by: Sharie King, CKM Speaker + Author
When I was young, negative messages constantly fought to make their way into my heart and identity. One of the lies that I struggled with was the idea that I needed to compete with the people around me to earn popularity, respect and success among my classmates, teachers, coaches and even family members. I had so many goals:
- Become a starter and captain for basketball and soccer
- Be voted homecoming queen
- Be named Valedictorian at graduation.
- Have a yearbook filled with words of affirmation from friends
I wasn’t good at kissing up, so I worked and competed hard to earn recognition. Unfortunately, this lead to a belief that I had to earn favor, and that ended up tainting my relationship with Jesus - I felt like I had to earn His favor, too. But since legalism doesn’t benefit the kingdom of God, Jesus has spent the last ten years of my life weeding out the need to perform, teaching me to rely on His grace instead.
This isn’t an easy lesson, and it is certainly one I will probably keep learning until the day I die. I believe that we all struggle with insecurity and performance because we’ve all had our true identities distorted by the sin we were born into. God created us to be His intimate friends, but sin separates us and makes us feel incomplete and insecure.
This empty void compels us to compete with and compare ourselves to one another. It persuades us to live based on the perceptions and unrealistic expectations of others, and we let our sin lead us there because it feels natural.
But I’m not in high school anymore and I’m tired of the separation sin creates between me and my Savior. So how do we stop feeling the need to please and perform in life and ministry? I want to encourage you with four words: Stay In Your Lane.
What does it mean to stay in your lane? I’ll give you two simple thoughts: It means to Know Yourself and to Be Yourself.
Many of us falter and loose our fruitfulness in ministry because we haven’t really discovered who we are and we’re not quite sure what ministry God has called us to. If this is you, ask yourself a few questions:
- What are my gifts?
- How do I see God using me now?
- How has he used me to minister to others in the past?
- What message does my life seem to write over and over?
If you take some time to examine your life, gifts and calling, God will help you see who He has created you to be. Scripture promises that He will give us “everything we need for life and godliness”, so when you ask Him to guide you, listen for His response and do not doubt that He will speak to you. (2 Peter 1:3, James 1:5-6).
When He speaks to you and you understand who you are, you won’t feel the pressure to become someone else. This is the first key to staying in your lane.
This is one of the biggest challenges in our world of information overload. It’s tempting to watch and analyze other people who are successful and think we have to be like them. But doing this will freeze your fruitfulness because you fall victim again to comparison, competition, other people’s expectations and perceptions. Free yourself by knowing that God only expects you to be you. If you feel pressure to become anyone else, that impulse does not originate from the Holy Spirit, but your sinful nature.
Throw it off. God did not free you just to make you a slave to sin again. If the Son has set you free, then you are free! (John 8:36)
This does not mean we throw away our hopes and dreams that God will use us beyond what we could imagine. But it does mean that we have to hold our dreams loosely because maybe our ideas are not in line with God’s. When that’s the case will we strive, compete, compare and become frustrated, or will we throw off everything that holds us back and entangles so that we can run the race God has laid out for us with perseverance? (Hebrews 12:1)
You must run your race, not someone else’s. Why? Because no one else is equipped to run the race Jesus has designed for you. Only you can run in your lane, so stay in it and don’t merge into someone else’s. Know yourself and be yourself and I believe you will “win the prize for which Christ has called you heavenward in Christ Jesus!” (Philippians 4:13)
About the Author: Sharie King was born in Atlanta, GA. She gave her heart to Jesus when she was eleven years old and soon surrendered to ministry at age twelve.
As wife and ministry partner to Clayton King, Sharie has served across the organization in several capacities since 1997, and travels all over the United States speaking at ladies events, churches, colleges and summer camps.
She has written four books, co-authoring two with Clayton: 12 Questions to Ask Before You Marry and The Beauty and the Mystery. She and Clayton also partnered with Lifeway to develop a curriculum for students called True Love Project (a relaunch of True Love Waits) in 2014 as well as her own book 40 Days of Purity for Girls as part of the True Love series.
Sharie and Clayton have two sons, Jacob and Joseph. When she’s not serving, Sharie loves to paint, read and thrives outdoors!
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