How would you describe your lifestyle? Hmm, that is a tough question. It is like someone asking you to sum up your world in ten words or less. Maybe you are like me and have two lifestyles- The Imaginary Lifestyle and the Reality Lifestyle! Imaginary consists of a lot of lasagna, an ocean view and a permanent pedicure while Reality is filled with phone calls, to do lists and a strained muscle in my leg that is never going to heal!
The definition of lifestyle is the habits, attitudes, tastes, moral standards, economic level, ect. that together constitute the mode of living of an individual or group.
While you are thinking about how to define your lifestyle, I would like to give you a little back story about mine.
When I was in elementary school, my dad served as the youth minister of our church. For any of you ladies who’s husband works in church ministry, you know that the job does not just include your husband, but both of you. My mom was my dad’s right arm, his secretary, his balancer. They worked well together.
Being from the south, our churches were definitely family oriented. I started to notice that our other church staff member’s wives had leadership roles in the church as well. Husbands and wives taught our children’s Sunday school classes together or served in our nursery. I developed the opinion that you had to be married to truly minister to others. Oh, the ideas of an eight year old!
I have written several blogs about my testimony that I would love for you to read if you have not already. You can find the link for them in the category box listed under “Testimony”. I had a hard time with God while I was growing up. I desperately wanted to serve in church ministry so that I could make God proud of me. If He saw me sacrificing my time and working hard, maybe I could get Him to like me and want me. However, I was sure that I had to be married in order to make a real difference, so I waited. And waited. And waited! I knew that eventually God would send someone for me to marry so that I would be complete and ready to serve Him.
Side note- Kids can come up with some of the most off the wall views and beliefs. Because they do not know that what they are believing is incorrect, they can pattern their lives around completely false ideas like I did. Listen to your kids. Just give them the freedom to brainstorm and ramble out loud. You never know what they may be thinking!
Well, I moved through my early twenties still waiting for God to bless me with a mate so that I could be useful or the Kingdom. Truthfully, I was a little resentful of other married couples serving in our church. They were doing great things, having a wonderful time and pleasing God. When would it be my turn? How much longer did I have to just sit and wait?
The truth is, none of us ever has to wait for any specific thing to happen to make us worthy of serving our Lord. We do not have to be married, over 40, have a masters degree or attended church all of our lives. The only two requirements that must be met for us to minister to others about God is that we must be Christians and we must be led by God to serve in a specific area. After we have done that, it is not only our privilege to serve God, it is our responsibility.
John 12:26- If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am , there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
Through a series of circumstances, I was asked to teach a first grade Sunday school class when I was in my late 20s. I was engaged to be married when I was invited to take this class, so I believed that my theory was being proved true. No one had considered me capable of doing anything for the Kingdom until that point, but now that I was getting married, I had value.
Can I just say that Satan had me so blinded and I allowed it? How long he held me back with his lies that I would never make an impact until I was married. I believed that I was not acceptable, not good enough on my own. The reality is, I should have never stood shyly in the background waiting to be invited into involvement. The church is the family of God and I was a part of that family. I do not hide away and wait for someone to include me in my own family. I jump right in because I know that I belong there. The same is true for us in ministry and serving. As a Christian, the church is your place. You do not have to wait for a formal invitation and a drumroll announcement. If you feel the Holy Spirit moving you towards a specific ministry within your church, tell someone. Most likely they will be thrilled to have you!
Getting back to my story, God had a plan as He always does. He was going to get rid of this ridiculous marriage notion once and for all. Just weeks before my wedding, I called off my engagement. I was devastated on so many levels. One of those was believing that my precious little Sunday school class would be taken away from me. There was no way that they would want me to stay now that it was just me alone again.
Well, was I in for a big surprise! When I told my children’s minister what had happened, she was of course very sympathetic and kind to me and then she blew me away by asking if I planned to continue teaching! What? She wanted me, even though it was just me. She believed that I had something to offer. God was working through this dear lady to clear up some old and misdirected views that I had.
That happened almost five years ago and I am still teaching that class to this day!
So, let’s go back to the beginning of this blog and I will ask you again, how would you describe your lifestyle? Is yours one of waiting to plug in to the life that you were called by God to live? Sister, I wasted so much time telling myself that it was not time yet and I had to wait. None of us ever has to wait to live a lifestyle of Christianity.
Maybe you have not been called to be a deacon or sing in the choir. That is ok. Your ministry for the Kingdom of God can simply be the way that you live for Him. We hear this all the time but it is so true. Our life is the only Bible that some people will ever read. You do not have to do anything that requires confetti and a brass band. You do not have to to teach or preach or write a blog. You do not have to be married or be a mom or attend the same church as the rest of your family to live a lifestyle that reveals Christ.
When I turned 30, I really panicked. I realized just how much time I had wasted. Jesus started His earthly ministry at 30 and I felt like I was still wondering around waiting for something to happen for me. Over the last year, I have been learning more deeply that this life is not about me but rather what I can do for others.
God has ignited a fire in me for ministry, especially with women. I feel this urgency to make sure that you all know that you have value and worth in the Kingdom and that God is not holding you back because of anything. No matter what you have done, what kind of parent you were, how many times you messed it up, you have a life to live for God. Pattern your lifestyle after His. Share what God is doing in your life and what He is teaching you.. Regardless of what you think, people will listen. So many are searching for the hope and reassurance that God is still among His people and doing His work. We are a fallen world, no doubt, but we have only fallen as far as the Father’s hand. Let your lifestyle reflect that peace, faith and boldness every day!
John 10:28- I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.