Several years ago when I was still in Kansas City, in fact when I was in my internship there, a friend of mine had “let me have it”. She confronted me about a weak area in my personality and I was mortified that she had noticed some of my “issues”. For days I paced the empty aisles of the nightwatch prayer room like a woman on fire, pleading with Jesus to help me be more like Him. Jesus, you have to help me. Just get rid of this thing. Change me! Help! I wanted Jesus to make me like some of my fellow interns who were sweet and gentle all the time. You know, the ones who are quiet and don’t try to pick a fight with the cute guys in the internship. I wanted to not want to talk all the time and I definitely didn’t want to be loud and aggressive. Finally, the Lord had had enough and he spoke back to me, Brooke. I made you like this. I made you to be aggressive and communicative for a reason. I don’t want you to change who I’ve made you to be and I need you to trust me with the things that aren’t working. I gave you a sense of justice and a passion to make wrong things right. I made you an excellent communicator. I’ll fix the rest of it.
I confess that I am still, after all of these years, a work in progress. I put up walls of sarcasm and pride, get irritated easily and if I see some injustice happening, I consistently move ahead of God in resolving the issue instead of waiting for His timing and His heart in the matter. But I have come to learn that as frustrated as I become with myself sometimes, faith involves knowing and believing He is resolving those things in my heart that need to be healed and sanctified. I have come to the conclusion that He is the one that developed my personality and to covet someone elses personality would be an injustice in itself.
I think we can apply this to many areas of our lives. We can also covet a gifting that God has not actually given us. This is harmful for both the individual and the body of Christ. While someone is trying to operate in a gifting that the Lord has not given them, there is a deficit in another area of the body because they are using all of their energy trying to be someone they aren’t and not walking in the things the Lord has called them to do. A church wouldn’t hire a children’s pastor that feels awkward around kids. They wouldn’t let someone cook at church functions if they can’t boil water. When we fail to recognize we aren’t gifted in an area, we may end up being the one who serves cornbread that tastes like soap and making everyone in church gag (ask me about that story sometime).
The point is, don’t try to be someone you would like to be but just… aren’t. If several people have repeatedly told you that you are not gifted in what you are doing, first pray about it and ask Jesus if it is true. Listen honestly to the voice of the Holy Spirit and remain humble. It may be that there are areas you need to grow in before you are released in that area or maybe it’s something you would just really like to do and aren’t gifted at. That’s okay. It’s not the end of your life. The Lord has given you awesome gifts to serve the body, you just have to figure out what they are! This is an incredibly fun journey to have with the Lord. And whether you are shy and quiet or loud and obnoxious, remember that the Father created you with certain personality characteristics and you should own them! Yes, you may still need to work out a few weak spots but don’t walk in shame because you think you need to be someone else. He loves who you are!!
God doesn’t see as man sees. Imagine yourself as an older brother with several runts below you in age and stature. A famous prophet comes to your parents home looking to anoint a new king. Of course, you’ll get the title. The king is ALWAYS the firstborn. Everybody knows this. There is no question that you are the most qualified. But instead the prophet comes, sizes you up, and moves to the next oldest brother… then the next… then the next… then the next. After he has made his way down the row (and you are still seething that he did not choose you at first glance) the prophet asks where your very youngest brother is. The puny little brother, David. This is the brother that is so below you that his job in the family is to hang out with the smelly sheep all day, which was almost equivalent to a slaves position in that day. You try to rationalize why in the world God would choose David, of all people, and you finally come to the conclusion that the only reason David is chosen is because he’s a good-lookin’ kid… which makes you even more angry. So what do you do to make yourself feel better? You accuse him of pride and arrogance. I mean who does he think he is? He thinks he’s soooooo spiritual hanging out in the fields singing to God all day. He really thinks he’s something else. Spiritual pride. That’s what David has.
…… and this is the reason God did not choose Elia, David’s older brother. In fact, Elia had the same spirit as that of Saul, the current wicked king. What a train wreck Israel would be if Elia had gotten the position that he had wanted. He was full of jealousy and pride, himself… and God knew exactly what the state of his heart was.
David, on the other hand, had qualities that his family refused to acknowledge. But God saw them and chose Him because of these qualities. God looked at David’s heart and his family rejected him for it. God saw that David’s desire was to please Him and Him alone. His desire was to be holy… to not trust in his own accomplishments or talents but to trust that everything he had was given to him by God. David sought the Lord instead of the power and prestige of man. God chose David for His own pleasure. He knew David loved to sit under the pleasure of God and He knew David was grounded in the identity of His delight. This is what God looks for in a leader.
Over and over I have seen God choose those that others have rejected. In fact, in most cases, God chooses on purpose, and anoints those that have experienced rejection… at least the ones that refuse to have a bitter spirit. I have seen it in my own family, in fact. My great-grandfather, John Turner, was rejected and kicked out of his own home… he was ostrasized from His family as David was because of his true encounter with the living God. God went on to choose my great-grandfather to be the first spirit-filled missionary to northern India where the Lord used him to bring many to Jesus. Joseph, in the Bible, was rejected by his family and accused of pride. Every single one of the true prophets of Israel were rejected because of their rebukes to the leaders of Israel and accused of pride… and often murdered for speaking truth.
Bob Sorge in his book Dealing with Rejection and the Praise of Man, says that if you have a prophetic call on your life, chances are you will be rejected time and time again by religious leaders. Rejection is a training period for those who have a prophetic identity.
I know in moments of rejection in my own life… and I am currently still dealing with some of it that has happened recently… I have to really run to the Lord to learn how to walk out love and to continue to position my heart before the Lord, being careful not to grow bitter or to allow offense in my heart. It is rather difficult and I have repeatedly messed up but I know that without allowing the Lord to change my heart and help me to grow in love, I will not be pleasing to the Lord.
Joseph, in the book of Genesis, is one of my favorite characters in the Bible. His story inspires me to hope and dream and conquer difficulties. I have been identifying with him lately in the area of dreams.
To make a long story short, Joseph had a bunch of brothers who were jealous of the favor he had with their father. One night he has a dream that invokes even more jealousy, as he dreams that all 12 of them bow before him. In this part, we can learn wisdom from Joseph; just because you dream something does NOT mean you should share it with everyone. I’ve often wondered why the Lord gave Joseph this dream so early in his life and now I’m personally discovering why it is so significant. Before the dreams’ fulfillment, Joseph is trafficked to a slave trader, becomes falsely accused of a serious offense, and is thrown into prison. As Joseph remains faithful to the Lord through all of these trials, God lifts His Hand and promotes Joseph as ruler of the nation of Egypt… second in command to Pharoah, himself. One afternoon, during a crisis of famine his brothers come to him in need of food. As soon as they see Joseph they bow before him, not realizing that they are bowing before the brother that they betrayed years ago.
At the moment, I am going through a sort of frustrating, confusing and painful circumstance… not quite to the extent of Joseph’s circumstances but painful nonetheless. In November of 2007 I had a dream about the exact situation I am in. In the dream, all of the specific, negative circumstances that I am experiencing at the moment were happening in the first half of the dream… and then the scene switches and a curtain is lifted and in the second half of the dream there is finally a resolution to the problem. A really really good resolution.
As I read the story of Joseph during my lunch break today, I began to realize why I had that dream. God gave Joe that dream to remind him, when things got really bad… they would only get far better. They gave him hope when things looked as though they couldn’t get any worse.
So next time you are too tired to write down your dreams in the middle of the night, remember how important they can be your destiny. Remember how God can use them to offer hope.