If Your Heart Is Right, Ignore the Critics

We have no reason to apologize for using our gifts.
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We need to quit apologizing for using our gifts and start apologizing for not using them. I would say to myself, I am ministering to younger girls in my living room. That is enough. Greatness isn't in size.

Of course it would have been enough, if God wasn't calling me to something more. Some people charge mountains with no fear of themselves, and they need to check their motives. Some never take a mountain because of too much fear of themselves, and checking those motives is just as important.

God exposed my false humility. Nervously, with the support of our church leaders, I offered my first public study, Stuck, to our small church plant. Somehow 150 women found their way to a little cafeteria, and I taught them how God designed the spaces within us to be full of only him. Christians' lives were turning upside down; some even wondered if they had ever truly been saved. Unbelievers found safety, and a dozen people received Christ in the months that followed. God had been wanting to move through me, and I had never let him because I was worried I would appear arrogant.

Near the end of the study, after watching God work in the most unbelievable ways, two people in the study voiced criticism about the very fears that had paralyzed me before: my motives. As I processed their criticism, I began to spin. Yes, the thing I most feared was happening. I had stepped out and led in our community, and I was potentially coming off as arrogant to people I cared about. I craved a return to the safety of the back row and the anonymity it once had given me.

As I shared the hurt from this with my friend Karen, rather than comfort me with all the good things that God had done, she simply asked me, "Is God pleased with you in this?"

Everything in me quit spinning, and with 100 percent certainty I answered, "Yes, he is."

I knew how difficult the last few months had been. In faith I had acted in obedience, pushing through my fears of approval to lead for his name's sake and for people's healing and freedom. I knew that God was pleased. I could not say that my motives were in the right place other times in my life, but this time I had complete peace.

Then Karen said, "Then what else is there?"

At the core of our souls lie our volitions, our wills, our deepest desires. Karen asked me a question she could not know the answer to. She asked me to reveal something that mere results and criticism or visible greatness or failure cannot reveal. She asked me if my motives were pure. She asked me if my heart was right before my God.

Every one of us was made to do great things, and it is why something in us feels restless and discontent. Because deep down, we know we were created for some great purpose. And these great things we were built to do are for God, through God, and in God.

Excerpted from Restless: Because You Were Made For More by Jennie Allen (www.JennieAllen.com). Used with permission. Published by Thomas Nelson, © 2013 by Jennie Allen.

January06, 2014 at 8:00 AM

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