August marked the beginning of the second year of my two-year residency at the Austin Stone. It’s the time in most residencies where we stop adding things to our plates and begin to focus it down to exactly what kind of ministry we feel “called” to post-residency.
It has been an arduous season for me. I’ve gotten no clear signs or confirmation from the Lord about what kind of work to which I’m being “called”. Believe me, I so wish I could say, “I sought the Lord, and believe he’s calling me to XYZ.” That’s just not the way it is. I sought the Lord, felt no clarification, and ended up having to just jump out and do something. As I met with Kyle, my supervisor, about it, I realized that whatever sort of ministry I end up in once my residency is done (paid, volunteer, worship leading, missions, recovery, studio engineer…) I’ll be more equipped for it if I take this year to face the challenges that come with worship leading.
So in that meeting with Kyle, I made the decision to transition my residency from “Studio Resident” to “Worship Leader Resident”. It was a difficult and scary decision. There are many aspects of worship leading I feel very inadequate to take on. I have a lot of self-doubt surrounding it. That, however, is when God began to speak to me.
Remembering Moses and his similar inadequacies, I turned to Exodus 3. Verses 11 and 12 were so helpful for me.
After Moses sees the burning bush, and God tasks him with returning to Egypt and speaking with Pharaoh, Moses says, “Who am I, that I would speak to Pharaoh, and he would listen to me? Who am I, that Pharoah would release all his slaves, and offer us safe passage, at my command? WHO AM I?”
God doesn’t respond to that question because it’s irrelevant. He doesn’t say, “Moses, bro. You’re freaking Charleton Heston. There’s a Disney movie all about you!”
No pep talks. He just replies, “I will be with you.” All my inadequacies become secondary when I realize that I’m not the most impressive person on the stage.
Then he gives him a sign. That’s when I really leaned into this story, because that’s what I’ve been looking for in my own life, ashamed as I am to admit. A sign. God adds, “…and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain”.
There’s an obvious problem with this “sign”, isn’t there? Can you see it too? It takes place after the faith-filled plunge that Moses has to take! After Moses goes and speaks to Pharaoh, the very task he’s unsure about, then God will confirm he was with Moses by placing his people on the same mountain, where they will praise God. Then, Moses will know that the Lord was with him all along.
I’m sure Moses immediately noticed the glaring problem too. But when I read it, this sign was incredibly liberating.
I don’t have to be sure, or have a sense of calling, or have God whispering in my ear for every little step in my life, because there will be many days ahead where the signs appear. Where God pulls me up on a mountain and shows me the wondrous work of his hand regardless of what I lack. Where he reveals that it doesn’t matter who I am. Where he shows me that I AM has sent me, and was with me all along.