How often have you asked the Lord for an assignment of sorts? “What do You want me to do?” How many times have you tried to answer His call, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” “Here am I. Send me” (Isaiah 6:8)! Perhaps, the question to consider asking first is, “Who am I?” Before trying to answer the call, “Send me,” maybe it would be better to say, “Conform me!” Have you ever heard someone say, “They just don’t understand me?” Some people demand to be understood by others. Ironically, they don’t even understand themselves! Consider this: if you don’t at least have an inkling of who you are in Jesus Christ, you’re not ready to go. For those who have been frustrated about not being sent, you might find yourself far less discouraged if you focused on being conformed to the image of Jesus. Embrace the process!
Empathy is important when trying to minister to others, therefore, it is necessary to be self-aware before being sent. Not in the sense of self-diagnosis or going to a therapist; rather, allowing Holy Spirit to reveal your true nature in Jesus Christ. If you’re not in a place where you love yourself as God loves you, you are not positioned to love others well. Galatians 5:14For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Knowing your design helps you “stay in your lane,” so to speak. It will aid you in staying focused on your assignment, once you’ve received it. In fact, there is a possibility of rejecting your calling if you are not aware of your purpose. When some individuals see others fulfilling their assignments, they desire theirs instead of their own. “I want to do that!” “I wish I was them!” Time out! You need to understand your own importance to God. Whatever assignment He has for you is vital to His Kingdom. If it’s important to Him, you may want to make important to you. If you are important to Him, and you are, then you are important! Don’t get jealous or envious, He has plenty to go around. One calling is no more important than another. The fact you have a calling in itself should put a smile on your face. Why? Because your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life!
Luke 10:19-20Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”
More than likely, the majority of the parents on the entire planet wonder how well they’re actually doing as parents. They question their abilities of parenting well. Of course, there also those who do not yet have children, but wonder what kind of parents they would be. If you fall into either of these categories, just know that you’re not alone. More importantly, take comfort in knowing God’s grace is sufficient for you and your child. There are numerous stories about those who turned out well in spite of having terrible or missing parents. In the meantime, what are some things to help parents, future parents and even grandparents do a better job? Remember, no one has taken Parenting 101. There is no such class. It’s OJT (on the job training) all the way!
One important step in parenting well is being self-aware. This requires honesty with yourself on the highest level. If you don’t really know who you are in Jesus Christ; what baggage you might be holding onto; the strongholds and belief systems that are planted in your mind, you will have a rough go of it. We all need to get things squared away first. It helps so much with clarity.
As Jesus said, “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5). In other words, you’ve got to deal with your own stuff in order to see clearly to help another.
If you don’t love yourself the way God loves you, you will not be able to love others well. If you’re not confident in who you are in Christ, your motives might be skewed. Those who are needy are the ones who tend to live through their children. That means what they do will not be done as much for their children as they would like to believe. In some cases, strings will be attached to gifts. One of them being affirmation. Think about this one: are you proud of your child’s accomplishment, or your parenting to get her or him there? Do you share their accomplishments with others to keep them informed and celebrate your child’s victory; or, are you looking for a pat on the back for great parenting? We all need to allow the Lord to show us the things we need to see in order to move forward. Please understand that this is not a call to perfection or some form of self-actualization –not by a longshot! Rather, it’s about connecting with the Ultimate Parent and being who you need to be for Him. That is when you will be who need to be for your child. Probably, no one will ever have all their “ducks in a row,” but that doesn’t mean he or she cannot parent well now. His grace is sufficient for you!
One of the most important things we can do, if not the most important, is connect them with God. Along with that, help them come into their identity and calling. Celebrating who God designed them to be, even if it is different than what we think it should be, is important. Our hopes and aspirations for them would serve them better if they’re centered on God’s perfect will for them. That might mean as they get older, they make decisions and choices we don’t understand at times. Our children cannot afford to have our missed dreams and opportunities pressed on them. In short, our children should not be forced to live our dreams instead of their own. By the way, God loves redemption, and that means He can redeem your calling if you’ve been missing it. That’s a matter of submission on everyone’s part.
Constant love and affirmation is vital for their confidence in who they are in Jesus. Love should never be attached to performance. When children know they’re deeply loved, they will be free to pursue God’s desires for them. Instilling in them the desire to seek His face is monumental! If you want your child to seek God’s face, then you need to seek His face. If it’s not important to you, why should it be important to her or him? Instilling a relationship with God requires your having one with Him. You are being watched!
