It’s Not About Me

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The truth is,

God gives you wisdom and direction and morality and His presence and support,

and then asks you to live, to conquer, to risk and experience the whole of life.

People grow when they are in motion.

– Donald Miller

Recently Bonnie Gray over at Faith Barista passed on a challenge from Donald Miller’s blog (did you follow that?).

“What if”

…within limits, the question What if? can radically change our story and our lives. – Donald Miller

The challenge was to come up with 5 “What if” questions for our own life. Bonnie then asked us to follow through with one of those questions and to blog about it today as part of her Faith Barista Jam.

So, what if…

  • I actually trusted God with our finances instead of only turning to Him in times of need?
  • we became full-time missionaries?
  • I wrote a book?
  • I got my Masters?
  • I believed that God could use me now, instead of at some distant point when I’ve got it all figured out?

Wanna know something? This was hard for me.

I’ve always seen myself as a dreamer. In my marriage I’m the one who comes up with the crazy schemes (e.g., move to another state with a 2-year-old, six-week-old and no assurance of work or insurance?) However, I’m also very logical and knowing that I’d have to implement one of these in a weeks time made it harder.

That’s why I picked the last one to talk about today. Because I haven’t actually done anything about it. I’ve thought about it a lot and asked myself questions about it:

  • How would I act differently?
  • What am I holding myself back from doing?
  • What does this say about my relationship with God & my view of Him?

Although there hasn’t been any tangible change in my behavior, my attitude has taken a beating.

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. – 2 Cor. 12:9

I was under the impression that in order for God to use me I needed to have something to give; some wisdom, insight, process to impart that would enlighten others and encourage them. Here’s the problem with that…

It’s not about me.

My ministry, my life, my giftings should all point back to God.

For who regards you as superior ? What do you have that you did not receive ? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? – 1 Cor. 4:7

During my senior year of high school I got a vision of myself speaking in front of a crowd. I felt that this was in response to my prayers for direction for my future, but I also dismissed it because I felt like it was really arrogant. Who was I going to speak to and what did I have to say that anyone would want to hear?

Over the last decade that image has recurred in my mind’s eye, but each time I pushed it aside as prideful and not really from Him. This last year, as I’ve discovered the joy of connecting with others through writing, I’ve dusted off that image and thought, “Maybe.” Still I felt like it was for the future, for a distant time when a wiser, more self-assured Melissa would replace the me of today.

What if it’s not? What if God could use me now, in my imperfection, when it’s even more to His glory?

Like I said, I haven’t acted on this other than to see a shift in my perspective. I don’t actually even know how to move forward in this. One major thing has happened because of this challenge though: I will no longer shrink away from opportunities that might be presented to me. Even more, I will be alert, eagerly anticipating God’s hand moving me forward in this area: writing, speaking, connecting with others…all for His glory.

What are your what ifs?

Wanna take the challenge with me?

Leave a comment below with your 5 questions,

then head over to the Faith Barista Jam & see what changes

God is doing in others as they ask themselves, “What if?”

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23 Comments

  1. I’ve asked all these questions, too. But ended up at the same place. You get to a point where it’s not about the results. It’s about the reason we take risks — because He is worthy of all we are and all we have.

    Check out today’s post on my devotional blog — on taking the challenge. I know you’ll love it. http://www.lightformylamp.com

    Amazing how we could be writing about the same thing at the same time. I love this.

    1. Melissa says:

      Cassandra, I noticed on your MoonBoat Cafe posting that we were tracking, so I’m interested to read your other post. You’re right: He is worthy of all we have. I don’t know what this means for me right now, but I like the preparation aspect of it. :)

  2. jasonS says:

    Melissa, someday is today! It may not be the fullness of it, but it can begin today. Every significant thing in my life that I feel is a fulfillment of destiny in some way has come through a process. Honestly, the things I was most afraid to do are some of the most fulfilling things to me now because it’s why I was created. I had a thousand reasons why it wouldn’t work, but tasting His blessing in it made me hungry for me.

    I’m stepping out into some new things now too. Glad we can step together. :)

    1. Melissa says:

      I read your post today but haven’t been able to comment on it yet. It is so good! What your describing is so familiar to my husband & myself. Praying for you as you step out into His leading too!

