“You will never be worth anything.”
Those painful words spoken to me as a child have tangled me most of my life. When my abuser said them to me, I believed him. What four-year-old wouldn’t?
So when I got into ministry, I did so as a reluctant leader. I never felt like I had what it would take to do good things or make right decisions. And I was so scared to make a mistake.
When others would affirm my speaking or writing, I never really believed them. I thought they were just saying that because they had to. I couldn’t receive their compliments because I always doubted their motives.
I worried those who knew me back in my “party days” would publicly declare, “I knew her when! She isn’t who you think she is!” I was afraid my past disqualified me from speaking about faith and Jesus.
Let’s just say I haven’t lived a charmed life.
So rather than believe a life could be redeemed… instead of knowing I was truly forgiven… rather than trusting God would equip me… I limped into ministry.
… I felt ill-equipped and insignificant.
… I lacked confidence and therefore lacked courage.
… And I thought I had to prove my worth so my voice would be taken seriously.
I’d see all the “it” girls who seemed to have it all—a family, a book deal, a huge following, and all the right ministry friends. I’d compare their lives to mine, and feel lousy. They always seemed more holy, more put together and more talented.
“God, I can’t do this ministry thing. I’m nothing like those women.”
And one day, God spoke through a friend. To this day, her words navigate me through feelings of insignificance and inferiority in ministry all the time.
“You’re not equipped to handle their calling or their conflicts. Don’t be hungry for their lives. Be hungry for God instead.”
In that messy moment, I realized what was missing. I needed to want God more than anything else. More than her fame. More than her speaking calendar. More than her list of friends. More than her big book deals.
What I needed more than all of that… was an uncommon hunger for God.
The problem was that the “worthlessness” spoken by my abuser was still tangling me up. The less than lies were killing my confidence. And I realized that until I chose God above everything else, my incessant need for validation and acceptance would be anchored in the world.
Something shifted in me that day. And without realizing it then, I was choosing to step out of my common ways of walking out ministry… and embrace something new.
I began to sit with the Bible in my lap and read His Word regularly. I started my day praying for perspective and wisdom. I played worship music in my home. I began to pray for those women I’d been competing with, asking God to bless their ministries. I started counseling and invited the Holy Spirit to bring revelation and healing.
I was cultivating an uncommon hunger for God above everything else.
As long as I spend time with my Father, I stay fairly tangle-free from comparisons and jealousy. But when I feel the knots start to tighten, I’m quicker to see them and faster to take them right to Him. And He loosens the knot so I can breathe.
I get perspective again.
Let’s remember that God created us to be in community with Him, and it requires our effort. When we don’t connect, we don’t grow. We don’t heal from our past tangles. And we continue believing the lies of worthlessness that knot us up.
But when we seek God, we find Him. And He heals us so we can choose Uncommon living.
Whether we are ministering to our family or to an audience of women, our words and actions matter. Let’s allow God to restore our heart so we can be purposeful in how we live.
And let’s be women who crave Jesus more than success… more than recognition… more than anything.