Recently a good friend reminded me of the real battle I am facing by reading the above scripture to me. As a teacher he explained to me that he was going through the same thing. Both of us are servants of God. He is giving young ones their academic education and I am a pastor that is helping men and their families heal from the scars of sexual abuse. We are doing everything the devil is against and thus he is doing everything in his power to stop us. Bringing it back to me, I am literally playing in the devil’s playground and he is furious. Sexual abuse leads to all sorts evil dysfunctions such as addictions, pornography, sexual issues and so on. One of the biggest issues related to sexual abuse is that it pulls people away from God and pulls them right into the devil’s playground. As long as we are playing in the devil’s playground, he is happy and leaves us alone.
Truth be told, I feel discouraged and even somewhat disqualified to be doing what I am doing, even though I have been called an expert in my field by many people, including therapist. I believe this is because people make a lot of assumptions about my qualifications before getting to know me. People seem genuinely excited and enthused about having me come to their facilities and speak after hearing about what I am doing to help survivors of sexual abuse. However, when they start thinking about it, they run the other way for a variety of reasons. On one hand they want me to come speak at their facilities to their clients or to their clinical team about the effects of sexual abuse of men and how they can heal and have a great life. Then on the other hand, they think about it and after talking about it with their clinical directors they choose not to address the subject for a multiplicity of reasons. Over a period of time this has worn me down and the “Imposter Syndrome” has crept in.
I’m one that always likes to expand my knowledge. I have recently enrolled myself in the Christian Learning Institute to expand my ministry and coaching knowledge. The Life Coaching Ministry Class really gave me a lot of new insight for my life coaching ministry. I am now taking “Ministry 101.” As only God can do, the first part of lesson one is “Evaluate and qualify yourself rather than assume,” how apropos. As usual this is exactly what I need to do at this point in my journey. The opening scripture is 2 Corinthians 13: 5-6: 5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? —unless indeed you are disqualified. 6 But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified. (emphasis added.)
As I look at this scripture and examine myself, I see how it will open my eyes. To start, I did not choose to start my ministry, which is the Courageous Healers Foundation – Helping Men and Their Families Heal the Scars of Sexual Abuse. God called me out of a forty-year career in construction to start this ministry. That combined with my first-hand knowledge of being abused, understanding how it effects men, working with some of the best therapist in the field of men’s trauma, both to heal myself and be mentored by, qualifies me to do what I am doing. Add to that all the men I have helped on their healing journey, as well as the families my wife and I have helped, adds to my qualifications. Then there is my education, continuing education, many hours of training and credentials I have that qualify me to do what I am doing. In addition there is the three books I have written; Healing The Wounded Child Within – The 7–Day Challenge – The 30 Day Devotional to wholeness – all of which have helped many people, both men and women. I have all the qualifications necessary to do what I am doing, yet at times I am filled with doubt.
When God qualifies us, there is nothing or anyone that can disqualify us. The problem I face is not what God says, it is what people say and do that I tend to fall victim to. The only person I need to be listening to is God. Jeremiah 1:8 says this: Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. I read this scripture before every presentation, even knowing that this is a promise of God, it only takes one comment to send me sideways. 1 Corinthians 9:26 says: Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. In other words, Paul ran with his eyes on the goal of ending well. 1 Corinthians 9:27 says: No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. I myself must place the desires of my own body as second place to the desires of the Holy Spirit.
So, the answer to why I disqualify myself has been made blatantly clear to me. I put my value and qualifications in the hands of men and women that feel they are more qualified than me because of some letters in front or behind their name. Instead I need to put my faith, all of my faith in God. He is the one that called me into my ministry, not man. God is the one who has qualified me, not man. God is the one who gave and continues to give me the courage, strength and wisdom to fulfill His calling on my life, not man. God is the one who gave me the words to write the book Healing The Wounded Child Within, not man. If I listen to and believe what man has to say, I do feel disqualified. Therefore, I don’t believe in myself or the words I write in blogs or speak in live feeds or pod cast. It is time to quit running around aimlessly looking to man for approval. Instead I will put my faith in God and place the desires of my own body as second place to the desires of the Holy Spirit and run with my eyes on the goal of ending well.