‘I want you’: A glimpse into why God gives us ministry opportunities
A couple of years ago, about 24 or 25 weeks into my second pregnancy, I started having contractions and was ‘sentenced’ to bedrest until I was full term. After I was done being sad and annoyed at the limitations put on me, I came to see the months ahead of me as a period of ‘forced stillness’. You see, I rather like being a busy person, and am not good at being still.
I felt that God was prompting me to make a vocational change. I had an interest in poverty alleviation, and hoped (and still hope) that my job would eventually result in greater economic opportunities for the poor. The thought occurred to me that I should get a job more directly related to poverty alleviation. So, for the next several months, I read books, interviewed people, and investigated various potential roles I could fill.
I also completed a series of ‘life maps,’ created by the team at One Life Maps. Each was a fairly in-depth exercise in self-reflection, the purpose of which was to better understand the story God had woven into my life in hopes of identifying the role He created me to play. I hoped to find my calling and to learn what my role is in growing God’s Kingdom. A few weeks before my second son was born, I finished the final map.
After much prayer and reflection, I had discerned that my current job was where God wanted me after all – at least for the time being. The season of life ahead of me would be a period of preparation: a time for character development and knowledge building, to grow closer to God, and to raise my family. I had put together a list of to-do’s to help accomplish these things, and, as the last mapping exercise encouraged, I set out to write a ‘bold prayer’ to send me off in my new-found direction.
I remember that moment clearly. I was out on the back porch one afternoon. It was warm and the sun was shining. I was determined to ‘invest’ in myself so that I would be prepared for whatever God would bring for me down the road. I was determined to be more useful to God. I had the pen in my hand, and put it against the paper…and I was not able to write. I could not get the bold prayer that was in my head out onto the sheet of paper.
…and then I heard it. I’m tempted to describe it as a “still, small voice,” but it was actually an overwhelming feeling. Out of the blue, I felt God say to me, ‘Tracy, I am not after what you can do for me. I just want you.’ This next season of life that God had planned for me was not about investing in me so that I could provide the greatest return for His Kingdom. He just wanted me. I was speechless and overcome by tears as this truth sunk in.
He is not after what we can do for Him. He. Just. Wants. Us.
Fast forward to the present: I am now giving more of my time, talents, and resources to Chicago Women of Vision that I have ever given to any ministry. In my journey with Women of Vision, I have wrestled with myself and with my fears and have shifted my priorities again and again. Through this journey, God is transforming me and bringing me closer to Him. It is my hope and heart-felt desire that I am being used to advance God’s Kingdom, but I know that God has given me this ministry opportunity first and foremost for me, to draw me closer to Him and bring me fullness of life…and He is succeeding.
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
by Tracy Mathews, WOV Chicago