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November 26, 2012

We Can’t All Be Beth

I’m called to oversee the corner of influence God has given me



beth-moore-passion.jpg

Nearly 10 years ago I sat in an Atlanta, Georgia, arena packed to the brim with college students. I was attending an annual conference hosted by Passion, and Beth Moore was about to take the stage.

In case you have never experienced Beth Moore’s teaching outside the realm of women’s events and teaching videos, it is an awesome thing to behold. I don’t know if the co-ed environment brings out a different side of her, but she was especially on her game. She was fiery and she was powerful. She gripped each one of us with her prophetic message, and she straight-up preached it.

As a young 20-something, I had never seen a woman teach with such authority and conviction. I had never seen a woman command such a large audience with her anointed words. It was inspiring and it was empowering.

I left that day wanting to be like her.

Since that experience, I have realized that I will probably never be like Beth Moore. Aside from the fact that her combination of gifts is extremely rare—and I do not have those gifts—I am an introvert at heart. I enjoy teaching, but it is scary and draining and hard for me. I prefer to sit behind the safety of my computer screen.

For a time I shifted my aspirations from “successful woman speaker” to “best-selling author.” I may not be made for the stage, but I still wanted to make an impact with my writing. I wanted to make a difference, and I wanted it to be big.

As I have grown older, my expectations have continued to shift away from the goals of my college-age self. My writing ministry has not “exploded,” but instead has been a gradual journey of open doors and new opportunities. I have watched as other writers’ careers have taken off faster than mine, an experience that is humbling but important. Along this path God has refined my motives, skimming away the dross of my desires for self-glory. He has redirected my focus off my own image and onto his.

If my younger self could see me now, she might accuse me of selling out, of compromising my dreams by settling for something much too small. “What happened to the vision?” I might ask myself in disappointment. However, I think God has replaced the old me-centered vision with a new vision, a more God-centered one.

The older I get, the more I realize that it’s about not the size of my voice, but how I steward it. Whether I have an audience of 10 or 10,000, the more pressing question is whether my gifts and passions are being used for the Kingdom of God. How well am I overseeing the corner of influence that God has given me?

This new vision of mine is rooted in a more healthy understanding of the Body of Christ. While the Beth Moores of the world are wonderful gifts to the church, 1 Corinthians 12 reminds us that we can’t all be Beths. We can’t all be Beths any more than the human body can be composed of all ears. Instead, God designed the church with beautiful diversity in which each part is unique and incredibly valuable. Without every single member of the body doing its part, the body is handicapped. It cannot function the way it should.

Now your story probably is different from mine. Perhaps there is another person you aspire to be like, or another area of ministry, workplace, or culture where you want to excel. But perhaps, like me, you have experienced disappointments when you were not as successful as you thought you might be. Perhaps your life hasn’t turned out quite the way you envisioned.

If that is your story, then take heart in remembering your role in the Body. Your story, your gifts, and even your failures have all worked to make you the unique human being you are, and Scripture tells us that your role matters. No matter how visible or how far behind the scenes, you play a vital role in serving the Kingdom of God, and we would be a crippled body without you.

Whatever your gift and whatever your role, let me exhort you to steward them with excellence. Give your role the kind of weight God gives it, not as one who is out for self-glory, but as one who knows that God created you for a purpose. Whatever your role, your voice, or your cause, it matters. We need you!

Sharon Hodde Miller is a blogger, freelance writer, and PhD candidate who lives in the Chicago area. You can find her at her blog, She Worships.

Related Tags: calling, influence, leadership

Comments

Beautiful post. Ambition is a slipper slope. It is a constant thing to have to prioritize and humble yourself to be where God wants you to be not where YOU want to be.

To be a good steward of what He's given us -- a very important and critical thing that I hope I don't waste.

This is such an important point. My focus has also shifted as I have seen the incredible impact of relationships. I tried to fit into the box of writer/speaker but it wasn't quite right. I want relationships and dialogue - which requires a smaller 'venue'. I've found myself jealous of authors/speakers at times because I may saying the same things but people take more notice when they hear it from someone who appears more important. That made me confront my motives and remember the Kingdom is not one of competition or struggle for power/importance. I've begun to appreciate the opportunity to walk alongside people in their journey as the Spirit uses those messages to transform them. This is my place in the body - and it's beautiful.

What powerful words. I think one of the reasons that many women don't take leadership roles in the church, including leading Bible studies, it that they think they have to be like Beth Moore. They've done her Bible studies and sat under her teaching and have forgotten that God speaks through many voices, not just hers. Great reminder.

Thank you so much for this article. I have a teaching gift that I learned of when I was born again at the age of 40. I came to Christ through Beth Moore's The Patriarchs Bible Study. Oh how I wanted to be like Beth too. But I too have been humbled, yet blessed at the same time as God has used me in children's ministry and individually with several women. The hope I originally had has now been replaced by the prayer to follow God and to walk in His will, rather than my own, and to continue to die to my pride, my selfish desires, and anything that is me-centered.

Thank you for this lovely and encouraging article!!

Sharon, there is so much wisdom on this page. I especially appreciate what you said about stewardship..."it's not the size of my voice, but how I steward it." Thanks for a thought-provoking, authentic article. I needed this today!

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