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God’s Call to Rest By Andrea Leigh Capuyan

God’s Call to Steward Leaders – Rest

As leaders we easily can spend our days focused on growth, forward movement, flourishing – all good things, but for today I invite you to contemplate how God calls you to steward your life and work when you rest in His redemption.

“It feels like taking a deep breath of fresh air. The first in a long time.” That is the sensation Susan used to describe how it felt her first day of work in her new ministry position. She had a sense of certainty and purpose. This opportunity was after all a perfection marriage of vocation and passion and story. However, in unsettling moments when she was honest, she felt fear. Fear that this calling was all a pipe dream, and she needed to make sure she got it right. Perhaps God was standing by to simply break her, and she was responsible for any difficulty that might come.

She worked diligently.  She was insightful. She was quick to evaluate, finding gaps and what should be done better. Never one to take compliments she humbly praised God for everything that went well, and she assumed she was to blame whenever there were problems. She wasn’t one to ask for help. She was an independent, problem-solver. Instead of feeling a sense of freedom in her decision-making, she felt trapped. Everyday felt like a test. All the while the weight of responsibility for the ministry became more and more of a burden.

Then everything suddenly was crashing. Fundraising was taking a nose-dive. Folks were quitting. And finally, she found herself sitting across from a woman, listening to a story which frightened her. It frightened her because it felt too familiar – it was Susan’s past, who she had been in one of the darkest moments of her life. While she tried to listen, she had this deep sinking fear that nothing she could do would be good enough to stop this woman from repeating the same mistakes.

Susan thought, “I am supposed to stop this. I am supposed to make a difference in her life.” Yet, all Susan could see were the pieces of her own story where she was ashamed. All the confidence she had in her calling began to crumble because she thought this was proof that she would never make an impact for God. Surely this was proof that she had not done enough to make up for her mistakes from her past. She was not wise enough, humble enough, good enough, or worthy to be of use to God. She just needed to work harder – to be better.

She felt empty, barely able to breathe…

Perhaps there are parts of Susan’s story which resonate for you, I get it. Me too. One of the challenges we face as leaders, as stewards, is learning how trust God with our journeys and our callings. One pitfall can be to view calling, ministry and work with an “owner” mindset. It begins subtly – MY calling, OUR ministry, and MY work. Can you hear who holds ownership? From there it snowballs, suddenly we are stuck on a hamster wheel. We are constantly running trying to make-up and trying to measure-up. Atoning for our story becomes our burden, and it colors God’s calling. Operating under the burden of self-atonement can produce some of following in us:

  • False empowerment and an aggrandized sense of responsibility;
  • Always comparing myself and the ministry with others;
  • Pushing an agenda and thinking we know best for others;
  • Fixating on our past – living in the fantasy of an “if only” world.

This burden can result in discounting the power of God in our life and a lack of gratitude for what He is doing. Living under the burden of self-atonement reinforces the well-hidden lie – I am not trusting in God’s provision for my redemption. This is not the way of life God intends for His stewards. God’s calling for us is a blessing, an easy yoke.

God redeems my story to live under His mercy, forgiveness and provision. GRACE – undeserved and abundant.  This is not the same as atoning for my story, which is often driven by fear and duty. If I believe Scripture, then I acknowledge – only Jesus Christ atones, only Jesus Christ redeems, not me. I can rest in what He’s done and what He is doing still. The blessings of a “steward” mindset is I believe I am entrusted, empowered and invited into God’s story – not mine. When we rest in God’s redemption, this brings clarity to God’s calling and we:

  • Welcome humility and embrace limitations;
  • Do not live in the fantasy of what could be, but in the reality of who we are – broken and beautiful;
  • Make space for grief, forgiveness and compassion;
  • Release our agenda, instead LISTEN;
  • Believe God is always and continually transforming us and others, so our prayer becomes, “God, what do you want me to see?”
  • HOPE – because no matter the outcome, we will Praise God

Resting in God’s redemption frees us to redefine the impact of calling, ministry and work, not by the metric of proven results, rather, calling, ministry and work are part of our expression of daily worship.

If you find yourself today like Susan, barely able to breath. I invite you to pause and rest in God’s redemption. He’s got you. And He declared, “IT IS FINISHED!”, and He breathed His last breath for you.

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Andrea Leigh Capuyan is the Executive Director of the Laurel Pregnancy Center.

 

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