I just got off the phone with my sweet, spitfire of a mentor, who calls all of heaven and earth to bend their ear at the sound of her mere laughter… She has a name, but I will refer to her today as Mrs. Moses, for a mighty deliverer indeed she is! (*wink)
My heart is full. What an incredible gift we are to each other in the body of Christ when we learn to get in our place and release encouragement to each other.
God continues to do so much in me so fast that I can barely keep up, let alone record it all, but one of the ongoing processes underneath involves calling, leadership, and mission.
It’s amazing to sit where I am today and remember that for so much of my young adult life, I begged God to be ordained! I had longed to receive the honor of an official title, to be empowered to discover what leadership potential might exist within this shy, passionate, complicated girl… After all the obstacles of health, family/motherhood, widowhood, etc., God had finally launched me into a leadership position that made way for my ordination – only to then turn my world around again and send me home to write.
I am a pastor, an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church, and absolutely adore being a part of pastoral ministry in the church. But God has spoken His primary call over my life loud clear throughout the last year:
“You are mine. I am your Alpha and Omega. Your life begins and ends with me. Your day begins and ends with me. Your thoughts begin and end with me. Sit in my presence. Hear my voice. You must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you (Jeremiah 1:7). And write. Write. Write. And write some more.”
Throughout the last year, since shifting from pastoral ministry in our beloved local church to a ministry of writing that is still being born, I have been learning FOCUS. (Feel free to skip or skim the bullet points listed below!)
- I live on an active but small (intimate) University campus that functions as boot camp for the future pastors, Christian counsellors, and educators that will shake our world with the love of God – opportunities and activities everywhere. (My heart bleeds for the girls I long to mentor on a daily basis… I am always aware of their presence, but have limited time to offer them.)
- I only have 2 kids, but it feels like 6 a lot of the time? My sister has 5, so I know what that looks like. But still, being mom to these dynamic, talented, brilliant, active girls through love, loss, and love again – on the go through so much change and so much activity… takes a huge portion of the strength allotted to me for each day. My girls will NOT get my leftovers. Their souls are being shaped as we speak and their minds are being formed. Their spirits are intuitive and receptive…
- I am still trying to figure out how to be a wife to the craziest and busiest man in the universe, who is wild for adventure, driven toward achievements, and broken over the lost and hurting in the world. He lives to fill every space with some form of fun, missional activity.
- I’m not even going to mention house work.
- Or finances and paperwork and scheduling – which slay me on a daily basis and I always mess something up (if not most things up).
- And the cooking, meal planning, and grocery shopping… which are supposed to just happen and not count? but seriously?
- We are engaged in our local church (and loving it!), serving in prayer team, worship team, young adults (Brent), and other.
- We are actively pouring into our community relationships, investing in people outside our faith world, and loving it.
- We meet weekly with a “missional community” that seeks to encourage each other as we share God’s love around our town.
- I am still a daughter, a sister, and a friend and long to stay connected to a large and complicated family network of important people in my life.
- I usually have at least one fellow “griever” who I am mentoring and/or ministering to.
- I am an intercessor and spend much of my day in spiritual warfare over an individual, the whole Church, my family, or the nations…
- I accept one or two speaking engagements/retreats each year.
WE ALL HAVE THIS LIST! I did not write that so you would think, “Oh, look at Natasha’s life.” I am well aware that YOU ARE JUST AS BUSY IF NOT MORE SO. (I actually find it so helpful sometimes to list off all the things warring for attention in my mind so I can look at them, sort through them, and discern where to go from there.)
Life is, in a nutshell, insane.
SO… what does it mean to be a child of God? What does it mean to be a leader in the Church? What does it mean to be missional for Jesus in the messy chaos of my own house? I can’t go to an office in a church building any more and say, “Here, I am a leader. Here, I am a pastor. Here, I am missional.”
It’s just me right now. Here, in my mess.
I certainly can’t answer all of those questions right here and now, but here are some very important truths that I have to nail to my forehead in order to make it through this season of my life:
EVERYTHING FIGHTS AGAINST FOCUS, BUT FOCUS IS NECESSARY FOR FRUIT.
Even though we know this, we seem to keep forgetting… The enemy’s primary scheme against godly people is distraction and busyness, often leading to discouragement and burnout.
We place WAY more demands on each other in the Church, in our families, in our marriages, on our kids, to our friends THAN GOD DOES.
God requires EVERYTHING from us, but it is focused. It is simple. It is sure and true. It isn’t scattered, like running a million miles per hour while distracting stimuli fire at lightening speed from all directions…
How can anyone hear and discern the voice of God in that kind of living?
AND, how can anyone follow God, lead the Church, and be missional without being led by the voice of the Living God?
God isn’t the one standing behind us with a whip, scattering the flock. “Sheep are not driven, but led.” – Mrs. Moses 🙂
Every morning, I wake up to an urgency in my spirit that says, “GET IN YOUR PLACE AND BE FRUITFUL THERE. LISTEN TO ME AND OBEY. DON’T GO TO THE LEFT OR TO THE RIGHT. FIX YOUR EYES ON ME. BE WHO I CALLED YOU TO BE. SERVE HOW I’VE GIFTED YOU TO SERVE. AND BEAR MUCH FRUIT.”
There is no fruit, where there is no focus.
As a kingdom employee, my present assignment is – write! Like it says in Jeremiah, God has put [His] words in [my] mouth (Jeremiah 1:9). Even though I am still learning how to write a whole book, how to express God’s words and heart in purity, without contamination… MY GREATEST FRUITFULNESS WILL COME OUT OF FOCUSED OBEDIENCE TO GOD’S DIVINE WILL FOR MY LIFE.
And my greatest enemy is DISTRACTION.
It is in this day, in this hour, that I am learning how to be a pastor. Here, I am learning how to be a leader. Now, I am learning what it means to be missional.
Being a follower of Jesus means listening, obeying, and bearing fruit for the kingdom of God.
And believing in Jesus = leadership, because no matter who you are, what your personality is, or what you are doing in your day to day life, the Creator of heaven and earth lives inside of those who make their home in Him.
Do you believe that “Jesus in the form of His Church is the hope of the world?” and “Do you understand that you are that church?”
Leadership in the Lord is about recognizing my environment (I am in the world), and recognizing the divine power that lives inside of me at all times – in my every day circumstances, as much (if not more) as my professional ones.
I cannot separate Holy Spirit (the Person) from who I am and how I respond to my kids at any given moment, or what my thoughts sound like at the end of a long day… HE IS WITH ME WHEREVER I GO AND WHEREVER I AM HE IS THERE ALSO – in power and perfect love.
Real life and divine power have to intersect in order for me to bear fruit, the kind that is lasting (John 15:16).
Being missional is about connecting my professional and every day happenings (the world my physical body touches on a day to day basis) with Holy Spirit who resides within me, creating a channel that moves through me to release divine power and perfect love into the relationships, organizations, and human lives around me.
It means learning to connect the channels and release Holy Spirit to minister, save, transform, shift atmospheres, change cultures, and topple governments… THROUGH THE EVERYDAY CHANNELS THAT EXTEND FROM MY VERY REAL HUMAN PERSON.
You and I have to guard our time with the Shepherd and foster the life of His Spirit within us if we are to live lives of kingdom impact.
What is God saying to you today? What matters to His heart today? Who is He trying to love through you today?
Get in your place, beloved. Tune in to His voice. And open the channels, in the midst of messy, everyday humanity to see Jesus change the world.