“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5)
For several years every spring, I would spend three days in Colorado brainstorming with other women who were in the position of leading Women’s Ministries around the country. Some of them were well known authors and bible teachers. Some of them, such as myself, were “what’s your name again?” The object of our gathering was to share the ways we were doing ministry to women in our mega churches. What’s a mega church, anyway? I don’t find Jesus even talking about building a mega church. Anyway, when our time together was finished, we would each pack up our suitcases with new ideas, strategies, and plans; and fly home with renewed commitment to turn our women’s ministries into the ones that were successful in the other “mega churches.” I would return to the church where I was on staff, gather my leadership team, and share all the new, improved, bigger and better projects and proposals we were going to implement into our ministry to women. For the most part, it didn’t take long to realize many of the new and improved ideas didn’t work, didn’t go over well, or didn’t fit into what God’s plan was for our ministry.
Though I enjoyed the fellowship with the women in Colorado, I learned a good lesson when I left the mile-high-city and returned to my state on the Great Lake. And it is my next lesson for each of us as we journey with Christ. The lesson is this: imitation can easily limit our uniqueness. There is always the temptation to watch the people around us and try to emulate them in their style, their work, their mannerisms, even their beliefs. But when we do that, we lose the unique ways God created us. God has given each of us talents, gifts, and abilities to use for his glory. Every one of us is special, unmatched, and individual. God didn’t create us on an assembly line. I’m sure we all have someone that we admire, but can you imagine how boring and monotonous life would be if we were all that person? We are not carbon copies of one another. God created us to be originals! We need to learn how to be content with the original that God designed us to be. And once we reach that level of contentment, we discover we enjoy our journey with Christ a whole lot more.
I finally took all the women’s ministries ideas, plans, program, projects, and proposals; packed them up in a neat little box and tucked them away. I began to focus attention on seeking God and his will for myself and the women I led. I asked him to fill me with his Spirit and use the unique gifts he had given me to bring to ministry. And you know what, it worked! At least it seemed to for a “what’s your name again” woman like me. I encourage you to try it also in your journey with Christ.