By Lt. Felecia Pederson
Billings, MT Corps – Intermountain Division
After the Wise Men had listened to the king, they went on their way. The star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them. It finally stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. The Wise Men went to the house. There they saw the child with his mother Mary. They bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures. They gave him gold, frankincense and myrrh. But God warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod. So they returned to their country on a different road.” Matthew 2:9-12 (NIV)
“I can’t do this!” has been said under my breath more times than I can count. On some occasions it has been accompanied with tears of frustration, some anxiety and even a little resistance. One of these times, while in a women’s ministries meeting, I excused myself and went for a quick walk around the church to calm my anxiety. I was feeling helpless, frustrated, and unable to do all that I felt was required of me. Has anyone else experienced feeling trapped in their own anxiousness or feel consumed with that overwhelming feeling of inadequacy?
Now, let me just clarify, the women did not do anything to cause this reaction. So then, why did I feel the need for a quick escape? Well, as a perfectionist, a planner, an introvert, and a doer, I feel I need to have things in a certain order for a good program. I also want to admit that I am a service addict. My happy place is when I am able to make everyone feel loved and cared for by meeting their needs. This takes a lot of energy. When I let the program itself or what I feel the expectations of what is needed for the program lead me, or when things don’t go as planned, I can easily feel like a failure. This leads to spending so much time listening to the expectations of myself or others that I miss out on what God is urging me to do.
God and I have had many conversations about this and He has shown me that when leading people to Him, my biggest stumbling block is in my own head. In my little trip outside the church, when I was caught up in my fears and worries, I was letting my feeling of insecurity cripple me from doing what God has called me to do. When we allow the expectations of ourselves or others to dictate how things should be, we can stop the Spirit of God from moving freely.
The story of the Wise Men being led to Jesus is a great analogy of getting out of our head and being led by the heart of God. These men knew many things but they were humble enough to listen to God’s voice and be led in little ways that made a big impact. They knew the stars and prophecies that helped them navigate their way to Jesus, but they were sensitive to the voice of God through a dream. King Herod had different plans for Jesus and the wise men. Take a moment and think about what would have happened if the wise men had rushed back to share with King Herod the location of baby Jesus. I think we all understand that if the wise men were more interested in pleasing King Herod than listening to the voice of God, this story may have had a very different ending. Thankfully, they listened to God and obeyed His leading.
God does not use us because of our ability. He uses us in our humility. When we humbly seek His heart by prayer and reading His Word, He gives us the peace and clarity that we need. He has already given each of us talents and abilities and these can be “treasures” that we give back to Jesus. For the wise men, these “treasures” were gold, frankincense, and myrrh. For us, it may be hospitality, the ability to sew, paint, crochet, or cook. Some of us are teachers. Some of us are great listeners. Whatever your ability, gift, or treasure, all of us have been called by God to lead others to Him. This begins when we humbly ask Him to help us be the leaders that He wants us to be. As we recognize the need for Him to be the center of all we do, and as we lay our treasures and gifts at His feet, He will strengthen us for every good work.
I have a different approach as I plan for our weekly women’s meeting. I have more freedom to delegate programs to other women because God has released me from the need to have everything done to my standard of perfection. I listen to the needs of the women and instead of rushing to please them, we go to God together and pray for one another. I take time to plan but ask the Lord to use the time of our meeting to do His plan and His work. Getting out of my head has allowed me to be able to enjoy these women’s meetings as we create things together, serve others together, study the Bible together, and share our hearts and pray together.
Today, there is freedom from anxiety in the heart of Jesus. Join me in asking Him to help us get out of our heads and lead with His heart.