I Just want to share with you some lessons I learned in a season of shifting in my life. I spent 22 years in the classroom, then God called me to full-time writing and speaking. Before I could make the full transition, I spent 14 months working for a local caterer.
Let me just go ahead and say upfront: I don’t cook. The kitchen is not my arena. I even told my employer that, and she hired me anyway. Talk about stepping out of your comfort zone.
I’ll admit, it was very difficult at first. Not only is catering physically demanding, but I felt so out of my element, so out of control, having to do things that I have no confidence in. Which is exactly where God wanted me.
Lessons Learned in the Shifting
Sometimes, before God will move us into a new season in life, He will take us through a period of transition so that He can transform us into what He wants us to be and equip us for what is to come.
When you are a teacher for many years, you gain confidence in your ability to teach. Confidence is great, but God knew I needed humility to do what He is calling me to do. One of my first catering jobs was to a group of teachers getting ready to go back to school at the end of the summer. As I stood and served them cake and drinks, I wanted so badly to say, “Hey, I’m a teacher, too! I’m a professional, just like you. I’m smart and educated and good at what I do!”
But instead I just said, “Tea or lemonade?”
It’s very humbling to realize you really aren’t all that important. I think God wanted me to learn that everything isn’t all about me. I’ve heard that humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. I needed to focus on those teachers and their needs in that moment.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”James 4:10, NIV
The longer I worked in catering, the more I began to enjoy it. Once I realized that it wasn’t about me, I started to think about ways to make the events more pleasant for the people I was there to serve. I began to find joy in interacting with them and finding ways to meet their needs.
In order to serve spiritual food to others, I would also need to think about the people I’m there to serve and not myself. God used this time of catering to hungry bellies to teach me how to cater to hungry souls. I had to learn that ministry isn’t about finding my gifts and how to use them. It’s about seeing needs and asking God how to meet them.
When I think of Jesus, the King of kings, wrapping a towel around His waist and washing His disciples’ feet, service takes on a whole new meaning. Jesus Himself said He came to serve.
“‘For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”Mark 10:45
There were often times catering that I had jobs I wasn’t sure I could do. I didn’t strut around with confidence as I did in the classroom; instead, I spent a lot of time praying for God to help me. And that’s exactly where God wants my heart to be in this new season in my life.
I am learning that I cannot depend on my gifts, abilities, education, or strength in this new calling; I will have to depend entirely upon the anointing and grace of Jesus.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'”2 Corinthians 12:9
It’s kind of ironic that the catering company I worked for was called Hidden Treasures. I took the part-time job as financial support until I could write full-time, but God had hidden treasures waiting there for me–lessons on humility, service, and grace.
I will forever be grateful for my time of transition. It was definitely challenging, but God used that time to prepare me for what is to come. (And I learned how to cook a few things!)
What is God preparing you for in this next season of life? Don’t despise the small things, the lessons along the way, that are transitioning you into the next season. Meditate on what God is doing, write it down, and ask Him to help you grow.
He will give us the grace to go from glory to glory. He will be with us in the shifting, and He will use us to do greater things as we grow with Him.