Holding yourself in unforgiveness sabotages your relationship with others. It keeps you from moving forward. Those who have lived any length of time have done things they regret, but once they have repented and received God’s forgiveness, it’s time to let it go. There is a deserve or don’t deserve mindset that can move in if you don’t forgive yourself. This in turn affects your relationship with others, including your child. Subconsciously, when people feel they don’t deserve love, they push others away. Sometimes, children are recipients of that push, as well as God. If God forgave you, who are you not to do the same? Here is another reason this is important for your children: it helps them learn to leave it in the past and move forward. If they learn to hold their past against themselves by their parent’s example, they will have a terrible time coming into their God-given destiny. They’ll hold themselves back, as some of you might be right now. Whether or not you forgive yourself affects more than yourself. Ask God for help. His grace is sufficient for you! On the flipside, if they see the forgiveness and moving on, they’ll learn to do that too. Speaking of forgiveness: don’t be afraid to ask your son or daughter for forgiveness while owning up to things, if it should become necessary. It goes a long way in your relationship together.
Clearly there are more principles than these listed here. One final one for now is found in the book of James. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him (James 1:5).
There is an attitude that has invaded our culture and has been around for decades. There was even a song written about it in the 80s. Perhaps, you remember it: Working for the Weekend. When Friday comes, the whistle blows or the bell rings, you punch out or log out, and walk out from work; it’s the best day ever! But when Sunday night or Monday morning comes, it’s devastating. It’s the end of the world! Your morning routines begin, and you set yourself on autopilot for the rest of the week. You grind it out, day after day, looking for that blessed day to arrive, hoping it comes quickly. Repeat! It’s a way a life for many, and it really is no life at all.
The problem with this pervasive attitude is that it leaves so many missed opportunities on the table. It numbs the senses, and the blinds the eyes from seeing what’s in front of you. Of course, for a multitude of people, the reason they feel stuck in this cycle is simply because they hate their jobs, and are afraid to do anything different. To a degree, that’s another subject; but if that’s you, stop and consider your options. Ask the Lord to show you where you’re supposed to be. There obviously is a need for change, but not necessarily a change in occupation; although, it could be. Submission to the will of the God will absolutely break the cycle; but you have to be willing to change before any other modifications take place. With that, considering God’s opinion about who you are and what you’re supposed to be doing is paramount. It has to supersede anyone else’s, especially since any view that differs from His is wrong. The fear of man, or caring too much about what others think can really crush your God-given hopes, dreams and destiny. God has to be your First Love!
What about those missed opportunities? Let’s talk about some of those that are in front of everyone. Proverbs 11:30The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who is wise wins souls. What about sharing the love of God with those you work with? Perhaps, the reason you’re at your current position is that someone needs to experience His love and actually hear the Gospel. You just might be the one who makes a difference in someone else’s life. For some, that’s a no-brainer; but, sometimes we need a gentle reminder.
Philippians 16For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. In the process of perfecting the good work in us, God will use our circumstances to help mold us into the image of Jesus. One’s place of employment can often be a place of exposure. Meaning that environment may very well exert enough pressure to bring anything contrary to the nature of the God to the surface. It allows us to see something we may be unware of about ourselves, or force us to look at something to which we’ve been turning a blind eye. It gives us the opportunity to repent or even find healing for our soul. Sometimes people react to situations out of a lust they’ve tried to suppress, or a hurt that’s been haunting them for years. These conditions assuredly can push people to deal with what’s been lurking in their hearts.
Romans 8:28-29And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.
How many of you have wanted to be absolutely led by Holy Spirit where ever you find yourself? Did it occur to you that your place of employment can serve as a training center, if you allow it? Regardless of the type of work you do, He can lead you to do your best work ever. If for example, it’s become mundane for you, He can spice it by changing the way you do things. Just when you think you’re as efficient as you could possibly be, He can take you to a new level. All you have to do is surrender and be mindful. You may find unexpected creativity to solve problems for the institution or individuals. You may receive prophetic words that co-workers need to hear. By asking God what someone else needs in the moment does wonders when you need wisdom. Constantly praying in the Spirit while working, changes things –including the environment. A person’s lack of mindfulness may be what comes between them and that promotion they’ve working so hard to get. If you focus strictly on the 9:00 to 5:00, you’ll miss such opportunities.
Another consideration is glorifying God by doing things with excellence as an act of worship. Worship is a lifestyle; not a weekly event at church. The way you serve others may reflect the way you serve Him. If you find yourself looking to be pleased, try pleasing Him instead.
Ephesians 6:5-8Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
These are just a few things available to us in our day to day living. There’s so much more out there. If a particular day is important to God (even a Monday), it should probably be important to us. As it is written, “This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalms 118:24).