I don’t like the way God made me.
I never have. I don’t like my nose, my hairline, my build, and the fact that I have no hair in the right places and too much hair in all the wrong places.
Besides that, I don’t like the gifts God gave me. I’d rather be someone who’s amazing at teaching or leading. Instead, I get to be the guy who knows people’s names and is really kind. Knowing names and being nice doesn’t win you applause or recognition.
Somewhere along the way, I allowed praise and recognition to be the goal. And that’s a problem. Hold that thought.
Last week the entire staff of Watermark Community Church went away for a few days for our annual staff retreat. We play, worship, share stories, pray, and spend time building relationships. The morning we left, Todd asked some of the more veteran staff members to share lessons we’ve learned in years of full-time ministry.
Here’s What I Shared…
Today I share with you the #1 lesson I’ve learned in over 10 years of full-time vocational ministry. The lesson is related to my ugly confession above and is something we all need to learn and live.
Kristen and I started coming to Watermark in 2002. From the beginning, we struggled and didn’t love going to church at Watermark. It was different from our previous church in Atlanta, and, if I’m honest, I was intimidated by most of the men on staff. But, we decided to stick it out and give Watermark a try. The first thing I remember our Lead Pastor Todd Wagner saying was this: “Know who you are, like who you are, and be who you are.” In over 14 years at Watermark and 10 years on staff, this is the lesson that has most stuck with me.
- Know yourself: I know how I’m wired and how God made me. Psalm 139 is a beautiful picture of the way God makes us. Psalm 139:13-14a says, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
- Like yourself: Choose to like and embrace the way God made and wired you.
- Be yourself: Live out the gifts He’s given to you. Don’t try to be something you’re not.
I struggled most with the second part of this. I didn’t like myself. I knew who I was and I was who I was. But I didn’t like who I was. I didn’t like the gifts God gave me and wanted the gifts and talents of others.
I wanted to be the better teacher and the most accomplished leader. I wanted to be the one who stood up every week and wowed people with his wisdom and eloquence.
- When I started coming to Watermark in 2002, I wanted to be like everyone else. I compared myself and fell short.
- In 2006 when I got hired on to full-time staff, I compared myself to my peers (and fell short).
- Even now, I can compare myself to guys 15 years younger than me – guys who might be better teachers, more disciplined, or stronger leaders. Again, in my mind and insecurities, I compare myself and fall short.
A friend sat me down and reminded me of something very crucial: it’s not about me. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” The gifts God gives us are for the common good. NOT for my good, my name, or my renown.
Over the years, when I embrace my gifts, wiring, and uniqueness, then I thrive, the body of Christ thrives, and God gets the glory. When I rebel and seek my glory, then the body stops working as God intends. I might get the glory for a brief moment, but God is robbed, and the body of Christ is robbed. Rather, I embrace the fact that God made me good at remembering names and I embrace the fact that being kind is Christlike! Being a part of Watermark is one of the greatest gifts of my life, where I get to use my gifts as God intends. No one has ever asked me to be anything or anyone other than Scott Kedersha. I still get frustrated about all the hair stuff, but the older I get, the more I realize how little any of that matters anyway.
How about you?
- Do you know who you are? Do you know your gifts? What are the things you do that you enjoy, are good at and others affirm in and through you?
- Do you like who you are? Do you embrace the gifts and personality God gave you? Or, do you crave and desire the gifts and wiring of others?
- Do you live out who you are? Are you using your gifts for the common good and for God’s glory? Or, are you trying to be something or someone you’re not?
So there it is. 10+ years in full-time ministry distilled to one main lesson learned. Know who you are, like who you are, be who you are. You win, the body wins, and God gets the glory. Win. Win. Win.