So many things have happened in my life that have been beyond my control. I have felt shame and a lack of self worth as a result. I am still in process but have made great strides in terms of owning my story without letting the things that I had no control over define me.
Brene Brown writes:
We all have shame. We all have good and bad, dark and light, inside of us. But if we don’t come to terms with our shame, our struggles, we start believing that there’s something wrong with us – that we’re bad, flawed, not good enough – and even worse, we start acting on those beliefs. If we want to be fully engaged, to be connected, we have to be vulnerable. In order to be vulnerable, we need to develop resilience to shame. (Daring Grately, 2012. pg 61).
So what about those parts of my story that were within my control and I botched things up bad? I was mean and hurtful or walked in willful disobedience? Do those not count? Are those irredeemable? They are not good but they also should not allow us to be bound with shame. Look at Jesus with the woman at the well. He knew her story, her jaded past (and present). Devout Jews would never even be caught near her, let alone talking to her. Jesus not only was seen with her and talked to her, but he did not condemn her. It is humans, not Jesus, who want us to wear a scarlett letter. It is Jesus who wants us to wear his magnificent coat of grace.
I believe he saw past her actions and into her heart. He knew the reasons why she made the choices she did and he had compassion for her. He did not want her to continue in sin, but his heart broke for the reasons that enabled her unhealthy choices. He spoke to her so she could be free. Not only did she find freedom but she lead others to it as well.
My pastors are embarking on a journey to work with leaders who are no longer leading. They have discovered that God doesn’t change His call. Doug tells me about a man we knew who was a pastor and gave in to a gambling addiction that cost him his ministry and his family, but that this man would be at a blackjack table leading people to Christ. The call doesn’t change because we have burnt out, fallen, or given up. God doesn’t change His mind and say, woops, I didn’t know that was how it was going to turn out so I’ll take back my giftings and call. He knew before we were born the mistakes we were going to make and He still said – this child is going to lead.
We need to own our story, every part of it. As I have shared some of my personal failings two separate people have said to me – your an insipration. I shake my head and say, did you hear what I am telling you I have done? This is not an inspiring story! I think what they see as inspiring is that I am owning my story, even the parts I am not proud of. My mistakes are mine and I am working on learning and being better. I have always been hopeful that my story would inspire and bring freedom to others, but I considered that to be the parts that happened which were beyond my control. I am now letting God be the great, big, incredible, redeeming God that he is and letting Him use the parts that I screwed up too.
John 12:27 Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? Father get me out of this? No, this is why I came in the first place. I’ll say. Father, put your glory on display.
Father – use my story, ALL OF IT, to put your glory on display.
Doug and Rebecca’s minstry for broken leaders is : Life Long Leading
I highly recommend them!