Who Inspires You To Be the Best You?
Think for a moment about a woman in your life, or whose been in your life, that you think is just an absolute inspiration. How would you describe them?
One of my biggest influencers has since gone on to be with Jesus but she was:
Strong-willed, loved people, full of joy, laughed a lot. She lived through and overcame many obstacles so she gave the best advice. She was independent loved hockey and always wore dangly, colorful earrings. She was a teacher for most of her life and she adored her husband, children and grandchildren. But more than anything, she loved Jesus.
We called her, "Pearly" or "Grandma Pearl". I still have days when I wish I could ask her for her "pearls of wisdom"!
Now, she wasn't actually my Grandmother (and by the way I REALLY love my Granny, she is the nicest woman ever!). But Grandma Pearl was an important mentor to me during a hard time in my life. I was gong through a nasty divorce with my first husband and I appreciated her "pearls of wisdom" very much!
Grandma Pearl radiated God’s love. She was in-tune to God's instruction and really knew His voice and because she did, she touched hundreds of lives, you could say “her fruit tree became an orchard”.
I want to be like that.
Now think about your own life for a minute, how do you think someone would describe you? Are you inspiring anyone around you? Or are you thinking, “I have so many things wrong with my life how could I ever inspire anyone?!”.
Satan whispers, "You can’t minister to someone when your life is such a mess, who will believe God is working in your life?" Because Satan doesn't want you to fulfill God's purpose for your life so he will do everything he can to convince you that you are unqualified, unfit and unable.
The good news is: the best ministry we could ever have is a messy, broken life full of mistakes! (Sweet, nice try, evil man). When we're obedient and semi-ready, God will turn the mess into a ministry!
Now about how you would want someone to describe you. I would bet there will be a lot of similarities to the person you described above. We all want to feel like we have purpose and we're making a difference but it’s really hard to see it when Satan has you living under someone else's cloud of addiction.
Your ministry is going to be awesome because you've been through a lot.
“We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Going through crap (yes, crap) makes us interesting and strong. Relatable. We get people. We're brave. I know in the moment, we don't always feel so wonderful but we really are better people when we get to the other side.
There's so much to be thankful for. I can always find someone who has a worse situation than me. My husband's in rehab but I'm totally okay. And he's doing awesome. That's an awesome ministry!
But I'm Nobody Special....
“If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, He does in us—He lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!
This is part of a letter the Apostle Paul wrote to a Church in Corinth. Back in those days people used to use clay pots (This is a container made out of dirt we’re talking about here!) for all kinds of things like water, wine, food, you name it. On top on everyday use, what else did they use these hardened mounds of dirt for? To house their most precious valuables.
“If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives..."
You, me, we are the clay pots. Without God, we are ordinary. Nothing more than great big mounds of dirt. But when we start to live in our identity as God's children we become extraordinary and valuable. We hold the most valuable thing in the world: The Love of God.
Which means, the only thing you need for a powerful ministry is to know who you are and who you want to be.
The Apostle Paul was also a clay pot. He's described as a zealot who used to persecute Christians, he literally dragged people out of their houses and killed them. Do you think Paul felt like he was valuable to the Kingdom of God before God empowered him? How does a man like that become one of the most prominent authors of the Bible? God used his mess to make a powerful ministry! People listened to Paul's message because they knew what kind of man he was before God changed him.
They knew the changes had to be from God.
God Loves The Brokenhearted
"Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me."
The passage also says that we're going to experience terrible suffering like Jesus did and while it sucks, we will be "getting in on the best" from it. No matter how many times Satan tries to hurt us, we will persevere with God; There's a ministry there. Whatever we've done in our past that Satan will use to hold us back, we will overcome with God; There's a ministry there. No matter how many times we fail, God will empower us to move forward; There's a ministry there.
You will inspire others to follow Jesus when they see you're filled with peace and joy in the midst of this. Hope is contagious!
You Can Have a Ministry When Your Life Isn't Perfect
Are you thinking, "Yeah but my life is a mess! My loved one is still an addict. How can I help other people when I'm clearly not doing anything right?!".
Remember, this story isn't about anyone in your life but you. Someone else's addiction has nothing to do with you. It's not personal. It's not your fault. You can't make someone want to change.
Like the Apostle Paul, the change God makes in our lives comes from within us. The worse the outward appearance of our lives looks the more powerful the message. Somewhere inside of you, you have a story that will inspire someone else. A story to help them. A story they'll look at and say, "It had to be God".
Your mess is going to make an awesome ministry.