Am I Healthy Enough to Make an Impact or Lead Others?

Yesterday, I found myself walking through the maze called Ikea with my wife Emily. Just as I was hitting my shopping limit and about to head to the meatballs, “which is usually about 6 minutes into the maze,” I got a call from a good buddy Scott. He jumped in with what he was learning from his counselor as he was at a big transition point from his 50’s into his 60’s, and trying to shift from the corporate grind into something that was more aligned with his passion to invest in others. He was sharing the new insights he was getting in this introspective season of transition with the help of his counselor, and how some of those insights were shocking to him about how much more he has to grow. He was learning blindspots, and weaknesses, and realizing he was further ahead than he thought in some areas, while behind in others.

We started talking about this universal tension. On one hand that sometimes we feel like imposters, that we are behind, need to get our house together, have so much more to learn, and so many areas to mature into. That sometimes this is a subtle lie, the whisper that sounds like shame, and sometimes it is an honest reflection that we need to spend a season with greater intentionality on getting into a better spot emotionally, relationally, or spiritually.

And on the other hand, we have the Holy Spirit in us, so we are equipped right? And we are called to partner with God in kingdom work. We are called to love others, lean into our burdens and passions and specific identities, to trust God to use us regardless of our limitations, to partner wtih him in kingdom work. If we waited to get our act together we would keep ourselves on the bench forever and miss out on the reliance of trusting God to use us to love others boldly despite our imperfections.

So what do we do with these tensions? When are we healthy enough to invest in others and when should we step out in confident partnership with God in his Kingdom work.

I want to share where we landed. First, in case you are wondering, we ended up spending $395 during our call, which I felt was a win leaving Ikea, and Scott and I talked about 4 different ideas that felt pretty universal. Here they are.

  1. First, there is a pattern that we have noticed. The healthier and more mature the Jesus follower, the more they are acutely aware of their brokenness, their need for Jesus, and the residuals of sin in their life. Some of the most mature believers we know seem to be more cognizant of their weaknesses and areas in need of growth than the less mature believers. Paradoxically, greater maturity leads to a deeper awareness of one's need for grace and growth, not less. This is a humbling realization that speaks to the ongoing transformative power of faith and self-awareness.
  2. Second, we want to embrace brokenness and have a posture of absolute surrender. Instead of viewing our brokenness as a weakness, we should see it as an opportunity to rely on the Holy Spirit. We will never be entirely ready, and that's by design. So that we get to trust Jesus and receive his graces anew every day as we replace lies with truth, as we move from ourselves to Him. Out of that dependence, that trust, the Spirit will be the one to provide us with the words to say and ability to love those we encounter. With His love not ours.
  3. Third, time on the bench should be temporary. It is not where we are meant to stay. While there are seasons when focusing on self-care is essential, if we wait to get our stuff together before investing in others, we will never invest in others. We should avoid the insidious voice of shame that tells us we can't inspire, lead, or love until we've perfected ourselves. We cannot allow our areas of stagnation or imperfection to grant us permission to sideline ourselves. It's crucial to lean into our gifts and passions for the benefit of others, even when we don't feel entirely equipped.
  4. Fourth, and last, most of this tension is rooted in a wrong perspective of relational ministry! Think about it, when we think about relational ministry, pouring our cup into others, discipling others, we often think we have to be ahead, more mature, know more of the bible, to teach others what they don’t know that we know, or guide others through a situation that we have navigated. That is connected to a faulty assumption that the core of relational ministry is connected to us being ahead and knowing more and being more mature than another to impact them. Have you ever felt that way? I know that I did for a long time. That teaching them or telling them what to do better is the greatest value. I think thats wrong. Now those things are good and valuable in relational ministry, but they are the 20/80, not the 80% of the equation. 80% of the value in relational ministry is walking with someone through whatever they are going through. Loving them. Praying for them. Asking them questions. Being present with them. One of my friends David is younger than me and ahead of me in some areas but behind me in others. He has been steady and faithful and consistent. It’s that blessing of his friendship and complementary gifts that has been such a rich blessing over the past years. We all have people in our life we are able to love well in that way, without needing to have the right answers or reach a certain level of maturity.

Said simply, it’s more important for you to

  1. Walk alongside someone than in front of them.
  2. Asking questions than teach them
  3. Modeling vulnerability than have it all together.

Your limitations might be your greatest strength in your relational ministry. Isn’t that such an amazing thing to realize? Your vulnerability might be the greatest blessing to build a trusting relationship for the person to be seen, heard, prayed for, and loved. Some of my memories of my own dad’s weaknesses have been trumped by my memory of him asking for forgiveness, of sharing with me his struggles and his desires to improve. It was my dad’s modeling the need for God’s help, of asking forgiveness, that was the model of what it meant to be a man of God, and those memories stemmed from his humble reaction to his mistakes, his losing his temper, his weaknesses as a dad.

So ask God,

If there is anything you hear or take away, that last question is it. What faith step are you inviting me to take. God what do you want me to do. Now. The outcome is his and it’s his kingdom work you get to partner with God in. So lets just ask him. It might be nothing for now, and it might be something significant that you don’t feel ready for. He knows and so lets ask him.

Jesus called us to "go and make disciples." This is our mission, to help others mature in their spiritual journey, to point them toward Jesus, and to enable them to love others more effectively. As Christians, we are called to be known by our love, as Jesus stated in John 13:35, "By this they will know that you are my disciples, by the way you love one another." Love is at the heart of our faith, and it is through love that we truly impact the world.

In our pursuit of purpose and impact, we must remember that none of us are perfect. We will always have areas of growth and imperfection. So if there’s a place where you’ve been sitting on the sidelines because you feel like there’s too much work that needs to be done on YOU first, then maybe this blog can be an encouragement for you to show up anyway…serve anyway…join that group anyway…reach out to that person anyway. God’s big enough to work through you even while he’s working on you! It is in embracing our imperfections, leaning into the support of the Holy Spirit, and continuing to pour into others that we fulfill our calling to make a difference in the lives of those around us. Our journey is marked by growth, and it is through our vulnerability and reliance on God's grace that we can truly impact the world with love and purpose.

Not bad for an Ikea trip, huh? I’d ask Emily to go there more if I knew I’d have more breakthroughs like this. But then I guess I’d be broke!

You, brothers and sisters, are sons and daughters of the king, invited to partner with him in kingdom work as he redeems what is broken and brings his peace and freedom. You have the Holy Spirit, and the fruit of that is love to those in a broken world hungry and thirsty for the beautiful good news of grace. Rely on him, and lean in, asking him how you can partner with what he wants to do in and through you today. Love yall and thanks for being a part of this trueface community.


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