I can do this!
It’s funny how we can feel so confident in some areas and so fearful in other areas. While we are highly competent and confident in some arenas of experience and knowledge, we hesitate to volunteer where we have less experience and knowledge—particularly in ministry and service.
Hesitant, many faculty members fail to join faculty fellowships or to participate in local ministries with their peers and students. I know that was true of me. I felt so comfortable in my academic environment; I could lecture to 100s of students, mentor my majors, conduct committee meetings, or write grant proposals, with complete ease.
But if you asked me to tell the story of my faith journey to a colleague, then I suddenly became tongue-tied. To speak openly and appropriately about my faith to a weekly student meeting brought an unreasonable fear. To mentor young men and women from the Scriptures seemed so awkward—even when the same basic skills are required in my job.
Why is that?
Some might argue that spiritual warfare explains my ineptitude. Certainly there is some of that at work. But for the most part, I think it’s much simpler.
I need affirmation
My heart comes alive when I get affirmation that “what I’m doing in ministry areas is working, is empowered by God.” A local team of faculty or volunteers certainly provide that affirmation, coaching where needed, providing that sense of a co-laboring community. When I hear life-change stories shared by my colleagues or disciples, that affirms me, too.
I need to know my design
My heart also comes alive when what I’m doing fits my design, when who I am—by God’s design—is being lived out. Of course, there are lots of areas in which I’m not particularly gifted. I shouldn’t expect to be good in those areas. Unfortunately, I don’t know those areas in advance, but I have to step out to find who I am.
I need to take risks
So my heart comes alive when I take the risk to do something outside my sphere of confidence, outside the places where I feel comfortable. As I take risks, I discover areas of unknown gifting, develop in areas of needed growth, and eventually find my confidence growing.
In so doing, I find out that I can do this! And probably so can you.
— Dan Jensen, AFA