Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Who I Am Designed To Be

This past weekend I attended the Bethel Church women’s conference, Women of Impact. It was great fun and I loved spending my Friday night and Saturday with some of my most favorite ladies. That kind of thing doesn’t happen nearly enough.

One of the workshops I attended was “Impacting your Future” which was taught by Pastor Shekina Gottlieb, one of the pastors on staff at our church. She spoke about becoming the “Me I’m Meant To Be” rather than the “Me I Want To Be”, or the “Me I Pretend To Be”, or the “Me I Think I Should Be”, or the “Me Other People Want Me To Be”, or especially the “Me That Fails To Be”.

It made me think, how long did I spend being the “me I thought I should be” or the “me I was pretending to be“? I know that the “me I wanted to be” was impossible, so for quite a while, I was just the “me that was failing to be“.

This quote put a whole new perspective on the subject for me.

"When you fail to become the person God designed you to be, all the rest of us miss out of the gift you were made to give." Shekina Gottlieb

Realizing this, that my failure to become who God designed me to be means that everyone else misses out on something that only I can give them, forced me to take another look at myself. If I don’t become the woman that God meant for me to be, my kids miss out on the mom they were meant to have. It means that my husband doesn’t get the wife he was supposed to have. My friends don’t get the relationship with me that they should have had. By neglecting myself, my dreams, talents and gifts, I do my loved ones a disservice.

So, really, it’s not all about me. Crazy thought, huh?

My unwillingness to do what God has put in my heart to do, because I am scared or feel unworthy or whatever, affects more than my life. It affects all the lives I am supposed to touch.

On one hand, that puts a huge sense of responsibility on my shoulders. I know that I am not yet who God meant for me to be, so how many relationships have I already missed the opportunity on because I spent so much time being the “Me that Failed to Be.”

On the other hand, this also frees me from the idea that pursuing my dreams and developing my gifts and talents makes me self centered. It’s not selfish. God made me with a specific purpose in mind, as he did every other person on the planet. I believe that he puts the seeds of that purpose in each individual in the form of our dreams. He means for us to follow them.

Imagine if Shakespeare had decided that writing wasn’t a job that could pay the bills and that he should be a stone mason instead. What if Leonardo DaVinci had given in to feelings of inadequacy and stopped painting and sculpting and imagining and dreaming. Or if Mother Teresa had listened to all those around her who told her that it was crazy to try to go to the other side of the world to work with the poorest of the poor in India.

Now, I know that we aren’t all meant to do things like this that make us famous or successful by the world’s standards, but that doesn’t mean that our impact on the world won’t be great.

There is a woman at our church that recently retired from the position of Nursery Director after more than 30 years of service. For the past 30 years, Miss Jennifer has cared for the babies of all the people that came to the church so that they could sit in the service and listen to the pastor and hear the Word of God. Her presence allowed those pastors with young children to minister to hurting people. She changed diapers, rocked infants to sleep, comforted scared toddlers and encouraged exhausted new mommies for 30 years. Outside of our church, very few people know her name, but I believe that her service has made her famous in heaven.

Billy Graham obviously was very successful in his evangelism ministry and crusades around the world. He’s a very effective speaker and many people have come to know the Lord as a result of his sermons, but he didn’t put on his crusades alone. Thousands of people were involved in putting the crusades together. Before Mr. Graham even came into town, many people had spend hundreds of hours in prayer for the event. People had to invite their friends. So many people worked behind the scenes using their gifts to organize, plan and make the crusades happen. There were hundreds of people who were there to pray for all those who answered the call to follow the Lord. Billy Graham couldn’t pray for each one himself. He needed all those mature believers there, ready to work one on one with people, praying for their needs and ministering in ways that he couldn’t from up on the stage.

I bring up these examples because I think that it is really easy for us to get caught up in the idea that to do something great for God we have to be one of the famous people. We have to be like Michael W. Smith, Joyce Meyer or Joel Osteen. We don’t. We have to be what God designed us each individually to be. We just have to be willing to do those things that he tells us to do.

