In preparation for our mission to India, we started our time together as a team deciding what all we wanted out of our time away. This would include how we would set our expectations, what mindset we would have, how we wanted to be utilized and ultimately what our goal for the visit would be.
After just a few minutes of deliberating, we were unanimous in that we all wanted to simply be there to assist, encourage and serve rather than to use our time in India as an exposé of our talents and abilities. We simply wanted to be available for the movement of God’s Spirit and open to what he wanted of us.
Upon planning for the trip, our focus changed, based on the needs of our Indian partners. But we were open for whatever might have been asked of us. We went from wanting to simply serve and be available to being asked to lead several breakout sessions and possibly preach a few times from the main stage. We were open to this, as a few of us enjoy doing such things, and if this was what they needed, then we were fine with it.
A few weeks before we were set to leave for India, Mike and my Visa got denied, pending us sign a document from the Indian Consulate stating that we would not participate in any religious activity or preach. We signed it, knowing that God could use us in whatever way he seemed fit. Now we had gone from being, to doing, back to being available… with seemingly nothing to do!
Once we arrived in India, the day before the conference we were going to be attending, we had a planning meeting for our time at the conference. The staff of the organization we were working with then asked us what slots we wanted to fill for preaching, leading breakout sessions and giving our testimonies. We weren’t sure how to react! We had been under the impression that we were there to encourage, serve and assist in any other way, preferably behind the scenes. Unbeknownst to me, nothing you do as a group of English speaking, light-haired, pasty white people is behind the scenes in India.
So we ended up serving and doing, but it ended up being after already committing to simply being.
I have a problem with doing before being.
When we are doing before being, we find our identity in what we do. We are defined by those actions. We get caught up in the acts themselves and depending on their outcome, we gauge our own worth. When we fail, we take it personally. We own the fact that we didn’t measure up. And that is an unfair assessment of the situation. If it goes well, then we take the credit for it and find our worth in our ability to do good. The only thing with that, is that is it always us that is doing good? Is not our strength and goodness a derivative of Christ’s strength and goodness in us? Either way, we are at a loss.
When we find our identity in Christ, what we do is less about us and more about God. That is why I, who at times suffer from self-doubt, can stand confidant because I am no longer working out of my feeble efforts and more out of Christ’s infinite strength and ability. I am not worthy of anything, yet through Christ’s atonement I am found spotless. When I am confidant in that, then I am able to do all that Christ has called me to.
At all times, we must remember where we have come from. And that is out of a messy, sinful life, but that through Christ’s strength we are good. I’m not saying this so that we always feel like dirty, rotten scoundrels, but that we can have an accurate view of who we are compared to Christ. And when we see that, we are able to stand strong in his strength and be courageous. We can then begin to do out of being; because nothing is worth doing unless done for the right reasons and from the right places.
I hope that you can take courage of who you are in Christ, and that when you begin to find your identity in him, that you know you can do great things for him and in his Kingdom!