I sat across the table from the new Executive Director. A job that I held for seven years. She explained how many hours she was working and justified them because she had so much to learn. She wants to get it all right and not make any mistakes. She said she has to spend the time there to ensure everything is okay.
She explained how she had made a mistake. Statements were sent out wrong and a donor was upset and she had to explain what happened and ensure them it wouldn’t happen again. It was a large donor and she was concerned this would hurt their relationship. I could see the fret and worry in her eyes. Something that I carried with me for many years.
She said, “I don’t want to make mistakes”. I exclaimed back, “you will and when you do it will be a glorious moment that God can use to strengthen the ministry, display your sincerity and concern to donors, and to develop a relationship with a stranger.”
You see she is called to serve for a purpose we do not know. She is there to do a specific job that God has given her to do. I did my job and now she does hers. She was called to be obedient and serve using her gifts and talents, but not because she is perfect or ever will be. The ministry doesn’t need perfection. The ministry needs a willing servant.
I was in the Navy for two years after high school. I got out early because my two years of partying and drinking led me to getting pregnant. My boyfriend and I prepared to get married and in order to be with him and start our ill prepared family I choose to get out of the Navy early.
I spent two years drinking and waking up in strangers beds. I neglected people and my responsibilities. I was out of control and a hot mess. I had blazed a trail of rebellion around the world and used people and threw them away when the mood suited me. I was kept alive by the faithful prayers of my mother for there were many times I should have been killed or raped.
So it came quite as a shock when God orchestrated events so that I would become the Executive Director of a women’s ministry. I never really liked women’s ministries, helping others or had a clue about the nonprofit world, but I was called and I followed. There is a definite difference between talents and abilities and God inspired gifts. God wanted me to use my talents and abilities, and His spiritual gift to me was a love and passion for helping women in crisis. It consumed me.
I never thought when I woke up in the bed of a stranger with a hang over that God would ask me to help the community one day. How could it be possible that I would be of any use? Why would He want someone such as myself to lead a para-church organization? He must be crazy!
God used me warts and all. I made mistake after mistake after mistake, and yet we accomplished great things for Him and because of Him. Mistakes are a way to break down prideful barriers. When you have to pick up the phone and tell a donor that you messed up there is an opportunity to connect with them in very real ways. There is an amazing opportunity for God to demonstrate grace, love and kindness and that’s what the whole thing is really about.
I always felt that every mistake I made was a reminder of whose ministry this really was. If it was mine and I messed up the organization would be in peril, but if it was God’s than He would sustain it. He always did. I knew when we had success despite my flaws that God was propelling the ministry and I wasn’t. What a comfort and what a glorious God!
Don’t let the fear of making mistakes keep you from trying what is on your heart or from serving God in new ways. We will make mistakes and the key will be how we handle them. They are opportunities for growth and for God demonstrating His sustaining grace. It’s a God show up and show off moment and those are great moments!
It doesn’t rely on you, but you are needed to get the work done. Will you serve in the way that God is leading you?
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