So, what if, in your heart of hearts, you think that maybe you are supposed to be like the famous people? What then? I think you have to evaluate why you believe that. What are your motivations? Do you want that because being famous means you are important; because that’s the ruler you are using to measure your success? Or, do you believe that is God wants that for you, in spite of how you feel about it?

Recently, my husband met with the Senior Pastor at our church and was discussing the call that he feels God has on his life. He had the following conversation with the pastor:

“I just want to make sure that this is from God and is not something that I’m making up myself.”

The pastor looked him in the eye, “Does it scare you?”

“Absolutely,” Robert responded.

“Then it’s from God,” Pastor said.

So, if you believe that God has huge things for you to do, does it scare you? Do you feel inadequate to the task before you? If so, I believe that it is from God. I believe that he calls us to things that are bigger than what we feel we can do on our own because he wants us to rely on him completely. He wants us to know that what we are doing is not in our own power to accomplish. It‘s how he brings the attention and the glory back to himself.


For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
   Ephesians 2:10

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
   Ephesians 4:16


  1. WOW, this is just incredible!! I wish I could have gone to that conference, it sounds amazing. Next time you will have to let me know, maybe I could come up and join you...I have been praying for a while for a good conference, I don't know where to find one. I feel like you are miles ahead of most people, realizing that pursuing your calling is not self-centered, but selfless! This really helps me! I really can't wait to see the huge things God is going to do in your and Rob's life, I just feel God so strongly in your words!!

  2. We've been doing the conference about this time for the last three years. I'll let you know when I find out about the next one. In the mean time, I know that Women of Faith is going to Anaheim in September. I've been contemplating trying to get down there for it. I went about 3 years ago when it was in San Jose, and it was awesome! So encouraging. It was pretty instrumental in changing the direction of my life.

  3. Thanks to Tosh, I just found your blog, and am enjoying it. I've missed my family, living so far away, and enjoy getting to know you all again...
    Just a few thoughts. I used to worry about that, too. I wondered often if I had failed God because I got married young instead of becoming a missionary like everyone (including me) thought I was supposed to do. Then I realized that I couldn't think of a single person in the Bible who failed at what God had for them, even when they tried to fail. Jonah decided he was wasn't interested, but God "redirected' him. Moses thought he knew what God's plans were and acted, but God sent him out to spend time herding sheep until the time was right. Peter totally screwed up, but God forgave him and built him back up again. Paul completely missed the memo, and God had to have a little fact-to-face with him to set him straight.
    Once I realized that, I stopped worrying about it so much, trusting that God is perfectly capable of doing with me what He wants to, regardless of my weakness and failure, or even rebellion. God's plans are not YOUR job, they are HIS. He won't fail because we aren't good enough - he uses us anyway. That's what makes him God.

  4. The point isn't to make anyone feel guilty if they haven't done what yet what they feel called to do. It's to encourage people to make use of the gifts and talents that God gave them. For me, I know that God wants me to write. However, taking the time away from my family to do that, when I already am gone so much with my full time job, sometimes feels selfish to me. I had to realize that developing this talent isn't selfish. It's what God wants me to do.

    Your story isn't done yet. You may still be the missionary that you believed you should have been. I don't know what God has planned for either of us. But I'm excited to see what he has in store.

  5. That makes sense. I'm glad you no longer think that using your writing talent is selfish, because it isn't. I think what I was pondering when I read your blog was the pervasive idea in the Christian community that we have to somehow read God's mind and figure out what he wants us to do, and we are afraid that we might fail at either figuring it out or doing it right. And, like you described, that if it isn't specifically God's "will", then it is selfish. That bifurcation causes a lot of unnecessary guilt. You're a good writer, and writing just because you love it and you want to is okay, too. Your daughter will grow up watching you and learning that her talents are valuable and worth developing too.