The sanctuary was filled with people who had turned out to remember a friend. A dear member of our church, Phil Walls, had gone to be with Jesus a month ago, and a large crowd came to celebrate his life. As the pastor turned over the microphone for friends to share memories about Phil’s life, the people responded en masse. The service moved past the one hour mark, and still people lined up to share their moving tributes of the impact he had on their lives. We learned how Phil was generous and fearless and how he was willing to go and serve. He would drop everything to go and meet a need and went out of his way to minister to people.
As the people kept coming to share Phil’s impact on their lives, I began thinking about my own life, my impact, and what my funeral would be like. Would people line up to say that I would drop everything and go to help someone?
The answer, which I know in my heart, is no. And my heart is so sad because of this.
God created me to be a planner. I can look six months ahead and plan trips, outreaches, and activities. I can cast vision for my homeschool or my ministry for a year. I can take on large outreaches and break the steps down so that I can lead women to accomplish them. I plan my week every Sunday night. And each day I print out my spreadsheet of my plans, or my “things to do” for that day. My friends even joke about how nothing can change once I am inside my “24 hour window.”
Truly, there is not a spontaneous bone in my body. I’m not the woman that is going to take a pot of soup to a friend the same day that I learn that she is sick. I’m probably not going to spontaneously volunteer to drive someone to another city. And if I go out to minister to someone or to take a meal, mostly like I have planned it a few days, or even weeks, in advance.
I have begged God for years to change this about me. I want to be spontaneous, to be able to drop my plans for the day to go serve someone in need. But even thinking about it right now makes all the muscles in my back tense up.
I feel ashamed. But the truth is that I can’t help who I am. I have tried to change, and I cannot. God Himself has refused to change me, despite my begging. So I have come to this realization:
I will never be a Phil Walls, but I can be a Lisa Moore.
I will never have the ministry and impact of someone else, but I have my own ministry and impact. I may not impact lives like you do, or like someone else, but I do impact lives in my own way.
I consistently send encouraging cards to widows.
I mentor a handful of women, meeting with them monthly.
I care for my home and my family, and I homeschool my children.
I can plan large outreaches where I lead women in feeding the poor.
I share my peaceful garden with my friends and neighbors.
I visit a friend in the nursing home monthly, bringing joy to her life.
I lead a ladies ministry of 125+ women in serving our city.
I am a gift giver, and I love to give financially as well.
I teach in-depth Bible studies to groups both small and large.
I blog about my own insecurities and imperfections, encouraging many.
I even send birthday cards.
Lisa Moore does those things. She may not drop her plans for her day to meet an immediate need, but she can plan, administer, orchestrate, lead, teach, mentor, provide, and care for others. Lisa Moore’s life impacts the lives of others in her own personalized, non-spontaneous way.
I wonder, at my funeral, will men and women stand up and share how the things that I did blessed their lives? Will there be a long line of people whose lives were impacted by what only I could do? I hope so.
The truth is, God created us all to be individuals. God made my personality…God made your personality. It is so easy for us to look at the gifts and abilities of others and want to be like them. But God did not create us like them, He made us like US.
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God needs you, just like you are. God needs your personality and your expression of love, just like He needs mine. No one else can do what you were created to do like you can. No one else can impact lives just like you can.
God bless Phil Walls for how he impacted so many lives through serving others sacrificially. I pray that we, each in our own way, will impact the lives of others. And I pray that for each of us there will be a long line of people who will tell of the mark that we left on the world.