Lessons from the Classroom

Giovanna GomezBY: GIOVANNA GOMEZ

EMAIL: giohub@gmail.com

BIBLE TEXT:If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” –Esther 4:14

PERSONAL REFLECTION: Can you stand another story about my college experience? What can I say? I thought returning to college would give me a new career, but it’s given me so much more than that. I just finished a course that had to do with groups in social work–how to conduct them, how to lead them, how to promote cohesion between group members, and what techniques are best to get people in the group to communicate. It was fascinating. I loved it.

When people ask me what I’m studying and I tell them it’s social work, most of them reply, “Oh you are so outgoing. You’re perfect for that.”  Well, it turns out that “outgoingness” does not guarantee nor is it a factor for success in social work.  In fact, a talkative, expressive person in some social work settings may be incredibly detrimental. Which leads me to my point — a Spirit-inspired epiphany I had while taking my groups course…   It’s not necessarily natural ability or personality that equips you to fulfill God’s call for your life.

Haven’t you heard the saying, “When calls you, He equips you?”  Such a nice and sweet thought, isn’t it? So hopeful and mushy. I do wholeheartedly believe I am following God’s leading for my life by returning to college. I can see how circumstances in my life have led to this point. However, I didn’t realize that God would actually ask me to CHANGE to be effective in this new thing that I’m pursuing. Change can bring such excitement, yet it can also bring with it inconvenience, discomfort, and struggle.

But God, c’mon now…

 I’m so comfortable in my skin, with my nuances, with my mannerisms. I like to talk loud, laugh loud, make jokes, and wave my hands when I talk. I like sarcastic wit, and I adore those that appreciate sarcastic wit. What do you mean that may not always work? I have to learn new skills, a new language, and change? I can’t be loud? Really? But I’m so great already! I really am.. I really like myself.

Good grief, let’s get real here. I’m pretty sure God is laughing hysterically right now.rsz_imag0752

Friends, here’s the deal….   Yes, the Lord wants to equip you, but you have to be willing to be equipped. You have to be willing to flex and bend. You have let the Spirit do His thing because otherwise there won’t be a transformation.  You have to be willing to look at those deep places in your life and investigate what it is that makes you do the things you do, and give them up. Surrender them! Let God get in there and be willing to let Him fix, add, and remove as He wishes.

PERSONAL APPLICATION: I love Esther. You need to read her story if you haven’t done so. What a great example of “equipping.” God called her to save a nation. SAVE A NATION! She accomplished it without any political skills whatsoever. Her personality? Well, she was actually amazingly unassertive–a scaredy-cat. But you know what her strength was? Willingness.  And as it turns out, that was all she needed. God took care of the rest. I want to encourage you today. God may have called you for something. You probably don’t have the skill for it or the personality for it. That’s O.K.  Prepare to change and learn.  If you think you already have the skills, the personality, or a natural ability, that’s O.K. too.  Prepare to change and learn.  God doesn’t use “perfect people” for His missions.  If you let God’s process bend and break you, you will walk away with more than you could have ever imagined.  I promise you.

Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies?”                          - 1 Corinthians 1:26-28 (The Message)

PRAYER: Lord, you and you alone are the source of change and transformation. The closer I get to you, the more you let me see and understand. Thank you!

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

After homeschooling Andrew and Rachel from Day One all the way through to high school graduation (the biggest achievement of her life so far), Giovanna became a student at Middle Tennessee State University. She is majoring in social work with a minor in family studies. She thinks she wants to work with the juvenile justice system after she graduates, but will ask God first and see what He thinks. When she is not reading textbooks she enjoys hiking and gardening. Giovanna and her husband Hubert will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary this coming August.

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