Throughout my walk as a Christian, I have heard various versions of the saying "Your ministry comes from your misery." Many people have said it. I am not quite sure who coined the statement, but it is powerful and truthful from my experience. I have had the opportunity to meet many beautiful young women over time that God has allowed me to mentor. These women's lives are a mirror image of my own life in so many ways, and it is simply mind blowing. God placing a reflection of who you are in front of you and magnifying your entire life completely takes the focus off of you.
I truly believe the things we struggle with the most can serve as a blessing to others. There are always going to be situations in our lives that take place and serve as nothing more than hurtful or tragic. But if our hearts are still beating after these shaping experiences, it is important to share them with others. Our experience can factor as a guiding light at the end of a dark tunnel for someone in need. This light becomes our testimony or the evidence of overcoming the adversity that could have left us damaged or no longer here to tell our stories. Going from victim to victor is a huge deal.
I often encounter artists or people in many different vocational fields that say they are ready to be out in the world sharing their gifts, but they do not fully understand what this means. It means you have to share yourself with others. Sharing means that a part or portion of who you are is divided among a number of people, as well as showing a willingness to be open with the people who contribute to your life. Many times we only like to give of ourselves in a way that is convenient to us, but that is not how it works. The question I always ask them is, “Are you ready to share your story? Because it is no longer about you."
Recently, I was on the train and I saw a man eating. I did not want to stare too hard but I do enjoy observing people in their own element. As I was watching him, I could feel tears welling up in my eyes and I said, "Lord what is going on?" I realized that what I was witnessing, was not just a man who was physically hungry and eating but instead I was watching a man eat whose soul was hungry. You may be wondering, "How can you tell the difference?" I have struggled with overeating long enough in my life to know the difference. It was as if I could see this man’s spirit or soul extending and reaching beyond what he was physically doing. He wanted intimacy or simply someone to just talk to. What I saw was confirmed when a woman turned to him to ask a question and he leaned in towards her very quickly to answer. I even noticed that when she was done talking, he kept asking questions to engage her, and when she shared with him, his whole demeanor transformed. I was happy that, in some way, it seemed as if his soul was being fed.
This made me think of the lyrics from India Arie’s song “God is Real,"
Smaller than the eye can see,
Bigger than the mind can conceive…
That’s how I know that God is real…
We never know what people are hungry for. If we have been blessed to see another day or have the ability, we should be sharing our lives with others. It is tough to do when we are layered with hurt and pain of the past and searching for answers that will sooth our souls, but with God’s guidance it is worth it. Sharing the life that has been gifted to me is where I have encountered God the most.
God shared with me this week that His word is the framework for which we experience Him. It is where He reveals Himself, and it is this revelation from the Holy Spirit that sheds light on everything else I read and encounter in life. If we truly know and have a relationship with God, no matter where we go, we will find Him.
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever," (Psalm 23: 4-6, ESV).