One Sunday night in December 2001, I was leaving the church on a high. Not a drug high, but one of those highs after you have had an awesome church service. As I was driving, I saw a deer in the road and tried to swerve to miss it. As I got back onto the road, my car went out of control, weaving back and forth from my lane into the lane of oncoming traffic. Thankfully, no one was coming toward me. As I attempted to hold the steering wheel still, it was to no avail. I prayed to the Lord, “Either You have to take control of this car, or I’m coming to see You tonight.” Immediately after that prayer, my car turned around, rolled over, and landed on its side in the grass. The fear of weaving out of the wrong lane was real because of the potential danger, but God took control.
Many of us have a tendency to drive in the wrong lane rather than our own lane. Switch gears as I am now talking about life rather than on-the-road driving. As a young minister, I started out wanting to be a particular thing. There were far too many times in ministry when I tried to be something I wasn’t. It took me years to accept how God wired me. Many years were spent in frustration because I wasn’t comfortable with who I was in Christ. Here are some pieces of advice I would give others based on my life lessons:
Learn how God wired you and be proud of that! This principle goes back to Paul’s teaching about the body of Christ in I Corinthians 12. Not everyone is a hand or a foot or a mouth in the body of Christ. Each person is designed by God with a specific function to play. When we do not operate in that role, we become frustrated and cause frustration to the body of Christ. I attempted to be contemporary in my worship leading, but I can tell you that I am not contemporary worship leading material. I even made it into the interview process to lead worship in a predominantly African-American church. While I love their worship style, I didn’t get the position. I was relieved because I knew I was not a good fit, which leads me to my next thought.
Passion does not equal calling! I was passionate about multi-ethnic worship, but I do not possess the gifts for it. I know my gifting, so I do my best to stay within that. I had to learn some valuable things when it came to preaching too. I tried to be “cool” and do some of the things the popular preachers were doing. The attempts were pathetic! I often wish I could be like these preachers who can go really deep and communicate like no other. Here’s the thing! I’m a “cookies on the bottom shelf” kind of guy. I’m practical. You won’t hear me take apart the original Greek from the New Testament, but you will hear me explain the Bible in such a way that you can live and apply it when you leave the building. My style is mine, and that’s okay. The goal at the end of the day is to glorify God.
May I encourage you to be comfortable with the person God made you to be. Will we grow, learn, and be transformed by the Holy Spirit? Absolutely! I’m not promoting stagnation. I am promoting contentment. Learn who you are in Christ and be bold in being that person!