A few weeks ago I met a good friend at Starbucks (my second office) to catch up one last time before he made a major move to another city. As we sat and reminisced about our friendship over the last few years, we also discussed the different things that God has been teaching us in recent months. At one point in the conversation, he point blank asked, “What have you been struggling with lately? What are you afraid of?”
I appreciate good friends in my life who don’t have to beat around the bush, but who can get right to the point. They are rare and when you find them, you keep them.
My response to his question was, “Lately, I’ve been afraid of being insignificant, which leads to insecurity.” I continued to tell him how over the last few months I have been in a season of wrestling with the question of what it means to be successful in ministry. (Most recently I wrote about it here.) Intellectually, I know that God desires faithfulness more than fame, fortune and celebrity status, but I told him that my heart is often deceived repeatedly towards desiring those things.
As I finished sharing my reflections, he nodded with an expression that said he knowingly understood what I have been experiencing. Then he kicked back the last sip of his drink, put his cup down on the table, wiped his mouth and pulled out his smart phone. After sliding and tapping his fingers across the screen, he leaned in towards me with that same understanding look on his face and read me this prayer.
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for you or laid aside for you,
exalted for you or brought low for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to your pleasure & disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and
Holy Spirit, you art mine, and I am yours.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.
This was John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer that he used in services for the renewal of a believers covenant with God. That morning at Starbucks, with enough caffeine in me to keep a half dozen college students up for an all-nighter, my friend lead me in a moment of renewing my covenant with God, of reminding me that it’s not about me, but about Him. It’s about my entire life reflecting the glory of God in whatever ways God sees fit. Therefore, I have no need to fear being insignificant because it’s not about what I do for God, it’s about being with God. It’s about living my life in a way that is characterized by dependence and trust, not self-reliance and ambition.
So, I conclude this post with those same two questions to you that my friend asked of me. What have you been struggling with lately?
What is causing you to be afraid?