By Tina Larson
I have wasted an awful lot of ministry opportunities paralyzed by my insecurities.
“God, You can’t use me… because I’m not relevant anymore to college students or young staff… because my world is taking care of little ones and running our home… because I don’t have time to listen to what is trending now, so I can’t relate to them… or because I’m too old.” (This one comes up more and more as the age span between me and students keeps increasing!!)
“God, You can’t use me because I’m not spending enough time in the Scriptures… or prayer… or witnessing.”
“God, You shouldn’t use me because I’m too fat or I’m not as gifted in relationships or ministry as Susie Q.”
“You shouldn’t use me because I don’t have enough training.”
“You shouldn’t use me because I really blew it this week by ______________ (fill in the blank), so I couldn’t possibly be used by You for anything good.”
Thankfully God has addressed my heart and my thinking in these conversations. You might have noticed that as I shared all these excuses born of my insecurities, my focus was always on me. The way I saw it, God was limited because of my limitations. Well, if God working effectively depends on me being capable and me being put together and my indefatigable strength, I’m in trouble. If I must always be prepared, or like Mary Poppins, always practically perfect in every way…then my inadequacy would be a major reason for my opting out of opportunities.
But in the midst of these arguments, God has faithfully and persistently reminded me that it is about Him! He has consistently taken me to 2 Corinthians 3:4-5: “Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.”
I like how the Expanded Bible translates this! “We can say this, because through Christ we feel certain before God [have confidence in God’s presence; or can trust in God]. We are not saying that we can do this work ourselves [ are able/competent/adequate to consider anything as from ourselves]. It is God who makes us able to do all that we do [ But our ability/competence/adequacy is from God].”
My confidence in taking steps to minister is not based on anything “me” or “my!” It is all God. ALL God. I need to say it again: ALL GOD!!
My insecurities have hindered me in many ways, but I’d like to share one specific way they have impacted me. Though I really don’t imagine retiring from the joys of ministry anytime soon, here I am closing in on the retirement years. Because I have not worked as a paid Nav employee for all these years, I will not qualify for Social Security benefits or retirement benefits. I regret that now. I never thought of this in my early years. My insecurities kept me from feeling I deserved to be paid for my efforts. I think my reasoning was: If I’m not paid, people can’t expect too much from me, so I won’t disappoint them or reveal my weaknesses and inadequacy. Fortunately, Ken has raised enough funds over our years on staff for us to live freely, and the immediate needs for my funding haven’t been strong. But still, I wish I had taken the hard steps of moving forward as a paid staff… both for the future retirement benefits and for the confirmation of my contribution.
I want to encourage you to move from your insecurities and weakness into the greatness of our God. Maybe that will mean trusting Him for funding to get paid for what you do? Or maybe it will mean saying yes to something you don’t feel adequate or qualified but called to do? Whatever it looks like for you, remember God delights to use imperfect, flawed, weak people in mighty, glorious and eternal ways!
I met the Navigators in my first weeks of college on the recommendation of a brother of a friend. I had only become a believer the month before so I’ve spent almost all of my believing life in the Navigator family, 39 of those on staff. Ken and I have 3 adult children and 6 grandchildren. I’m a sometimes confusing mix of strategic thinker and homemaker. I love this season of serving alongside Ken as the “First Lady” of Collegiate!