I’ve lived most of my life trying to live up to who I thought I should be, as opposed to who I actually am. It seems like a good idea, right… like, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” But trying to “dress for the job I want” has been more like me putting on size 10 shoes when I actually wear a size 6.
Being given the opportunity to lead Renovatus’ college and young adult ministry, Dust, with my husband at age 22 wasn’t exactly ideal, only because I felt incredibly ill-equipped to lead a community that I knew at some point would consist of people older than myself. My insecurities were quickly exposed. It felt like that dream you have when you show up to school naked, except it wasn’t a dream…
I had already asked myself all the questions: Am I too young for this? Will people take me seriously? Will this keep our ministry from growing? It is never fun when these questions are answered not only by your insecurities, but in fact by real people. I watched as some of the older students moved in and out of the community because I was “too young.” Meeting after meeting, I listened as students shared their need for a mentor as I sat right there in front of them offering the very desire of their heart and yet, they didn’t want me… they wanted someone older, “wiser” and with more life experience, and wanted me to play the role of match-maker, not mentor.
So naturally, what does a size 6 do? Try to live up to what everyone else wants. Learn more scripture. Study harder. Find answers. Strive to fill these big “pastoral shoes.” Be older. Be wiser. I felt the need to prove myself… and to whom, exactly? “Am I trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)
I’ve learned much over the past 3 years. The most transforming to how I live and lead being that relational ministry is vital. BUT, you cannot be relational without being vulnerable. Leading from a place of vulnerability welcomes exposure. It is freeing and incredibly powerful to live as a person who is also under renovation. The day that I chucked my size 10 shoes, the more effective I became as a leader and discipler. There is much you can do when you concentrate less on being “spiritual” and more on being Spirit-led. Adopting the John 3:30 mentality… “He must become greater, I must become less.”
Besides, this is all a great adventure, right? Life with God, ministry, leading, following. We are all invited on our own epic journey that begins, continues and ends in the same beautiful place… sonship/daughtership, from which we cry, “Abba, Father.” I am a daughter, first. And learning to lead as a daughter and not just a mother yields the kind of vulnerability that makes it easy to trade in the size 10 shoes for my very ordinary, but perfectly unique and chosen size 6.
Krystle and Teddy Hart are the College/Young Adult Pastors at Renovatus: A Church for People Under Renovation.