“I can’t lead communion, I’m not the Pastor!” the excuse popped into my mind almost as fast as my husband’s request. He had double-booked himself and could not stay for the final hour of the small group meeting. The solution? Me. Leading Communion is one of the churchly duties that I laid squarely with the minister, not the wife. It’s up there with marrying and burying, belonging squarely on my husband’s shoulders. But Jon, needed my help and I could choose to help or make an excuse. I chose to push through my feelings of inadequacy and lead the communion.
Do you find yourself holding back?
Settling for mediocracy instead of climbing to full potential?
Not the ideal family background for ministry? Memories of the past plaguing you with pain or fear? Wondering if your testimony is too boring to interest anyone? Paralyzing questions that keep you settling for good instead of straining towards greatness.
“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3: 13 &14
As a persecutor of the early church, apostle Paul had plenty to forget about. The faces and voices of Christians that he ordered to be beaten or killed. Penned from his own personal experience, He Forgot, Strained and Pressed on. He chose to throw his energy towards a new life in Christ and how God would direct him to serve. Whether it is mistakes, inadequacies or family history forget and strain to what God is calling us to be.
Reading the stories of David’s sin-filled past, Peter’s lack of education or Gideon’s fear, each of these bible heroes chose to forget the past and pressed on toward a goal that God had for them.
David Eckman’s book, “Becoming Who God Intended” https://www.whatgodintended.org/store/ has helped me forget many pointless excuses and press into God. Especially valuing his description of three basic family types. To see in writing the strengths and weaknesses of different family types has renewed my hope that God has a future for all of us. The things that our enemy intended for evil, God uses for good. No matter how long your list of explanations, fears, and excuses are, God desires to use your life and for you to enjoy the fulfillment of being who He intended you to be.
Over the years as I worked with these groups, I have pointed out the strengths and weaknesses of each…
1. Family Group One (healthy family background)
Strength. The words, pictures, and emotions they have match each other. They can become a great help to others from the other family groups because they innately understand health.
Weakness. They often approach the problems of life with platitudes. They have good emotions, but they lack real compassion for the abused of this world because that would is so foreign to them. As a result, they may lack courage and confidence in the gospel to change lives. Often they will act like Christianity is just the moral wing of the Republican Party.
2. Family Group Two (confused family background)
Strength. They do have positive emotions to build on, and they can feel deeply the pain of life. They can weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.
Weakness. They instinctively want to earn love; and the emotions they have, they will mismanage. Often they will mistake knowing biblical information for integrating biblical truth.
3. Family Group Three (dysfunctional family background)
Strength. They have an understanding of the deep pain of life, and often as not, they are not afraid of life. Also, they often become the most daring and creative Christian leaders.
Weakness. In the face of suspicion, they need to consciously choose to walk by faith daily. If they become Christian leaders, they may institutionalize their dysfunctions. They have to consciously work against that. David Eckman’s “Becoming who God Intended”
We can see how God makes beauty out of our ashes. He has a way of taking our personal history, redeeming it and using it for His glory.
May the above descriptions kick excuses out of our hearts and release us to become who God Intended us to be.