Tomorrow evening I get on a plane that acts as an Ebenezer of the new journey that I am honored to embark on.
For the next year, I have the privilege in being one of 16 National Leadership Consultant (NLC) for Chi Omega. Chi Omega is a women's fraternity and the largest member of the National Panhellenic Conference. With this job, I will be traveling across the United States to different colleges and universities to visit their chapters.
When thinking about this journey, I think about the action that the Lord takes in all of our lives at every moment. We know that He goes before and behind us. There is a beautiful picture that comes to my head that my caring Father has gone and will continue to go before me to the different chapters that I will visit, the different rooms I will stay in, and beds that my weary body will rest in. The Lord has ALREADY gone before me to prepare my place, and has divinely placed women and conversations.
Upon my decision of accepting this job, I have been thinking about, who am I really? What am I here for? With those thoughts, come the questions of what are my gifts, what am I called to do, and what even is commissioning? There have been a specific conversation with my dear friend Wynne about the difference between commission and calling.
In a book called An Intentional Life by Karen Stott, the author talks about Romans 1:6, “including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,” which expounds on the idea that “we are called to belong to Christ and that we are called according to His purpose.” We have read the Bible stories of people being called to countless opportunities. Wouldn’t God do the same for us?
Stott explains the difference of calling and commission as “calling goes on forever, while commission is something that starts and ends.” She goes on to add that calling “is where our strengths and our passions collide.
Knowing that I get to use my gifts of connecting, listening, and creating stories has given me a freedom as I navigate through this new chapter. My heart can rest assured in this freedom as I walk into this season. Whatever work that the Lord places before me this next year, my calling will continue. Even though my commission of college has ended, I know that my calling of influencing, empowering, and listening will continue in different forms.
“The beautiful part about all of that is that each commission God leads us into is simply a role in that larger story. It is a stepping stone. A preparation. It is divinely placed. Specifically time with an eternal purpose that weaves all of these commissions together and allows us to live our greatest, wholly present, fullest, joy-brimming lives that create a tapestry to reflect His greatness.”
Only 24 hours away from flying to Memphis for NLC training, I had a vision.
Picture a table with 20 place settings. All of the plates, placemats, napkins, utensils, and cups are the same. Everyone begins to the fill the table. As everyone is seated, all sorts of different kinds of food are being placed in the center. Each person begins to fill their plate with different food.
It is easy to want to compare, seeing these incredible women. They're the cream of the crop, leaders, visionaries, and then me. How easy it would be to acknowledge myself as less than. But I cannot look to my left or to my right to compare my food or myself to the women that are seated next to me. We both have different tastes, dietary needs, and preferences.
In the midst if this vision, I vow to have the perspective of HERE YOU ARE! and not HERE I AM. In my doubts and insecurities, I want to walk into a room, see other people, and not expect anything for myself. If I focus my energy outward, even when my weary soul cannot fathom to do so, I can choose to debunk the lies that could creep in.
My heart aches for other women to know their potential. I long for women to feel empowered and be seen. I'm talking about the kind of being 'noticed' where eyes meet for a beat too long, and a sense of vulnerability emerges from your soul, a sense of feeling known. This new job will cultivate this longing and allow it to flourish.
Starting a new adventure sometimes mean that we ache the loss of an old journey. Yet, I am more confident than I have ever been before about what the next year will look like. I am ready and willing to go out to do hard and holy things, to experience His grace that lavishes. I am expectant for the women I get to hug, stories I get to hear and the work I get to complete.
Do not hear me say that it is not good to dream big, have a vision, and pray for execution. The perspective shift I'm chasing is realizing who is in control, and acknowledging that I cannot do this alone. When thinking of this new job, I began to think of the new stories that I can write, curriculum that I can create, conferences that I can start. My own strength began to think of the relationships that I will try to maintain, the bible studies I will start on my time off, the mentors that I want to seek wisdom from. What I was doing was setting my own table based on my own strength and control. So dear friends, I need your help.
Please join me in praying that I get me out of the way, and that I hold onto the truth that this job is not about me. My prayer is to acknowledge and declare: “It is a new horizon and I am set on you. You meet me here today with mercies that are new. All my fears and doubting, they all come too, because they cannot stay long because I believe that You are the WAY, the TRUTH, the LIGHT.” Please pray for the women that I get to speak to and present in front of. Pray for my travels and for safety on the road. Pray for my relationships with the other 15 NLCs, and that they are filled with celebration and joy. Praise God for the opportunity to travel, influence, and listen. Pray for the time alone that I will have traveling and let the Lord use that for sweet intimacy with Him. Pray for friendships and relationships with those around me to sustain. Lastly, pray that I can surrender to the Lord’s feet each morning to acknowledge that I cannot set my own table.
What are the new journeys in your life that you are needing to set the table for? Invite other people into this time because this is a team task. Are you ready?