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My friend Penny and her husband have been serving in the ministry for more than 20 years, and both of them have been pastors. Penny has also worked for me, assisting me with various personal needs. She's ironed my clothes, cleaned up my messes, made coffee for me, prayed for me, and basically, done whatever I needed her to do at the time.
In many people's eyes, she would be considered important in her pastoral role. People know who she is and they go to her for help. But Penny doesn't have a problem with doing menial tasks for me. She knows who she is, and she doesn't have to have a title of pastor or leader to be secure.
Penny is free from the need to impress people and free to do whatever she does for the Lord. This is one of the greatest freedoms we can have.
Everyone struggles with the need to impress people at some level. And much of the pressure, fear and stress we experience in our lives is caused by our need to impress others.
Can you imagine how free we would be if we just lived for God and didn't worry about what others think about us? How wonderful would it be to know that you don't have anything to prove and you're satisfied being who God created you to be!
We need to know who we are in Christ, what we can do and what we can't. (See Colossians 3:17) We need to be humble about what we can do, and we need to accept and have peace about the things we can't do. Too many people are proud of what they can do and bothered by what they can't do.
I've discovered that there's real freedom in being able to say, "I can't do that. It's not my gift or calling from God. I don't believe God is leading me to do that."
When we have this attitude, we're not comparing ourselves or competing with others. And we're not worried about living by the world's standard, like having to wear what the fashion magazines say is "in" or having the "right" job or level of income to make us "important."
Jesus knew who He was, where He came from and where He was going. Because He did, He could take off His garment, put on a servant's towel, and wash the disciples' feet. (See John 13:4-5.)
I want to glorify God whether I'm running errands, staying at home by myself or speaking at conferences. I want my life to be all about God and focused on Him. When it is, I know what I can do and what I can't, and I don't have to be able to do it all. I'm secure in who I am in Christ and not threatened by others who can do things I can't do. And I don't have to know everything and have all the answers to be okay.
I'm also free to have limits and say no when I need to say no because it's not about pleasing people but being obedient to God. And serving God makes me a better servant of others. I can really love people when I'm not thinking about myself or wondering about what they're thinking about me.
You don't have to be like everybody else or do things like everybody else. God created you to be a unique individual and He wants you to be free to be who He made you to be. Keep your heart and mind on Him, and whatever you do, do it for Him.
A life of freedom is a life that's all about Him!