness, no longer turned inward, but bursts forth with a burning ache for reaching out.

Because I'm discovering it matters little to me what you think of me when you walk away; but I'd like you to be thinking of God.  

That said, it's easy to let this perfectness, this beauty of createdness, and even the joy be distorted.  When you aren't focused on who you work for - or to put it another way, the measure of your success - it's easy to lose your way.

It's easy to worry about what other people think of you, what they might say, how they will perceive whatever it is you're doing.  So you start working for public perception, for popularity - and you become what you were afraid people might take you for in the first place: a poser.  Something less than legitimate.  Because your every move is dictated by the narrative: I have to get the masses on board.  And you subject yourself to disappointment and discouragement because not everyone is going to be with you.  Not at first, and maybe not ever.

It's easy to worry what about what you might think of you if you take the risk, embrace the journey.  You look in the mirror and see your perceptions of yourself and you either hold yourself back because you see something less or you get discouraged because you see a potential you're not quite living up to.  Putting your adventure second to yourself makes you exactly what you fear you are: shallow.  Not deep enough, strong enough, experienced enough, worthy enough to legitimately do what is on your heart to do.

These are the big two: others and self.  Then you wonder what happened to that joy and that perfectness of your even thinking about the journey.  You wonder where all that excitement went; because your journey just became a trek.  It became a task.  It became another endeavor to prove yourself.

Quit trying to prove yourself.  You wouldn't want to be that anyway.

When you realize that you're working for God, that you're number two to His Oneness, it changes your entire perspective.  The other people you were so worried about?  They see your authenticity.  Because what God has in you is pure.  You can't fake that kind of joy.  And the person you see in the mirror?  You see your own story with a sobering appreciation for how you've been carved out.  You see someone who is absolutely enough.   And you realize that's all you ever truly wanted to be: enough.  Enough for this.  Enough for this moment.  Enough for this journey.  You also realize that when the journey pushes forward, you will be enough then, too.

Because God has created you for this.  It is absolutely, positively, one hundred percent what He has for you.    The journey before you?  What a grand adventure!  The risk?  It's there.  The questions in the back of your mind?  Put them in your heart, and you will realize He has answered them.

All that's left is to take the next step.  Step into what He's got for you.  Maybe it will take awhile for your journey to catch on - for the right place to open up, the right doors, the right time to just explode into purpose - but it starts in one moment with a grateful, humbled, enthusiastic "Yes! Lord."  And there really is no other choice; once you've tasted what God has created in you, your heart will never settle for anything less.

Just remember that you're number two.  And make sure you know who you're working for.

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