Interviews, Self-Doubt and Identity in Christ


Where are we today?  While I normally might not know what day it is, I usually know where in the world I am.  Today Chris and I are in central Arkansas.
This afternoon we had our District License Renewal interview with the North Arkansas District Credentials Board.  The board will recommend to our District Assembly that our ministerial credentials are renewed.  Yay!
This is my fifth interview with this board and I look forward to the short time with the great pastors on our district who fill the board.
That wasn’t always the case…
The first couple of years, I would get nervous before the interview.  What if my answers aren’t clear?  What if I’m wrong and this isn’t what God’s called me to and they’re going to tell me?  What if I’m just not good enough, spiritual enough, pastor-ly enough or just plain enough?
Then God softly and persistently increased my confidence in His call and all that it meant.  It wasn’t that I ever questioned God, it was that I wondered if I had somehow misunderstood.  In spite of my doubts in myself, He has confirmed to me, affirmed in me, shown me that He wants me to use the ways He has created me in (vocational) ministerial service.  I add “vocational” because in my life, my service is my vocation, the part of my life that I train for, study for and work at as the majority time-share of my life.  ALL who are Christians are called to do many of the same things in their lives: share Christ, care for the hurting, love people because God loves us.  It’s just in my case, while someone else is becoming a professional ___________, I’m becoming a professional cross-cultural Gospel share-er.
This growing confidence in my call is very important to me. It’s knowing that I’m called to this journey, to leave home and what I know that becomes my anchor on the difficult days.  It’s knowing that I’m called that gives me the grace to accept transitions and changes that I never imagined I’d face.  It’s knowing that I’m called that makes talking about my life and my ministry a breeze.  Of course, as I prepare for ordination in the Church of the Nazarene, it’s important that I am tested and approved by my district leadership and my peers.  That’s a vital component of serving with a community of believers.  But my nervousness was laid aside when I remembered that God is the author of this plan and I need only to be who I am in Him to be approved for the role He has for me.  (I think that’s pretty great!)
The wonderful thing is that this idea of my identity in Christ being the determining factor of my life isn’t just reserved for pastors or missionaries or people who have a “call.”  It’s for each of us.  I firmly believe that God not only calls people out of where we are, but He also calls us into where He has placed us.  He calls us to look into the relationships in our lives for places to bring His light and truth.  He calls us to look into the communities where we live and extend grace, mercy and compassion to those around us.  He calls us into our various vocations because if we were all pastors and missionaries we would miss out on countless opportunities to take Christ into our meeting rooms, factory floors, classrooms and more.
God has uniquely equipped and positioned you to spread the Gospel.  How are you responding?
This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed.Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.
1 Corinthians 4:1-4 (NIV)