For the first time since I decided to chase my 20-year dream of being a speaker, I felt like God was challenging me to expand into religious circles. The stars were aligning and He was opening doors for me to speak at churches.
Arguing with God is futile… but this wasn’t a realm I was completely comfortable in. Who was I to preach the gospel? Who was I to interpret scripture and inspire women to apply it in their lives? He wouldn’t send those who weren’t able, would He?
For three months, I’d been visiting with a woman at a local church about speaking at their women’s retreat. I attended a planning meeting where we discussed their goals and how to build connections with women after the event. A theme verse was decided, the craft was chosen, and they were excited about the potential of this event.
I was excited too… until I got a call the day before Christmas. After a few minutes of prancing through a pleasantry dance, she dropped the bomb on me. “Because of a few posts on your business Facebook page, we don’t think you’ll bring the right message to our women. We are canceling our women’s retreat.”
A lump formed in my throat… are there condemning photos or comments somewhere I don’t know about? I’m always very conscious about how I represent myself to the social media world. I only post positive encouragement on my page.
After the initial shock, I asked what posts they deemed inappropriate.
One was a photo that said “Be Not Half-Assed.” Evidently they didn’t want any filthy mouthed biker in their church, corrupting their women.
The second was a meme that said, “When life throws you a curve, trust yourself, lean in, and roll on the throttle.” Yep… they got me on that one. Everyone knows you’re not supposed to trust yourself. As it says in Proverbs 3:5, you’re supposed to ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding’.
Did they not see the posts that spoke of God’s plan for my life? The posts about faith? Evidently not…
I interpreted their distaste as a personal attack on my faith. (This is a post I don’t feel at liberty to write yet.) Feeling vulnerable, I looked to my Facebook ‘fans’ to justify my feelings… to apply the salve of grace. Thankfully, they spread it thick over my gaping wound.
Still not fully understanding my feelings, I met with a very objective, very wise, seminary-educated friend who received his share of bumps and bruises in the church world. He said three things…
- You simply didn’t fit into their theology box.
- It’s not about you… it’s about them.
- Do not let them derail you from your purpose.
In visiting with my friend that day, my purpose became clearer.
My purpose is not to conform to one church’s theology.
My purpose is to shine a light in the dark world.
My purpose is not to preach to the choir.
My purpose is to share my story boldly with anyone, regardless of their faith.
My purpose is not to take someone else’s opinion personally.
My purpose is to stay true to who I am and Whose I am.
You may be feeling the same way. Someone may have said something that made you question everything you know to be true. We take their words as a personal attack instead of simply understanding we don’t fit into their box. Unfortunately, what we hear is as much our own interpretation as the words they say. So when we believe what they say, we are giving them the power. We start to question our own worth and make it about us when it’s really more about them.
Their words may cause you to stop in your tracks, but do not let them derail you from your purpose. Do not let them smolder the fire in your belly. Do not allow them to discount what you’ve worked so hard for. Do not let them steal your passion.
Look to people who support you… people that will pour truth into your life. Be open to their wisdom and let them speak to your heart. Yes… be ready for hard truth, but know that truth based upon love will strengthen you, not tear you down.
You are worthy of your calling! You have been given a special gift to share with the world! If you’re still on this earth, your purpose is not fulfilled yet! Believe in yourself and all that you are. But love your haters… they’ll keep you motivated!