*Post by Sharon Hodde Miller*
Nearly 10 years ago I sat in an arena in Atlanta, GA that was packed to the brim with college students. I was attending an annual conference hosted by Passion, and Beth Moore was about to take the stage.
In case you have never experienced Beth Moore’s teaching outside the realm of women’s events and teaching videos, it is an awesome thing to behold. I don’t know if the co-ed environment brings out a different side of her, but she was especially on her game. She was fiery and she was powerful. She gripped each one of us with her prophetic message, and she straight up preached it.
As a young 20-something I had never seen a woman teach with such authority and conviction. I had never seen a woman command such a large audience with her anointed words. It was inspiring and it was empowering.
I left that day wanting to be like her.
Since that experience, I have realized that I will probably never be like Beth Moore. Aside from the fact that her combination of gifts is extremely rare—and I do not have them—I am also an introvert at heart. I enjoy teaching, but it is scary and draining and hard for me. I prefer to sit behind the safety of my computer screen.
For a time I shifted my aspirations from “successful woman speaker” to that of “best-selling author.” I may not be made for the stage, but I still wanted to make an impact with my writing. I wanted to make a difference, and I wanted it to be big.
As I have grown older, my expectations have continued to shift away from the goals of my college-aged self. My writing ministry has yet to “explode,” but has instead been a gradual journey of open doors and new opportunities. I have watched as other writers’ careers have taken off faster than mine, an experience that is both humbling but important. Along this path God has refined my motives, skimming away the dross of my desires for self-glory. He has redirected my focus off of my own image and onto His.
If my younger self could see me now, she might accuse me of selling out, of compromising my dreams by settling for something much too small. “What happened to the VISION?” I might ask myself in disappointment. However I think God has replaced the old, me-centered vision with a new vision, a more God-centered one.
The older I get the more I realize that it’s not about the size of my voice, but how I steward it. Whether I have an audience of 10 or 10,000, the more pressing question is whether my gifts and passions are being used for the Kingdom of God.
How well am I overseeing the corner of influence that God has given me?
This new vision of mine is rooted in a more healthy understanding of the Body of Christ. While the Beth Moores of the world are wonderful gifts to the church, 1 Corinthians 12 reminds us that we can’t all be Beths. We can’t all be Beths anymore than the human body can be composed of all ears. Instead, God designed the church with beautiful diversity in which each part is different but incredibly valuable. Without every single member of the body doing its part, the body is handicapped. It cannot function the way it should.
Now, your story is probably different from mine. Perhaps there is another person you aspire to be like, or another area of ministry, workplace, or culture where you want to excel. But perhaps, like me, you have experienced disappointments when you were not as successful as you thought you might be. Perhaps your life hasn’t turned out quite the way you envisioned.
If that is your story, then take heart remembering your role in the Body. Your story, your gifts, and even your failures, have all worked to make you the unique human being that you are, and Scripture tells us that your role matters. No matter how visible or how behind-the-scenes, you play a vital role in serving the Kingdom of God, and we will be a crippled body without you.
Whatever your gift and whatever your role, let me exhort you to steward it with excellence. Give the kind of weight to your role that God gives, not as one who is out for self-glory, but as one who knows that God created you for a purpose.
Whatever your role, your voice, or your cause, it matters. We need you!