In the fall of last year, I ran across an intriguing article titled: Missional Living Doesn’t Wait for Marriage which caught my eye, because it was on a topic I had been pondering.
As a single gal in my middle twenties, I have often struggled with understanding just where God wants me to be serving Him, and how to carry out that mission I feel tugging on my heart. As the author of the above mentioned article puts it:
In this season of life, outside of the covenantal bonds of marriage, singles can be intentional about choosing to live with others and making those people a priority. In regard to my finances, time, talents, and wisdom—the girls I live with are my primary partakers, they get my first-fruits. I seek to defer to them in all things for their good and my sanctification.
When I was a young girl, His direction felt so clear, so absolute; but as I grew older, and my understanding of how God works, the direction of my life changed, and I questioned God’s plans, and what exactly He had in mind for my life’s work.
I think I missed out on some important life lessons, and blessings, because I was (sometimes unconsciously) holding out for the “perfect ending” to my single years: marriage. As that has been my deepest desire since I was 17, I thought it only natural to want to do ministry with my future husband.
As “then” became a distant dream, I began to reconsider what ministry could/should/would look like for someone in my position. Was it possible for me to be a useful member of God’s team? How exactly could I contribute, since I felt unqualified in so many ways, and was I even “cut out” for ministry?
I have spent my entire life as a PK (preacher’s kid), which has given me a unique (and sometimes negative) understanding of what ministry looks like. Since I have been living “inside the glass house” as I told a friend a while back, things can seem different from there, than they would to your average church-goer, even if they are active in ministry.
There is something glorious about ministry, and something draining. Doing God’s business, God’s way can be rewarding, and yet a lonely road. I have seen that in my Dad’s life, as he has struggled with finding friends, since so many times people are just there to need him (his advice, his prayers, his time, etc.). But, God always has a grander scheme on-going.
Over the last two years, I have been finding what my place is in the grand scheme, and becoming confident of who I am because of Jesus. Yes, there are still days when I don’t want to do something because it is hard, or messy, or uncomfortable, but overall, God has been showing me how feeble attempts can be turned into enormous results.
I still prefer being the person behind-the-scenes, though of late, that has been a rare thing. Since our family moved last summer, I have gotten involved with my congregation, and in general ministry in the following ways:
Praise team (this is an on-stage role, which can still be terrifying); Mission trip to West, Texas (with perfect strangers from a “sister” congregation, building a house which is wayyyyyy out of my natural abilities comfort zone); Wednesday Night Live worship lead singer (this is a role I actually enjoy most of the time, but that’s because there’s low lighting ;)); Wednesday Night Live youth instructor (I have been co-teaching with my sister Phoebe this semester, which has been a challenge as I am not a natural teacher); Wednesday Night Live middle school mentor/small group leader (I had a great time walking alongside the younger children last year in this role, and grew some important relationships with the girls in my group); Youth Sunday School class instructor (since our youth leader left this past summer, I have been filling in on Sunday mornings, teaching and leading discussions, and just being a friend to the young people who come).
There are more opportunities that I have had since we came here, God has used each and every one of them to shape my heart in some way, to break me out of the mold I had placed myself into, and challenged me to grow in ways I did not think possible.
So here I am today, thankful that God can use someone like me, weak, with a serious lack of confidence, surrounded by people who have given me chances to spread my wings and fly. And although I may not be soaring like an eagle (I think most times I am barely off the ground), I am not still in the nest, waiting for God to send me a heavenly signal, showing me the next step.
God doesn’t call us to do the impossible, though it may seem that way to us, since our line of vision is limited to here, and now; He always has the next step planned out. As a matter of fact, He knows the End from the Beginning, and everything in between. Isn’t that comforting?
As we begin this journey, discovering how God uses ordinary individuals in ministry, I hope that you will consider that right now is the time to be serving God – no matter how young, or how anything-else you might be, right now is the time to seek God with all your life, and to lay aside your desires to pursue His desires. There is no better time then now.