Qualified

In the past several years I have learned so much about how to become the person God intended me to be…how to live out my faith and what that means. This is such a process and I am still learning so much, but I love the idea of passing on what God is using to shape me to help others.

One of the biggest lessons seems so simple but it has really changed the way I look at how to live out my faith. God has given us all gifts and talents to enable us to put our faith into action. But so often we disqualify ourselves. What do we believe disqualifies us? Worthiness, time, skills, or thinking we have to do something huge are among the factors I have dealt with in my own life or have seen others wrestle with.

Do you ever think…someday when I finally get it together I want to…. (fill in the blank here)…spend more time reading the Bible, invite that new family down the street over for hamburgers, spend time with that coworker in hopes of encouraging them and possibly sharing my faith, serve the homeless, teach a class at church, etc. etc.

So often we have these internal dreams, but dismiss them until a later date, when we aren’t so busy or so unorganized or when our faith is stronger. For those of us who live in relationship with Christ our hearts are full and we are taught in the Bible to put our faith into action. James speaks to this repeatedly: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves, do what it says.”([1:22]) “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” ([2:17])

This isn’t something we as Christians do to check a box, this is something we truly do as an outward expression of gratitude for what God has done for us!

Do you ever feel not just too busy, but disqualified? Like you aren’t worthy/good enough/together enough to put your faith into action? I know I have felt this way so often because life is messy and imperfect.

Or do you ever feel like what you are doing in this stage of life isn’t enough? I think that we forget that serving God and putting our faith into action takes on many forms…raising your children and teaching them Jesus, taking extra time to meet and talk to your new neighbor, taking care of sick relatives, inviting a friend who needs to talk for coffee, being nice to that annoying co-worker…this is how we live out our faith in day to day life.

Humility…this is obviously an attribute we are all to possess and practice, but do we ever confuse humility with fear? Are we being humble or afraid? Are we disqualifying ourselves instead of trusting the One who qualifies and justifies us?

To be honest I have dealt with this. I thought for years about writing but was afraid I was making it about me. I didn’t want to be what Matthew 6 warns against- “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven” (6:1). I am still struggling with living this out.

I know that God sees our hearts and our true motivations. If we ask Him to keep us humble and keep our motives in check then I believe He will. But we can’t allow fear to stop us from doing the very things God has called us to do, using the gifts that He gave us!

I could write pages on how much I do NOT have it together. I can be selfish and impatient and have a bad attitude. How can someone like me possibly love others well or be qualified to do anything for God? The beauty of God’s perfect grace is that He uses imperfect people. Our humanity does not disqualify us from living out our faith and using the gifts God gave us!

Am I qualified to write or to encourage or to teach my kids when I mess up and fail daily? My answer is absolutely. There has only been one perfect person to live on this earth. In fact-His death and resurrection are atonement for my mess-ups and mistakes. His death and resurrection qualify us. I am so very thankful for the grace of God.

We have an Enemy who is in the disqualifying business. He is a liar. So instead of listening to those lies and to fear, let’s choose the truth. We were all given gifts. And God gave them to us to use for Him and others-for eternal purposes.

Peter tells us, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter [4:10])

I love the fact that what we may see as small or insignificant is definitely neither! And we don’t have to be afraid. In fact we most surely should not be afraid but instead be bold and courageous.
I am surrounded by smart, fabulous women who are using their gifts. They are daily living out their faith in amazing ways that inspire me so much…here are a few examples:

My mother-in-law is a wonderful cook. She can make something fancy, she can make something southern and she can make anything in between. She also bakes like nobody’s business. God has given her a fabulous gift for hospitality. So for her, a big part of using the gifts God gave her is to cook for others. With every meal or desert she prepares and serves she is being “a faithful steward of God’s grace,” She is sharing Jesus’ love and serving others by preparing meals for them.

One of my best friends is a fabulous decorator. She is so talented and her house looks like a magazine. The most awesome blessing is to give her a few hours alone in your house. She works magic! For so many home décor is not a gift, but they would love for their homes to look beautiful. Many of us are too busy or certainly could not afford a decorator. When this friend finishes her work she refuses to be paid—this is how she uses her gifts to bless others.

My youngest sister loves babies and is the most kind and accepting soul you could ever meet. She became a part of an organization called Young Life in college and grew so much in her faith as a result. A few years ago she gave up her teaching career to use her gifts in a different way. She wanted to love on babies and serve and teach and love on their mamas too. So she is now on staff with Young Lives, which ministers to teenage mothers. Leaving a career for ministry can be very messy and imperfect, but the blessings so outweigh that! I have loved watching my baby sister use her gifts to help transform lives.

I can think of literally hundreds of examples of women who are living out their faith and using their gifts and making an impact on others that is eternal. It is so cool to watch and I’m excited to get to be a part of it. So in the middle of life, when we are busy, when we are afraid, when we are just tackling chores or running a company or running a household, we are qualified by God’s grace to live out our faith, imperfectly and beautifully.

 

Grace Workman is a wife of 13 years and Mom to a 6 year old athlete and a 9 year old ballerina. She loves spending time with family and friends, running, decorating and being outside when it’s warm. Grace loves summer and spending time at the beach. Her passion is living out Psalms 107:2 and encouraging women in their journeys of faith.