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My ministry experience has shown me women are wired to make a difference, but we have to juggle a lot to make it happen. Our dreams don’t always pay, and doing them alone often feels impossible. We spend energy on our friends, husbands, children, or really, anyone else, and then we feel guilty finding someone to coach, invest, train, and support us. The investment feels greedy and our path feels insurmountable, and so we put our dreams back on the shelf.
When my boys were no longer toddling, my husband and I intentionally created space for me to fulfill my dream of speaking and writing. I was excited until the Lord spoke, “Sharie, you need to make yourself small. If you make yourself small, I will do big things.” Jesus’ words aggravated me. “But, Jesus, I’ve been putting my dreams on the shelf for years. Don’t you think it’s my turn to reap a little?” Despite my resentment, my gut knew that “making myself small” would be the next step in my Jesus journey. This was not the “calling” I felt like I deserved, but it became my greatest calling. Somehow, someway, I needed to let Jesus increase, and I needed to decrease (John 3:30).
Philippians 2:5-9a in The Message Bible says:
“Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human. Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death, a crucifixion. Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever. Jesus was God, but he didn’t consider equality with God as something he could use to his advantage. Jesus made himself human, considered his life nothing, and gave himself over to death for three days. What did his obedience earn? Father God exalted him to the highest place!”
When God asked me to make myself small, I was afraid to lose everything. If I made myself nothing, what would I have left? Nothing?
No! Not nothing!
When we make ourselves nothing, we inherit everything because no one can take from a person who has nothing to lose. Jesus traded his home in heaven for a humble human birth. When he left home to minister, he traveled from one city to the next, not knowing where he’d spend the next night. When Jesus loved sinners, the Jews disowned him. When he tried to tell people he was God, the Romans declared him an enemy. When he submitted to crucifixion, all the disciples except for John abandoned him.
Hanging on the cross, Jesus could have chosen to claim his rightful position as King instead of loving us more, but he knew something I hope to learn. Equality with God was not something to be used to his own advantage. The Father asked Jesus to sacrifice his position, and he obeyed. He made his life worth nothing so his Father could gift it back to him. He kept nothing to give us everything.
When we love our dreams more than God, we’re trying to win King of the Mountain against an all-powerful God. Hiking up the mountain, our redeemed self knows we should bow, but our sin self tempts us to take what we deserve instead of letting go of our kingdom in order to become a part of his. Dying to ourselves is a hard message, but if we want to love Jesus more than our successes or our position, we have to make ourselves small. If Jesus can love us more than his life, he can teach us how to love him more than our lives. This is the secret to loving God more than our position: to make ourselves nothing and let him do the lifting.
Has your calling become bigger than the One who called you?
You have just read an exerpt from Sharie’s newest book I Love You More (except when I don’t) – Fighting to Keep Jesus First in the chapter I Love You More Than My Position. If you have enjoyed this and would like to continue reading you can purchase this book on Amazon and in the Store on her site.