Have you ever felt crystal clarity about who you are and your mission in life, only to completely lose that clarity to murky confusion? I call these moments “losing my groundedness”, and unfortunately, it happens more than I would like to admit.
Since planting the Durango Vineyard Church 8 years ago, one of our favorite phrases in our family to describe this season has been “high highs and low lows”. The highs are great, but the lows have been very difficult for me to deal with. Recently, through the help of a counselor, I have started to find a way through these dark times. Today, I would like to share my journey towards groundedness with you.
Many things can cause us to lose our groundedness. The enemy (1 Peter 5:8) would like nothing more than to accuse us and help us to lose our connection with our divine calling. For me, comparing my successes to other churches or failing in my goals quickly gets me off track. My answer to this negativity started in an unlikely place – stewardship. Typically we think of this phrase in terms of money, time, or resources. But I am actually talking about the greatest commodity that God has given you – stewarding who you are.
God has made you with a unique thumbprint that shows itself in your gifts, perspectives, background, location, ethnicity, gender, skills, and relationships. Think about the unique combination of all of these factors that has helped you to become who you are!
The best way to live effectively and joyfully is to live in your sweet spot, letting go of others’ expectations and comparisons. Living this way embraces being a “mere” human – limited and not “omni”-anything. It requires faith to believe that “who you are” is exactly what the world needs.
Do you remember the story in Matthew 10 where Jesus sends the disciples out two by two? One of the most interesting lines in this section is found in verse 14. He instructs them to “shake the dust off their feet” in any place they are not welcomed. Among many interpretations, what if Jesus meant something like, “don’t let people’s response to you steal who I have made you to be. Shake off the dust of their expectations, comparisons and lack of response!” There is so much dust collecting on us my friends; it’s time to shake it off!
One way that is working for me is through the active process of creating a document I call “Stewarding who I am”. This living document reminds me who I am, who I desire to be, and gives me freedom from that which I am not.
Here are some suggestions on how to create something like this for yourself.
Start with defining who you are. What is your unique thumbprint that God has put in you? Identify clarifying moments that define how you see your calling. Don’t shy away from re-hashing failures or disappointments that have defined your passions, longings, and desires. For you to make the impact that God has built you for, you must learn how to be authentically you.
Next, I suggest you take the time to identify a few key values that drive you. These values should not be aspirational (meaning what you are not but would like to be), rather they should be what your friends and family around you would quickly say is true about you. Remember those phrases that people have encouraged you with time and time again and write them down. Values bring clarity when confusion steals our direction because they bring us back into the moment, teaching us how to live.
Finally, list a few phrases that bring passion to your mission. Neuroscience calls these “felt thoughts”. They could be in the form of poetry, song, story, dreams, or slogans. These help you to feel your passion. Reading these should fire you up and give you a reset when you are in the middle of a difficult situation.
I have been captured lately by the story of the weeping woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears (Luke 7:37ff). This woman passionately steps into an extremely awkward situation in a stifling religious context, one where she would certainly lose her grounding as a culturally defined “sinner”. Instead, she lives authentically in her own thumbprint, having the impact that only she could have had in that situation.
Amidst criticism, disappointment, accusations, and defeat, this woman’s ability to stay grounded in her love for Jesus is astounding. What would it be like if leaders of today’s church were able to steward their unique story, rather than running the endless treadmill of comparing and performing? Shake of the dust my friends; and steward the unique person that God has called you to be!
About the Author
DJ Jergensen is the lead pastor and founder of Durango Vineyard Church. He and his wife Vanessa and their two girls, Ingrid and Lucy, moved to Durango in the summer of 2013 to start the church. It has been a wild ride full of joy, surprises, and challenges, but DJ and his family have fallen in love with Durango and couldn’t imagine themselves anywhere else. Prior to coming to Durango, DJ was a youth pastor for 9 years at Canyon View Vineyard Church in Grand Junction. Before that, he attended Taylor University, where he surrendered his life to Jesus and met his beautiful wife, Vanessa. They love the outdoors, the seasons, people, and the sunshine.
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