  3. Susan says:

    Now that’s a “what if” I need to remember! “What if God could use me now, in my imperfection, when it’s even more to His glory?” I will never be perfect. I will never be worthy. Ah, effective tools to keep us still, silent, immobile. But it is through my very brokenness that God sends up new growth. Love that.

    1. Melissa says:

      Glad it resonated with you Susan! It’s so easy to forget that we’re not the ones in control or making the difference. Even Moses, in the awesome presence of the spirit of God was more concerned about his deficiencies then the fact that God was sending him. Obviously if God is telling us to do something He’s got a plan for us to accomplish His will. Thanks for the comment. :)

  4. Glynn says:

    What if it’s not about me? Whatif it’s about Him? What would be different?

    Good post, Melissa.

  5. HisFireFly says:

    “My ministry, my life, my giftings should all point back to God.”

    Amen and Amen!!

    I echo your conclusion – it is NOT about us at all.

  6. I used to think if I felt joy in something, it must be from me. Took me a long time to figure out that my will could equal His will if I walked hand in hand with Him, that pleasure I felt could be Him through me. And if we are too perfect, it becomes all about us. He shines through the cracks. Great post!

  7. Melissa, it is a humbling thing to say to God, “I am imperfect, but I’m willing to step out. Use me, Lord.”

    Then, wait, prostrate, not knowing, but trusting the when and what.

    The most important is that you are now willing and available.

    That is a bigger step of faith that a lot of people underestimate.

    As He leads us with one oppty at a time, no matter how small or big, God uses us now. Because, it is our faith that pleases him, not our perfection.

    I am standing up and cheering for you, Melissa!

    1. Melissa says:

      Amen Bonnie! This challenge has been good for me. Thanks for the encouragement and support!

  8. Duane Scott says:

    Your last “what if” really hit home for me. I always think, God will use me in the future. I’m going to open my eyes to the things I can do everyday for Him. Thanks!

    1. Melissa says:

      There’s a verse in 1 Timothy about not letting others look down on you for being young that has always been a double edged sword for me. On the one hand, it’s encouraging because it means we can be valid, although inexperienced. On the other, it made me think that I should expect others to loom down on me because I’m inexperienced. Once we realize that God is working through us and doesn’t require us to have certain credentials, experiences or education to use us we are an even more powerful tool in His hands.

  9. Rebecca says:

    I’ve always let those thoughts of “I’m not experienced enough, not knowledgable enough, not capable of doing” stop me from so many things. Thanks for speaking to that worry. I love your thoughts on it.

    1. Melissa says:

      Thanks Rebecca! God is definitely able to meet us where we’re at and take us further than we can imagine!

  10. bahava says:

    your what if’s resonate with me so much! I too struggle with letting myself focus on the now rather than that distant future when God can use me then. Glad you’re stepping out even if it is a shift in perspective–because that’s huge!

    1. Melissa says:

      I’d like it to be a stepping out in action as well, I guess I just don’t know how to approach people or situations for this. :) I’m glad it resonated with you. It’s nice to know I’m not crazy. Haha!

  11. Hi Melissa,
    I’m coming over from Marilyn’s site — nice to meet you here! I love your questions and your honesty. And I think the what if? question is great one to ask. It’s a question that got me over the hurdle from non-belief to faith…a questioning, wrestling faith, but faith nonetheless. For many, many years I assumed I needed to have all the questions answered before making the leap of faith. Finally, I just realized I can leap without having all the answers. Truly a “what if?” moment that changed my life!

    1. Melissa says:

      I’m so glad you stopped by. I liked what you had to say about faith – shouldn’t all faith be questioning and wrestling? God doesn’t expect us to blindly obey Him, but to have knowledge and understanding behind our beliefs. That way when someone asks us to give an evidence of what we believe we have conviction behind it instead of just rote recitation. Thanks for your kind words and hopefully you stick around for more. :)

  12. brett barner says:

    Melissa, I ask myself these same questions. I get stuck in the fantasy of what if and not focused on making them a possibility. Thanks for this reminder. :)

    1. Melissa says:

      Brett, I feel like I still need to step out in this in a tangible way. I’m currently praying about ways that God can make this an action as well as a perspective change. Praying for the same thing for you! :) Thanks for the comment.

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