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On Excel and Excellencies

The part of my brain responsible for Excel sheets is underdeveloped and probably most resembles the shriveled grape-transitioning-into-raisin I found in the back of my car a few weeks ago.

What would take the average sixth grader ten minutes to do on Excel or its Mac-equivalent takes me about an hour. And even then, the printed result is wonky and truncated. While I have been aware of my glaring administrative weaknesses for quite sometime, they have been accentuated of late my new-ish role in women’s ministry at our Church.

As we are in the throes of preparing for an incredible women’s retreat and about to kick off another Bible Study, I have been spending my time looking at lists of names in Excel files. If I am honest, working to maintain systems is not my strength, so the hours of list-looking had left my soul a little deflated.

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Maybe I am not cut out for this role. There are so many capable women who could do this stuff in their sleep. What am I doing?

As God always does, He quickly interrupted my spin cycle.

These names, these precious names and emails and cell phone numbers are my people. They are my women who have stories to share and truths to tell. They are the sheep of my flock whom I have called by my name. They have sheep to go get and bring into the fold. They are women whom I long to connect with and to connect to other women in a life-giving family.

I love my job, and I am privileged to do it. I don’t doubt those things; however, in my flesh and when I am operating out of weaknesses, I do doubt that my capacity is fit for the calling I have received.

God gives us capacities equal to our callings rather than callings equal to our capacities.

As the son of the great King David, Solomon was called to take fill in his father’s shoes (sandals?). Those were big sandals to fill. He was inheriting a literal nation at the height of its power and prestige and peace, and heights are hard to maintain. There was nowhere to go but down for him, and he rightfully felt overwhelmed by fear and inadequacy. While Solomon is remembered for his many wives and his poor ending, he had some glorious, grace-filled beginnings. We would do well to learn from that early Solomon in addition to being warned by the mistakes of the later Solomon.

At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and given him a son to sit on his throne this day…although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people, whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this, your great people? 1 Kings 3:5-9 (emphasis mine). 

I am not in charge of a kingdom, and thank goodness, as my our small-ish house has enough squabbles and property battles regarding Lego pieces to keep me humble and dependent. You are likely not in charge of a nation-state. However, you have been called by God to works that are likely outside of your comfort zone and capacity.

Unlike our culture that loves to accentuate strengths and tells us we are entitled to sweet spots, God has a tendency to call us way above our pay grades and well out of our capacities. He does this that we might depend upon Him by lovingly and carefully exposing weaknesses and limitations that lead us to beg of Him, the strong and unlimited One. Unlike our American culture that would have us be all in all as individuals, He sets us in a body of diverse gifts, wirings and capacities and bids us lean into one another.

He has called me to dabble in Excel files, not that I might excel on my own, but that I might, in weakness and in community, declare His excellencies.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9 (emphasis mine).

Whatever your calling today, be it stay-at-home mom, manager, job hunter or the like, know that God will give you a capacity equal to your calling as you lean into Him and His people.

I’m off to drown in Excel files to the glory of God.

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