Have you ever felt that something done to you or done through you disqualified you from doing great things for God? Let me tell you a story about when I felt sooooo disqualified.
My son, Steven, was in the ninth grade when I turned in the manuscript for my book, Being a Great Mom, Raising Great Kids. I should have waited until he was in the tenth grade.
That fateful morning, I placed my neatly printed pages in a padded envelope, prayed a blessing over the bundle, and then dropped a year of hard work in the mail slot at the post office. When I returned home, my phone was ringing. It was Steven.
“Hey, Mom, I’m calling to let you know that I’m in the principal’s office. I got caught stealing in the lunchroom. You need to come to the school.”
I sped to the school, stomped down the hall, and opened the principal’s door. There sat this strange person wearing my son’s clothes slumped sheepishly in a chair. Steven got five days of in-school suspension, which was the least of his worries.
After I got him home, I wanted to climb back into that mailbox and GET THAT BOOK OUT OF THERE! Who did I think I was writing a book on parenting? What was I thinking? What an idiot! I am so disqualified! I called the publisher and told them the story, giving them an out. The vice president just said with a smile in his voice, “Welcome to the real world.”
The Bible tells us, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). The Greek word translated “handiwork” is poēma, which also means masterpiece, workmanship, epic poem. God created us for a purpose and a plan before we were born. He even marked out the times and places we would live (Acts 17:26).
How silly to think that His plans could be altered or negated because of something we’ve done, or something that has been done to us. We’ll never hear God say, “Oops, I didn’t see that coming.” God does the qualifying. Not me. Not you. Not anyone.
Consider Paul’s words to the Corinthians: “It’s not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant” (2 Corinthians 3:5–6 NLT).
It is all about God from start to finish. My qualifications to do what God called me to do are really irrelevant.
I felt the incident with Steven had disqualified me. God said it didn’t. Looking back, I needed that struggle. Steven had been an easy kid. If I was going to be teaching anybody anything about raising kids, I needed to hit a wall, climb over it, and find Jesus cheering for me on the other side.
Okay, you might be thinking, So what, your kid stole from the lunchroom. I’ve stolen someone’s husband. I’ve been arrested. I’ve traded sex for money. I’ve had an abortion. We could compare mistakes and missteps all day long. But the devil taunts us with the same word: disqualified.
Go ahead, say the word aloud. Can you hear the serpent’s hiss? What most of us think disqualifies us is often the wound that actually qualifies us to know what we’re talking about.
In the Bible, Paul could talk about grace because his Christian-killing-past-self had received so much of it. He knew what he was talking about.
The woman caught in adultery could talk about forgiveness because she had experienced it firsthand. She knew what she was talking about.
Don’t let the devil tell you that your past pain disqualifies you from your present calling.
There’s nothing he would like more than for you to hold an audition in your head and stamp a big REJECTED across your own forehead.
Here’s some good news: The audition has been canceled. You got the part.
By the way, Steven grew up to be a fine young man and the only thing he has stolen since the ninth grade is the heart of sweet Emily who became his wife.
Heavenly Father, thank You that I am qualified to do what You have called me to do because of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross and His Spirit in me. Nothing more. Nothing less. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.