I have been job searching for two years now. Yes, two years. I graduated college back in 2015 and have had no luck. I didn’t get my first interview until July 2016. I had three this past March (woo!) but one ended up not being for the job advertised, two moved forward to second-round interviews, but they fell through as well.
I have applied for hundreds of jobs. Some, I don’t even want, but to make it in this world you have to have money and I don’t have any. When looking at all the job postings, I always scroll down to the bottom and look at qualifications. Depending on the job, you may say I am overqualified (requirements of high school GED or diploma, 1 year of customer service) and some I would be underqualified (Master’s degree, 3-5 years experience, yada yada). There have been many jobs I’ve wanted, roughly around the qualified mark, give or take, but, as circumstances show, I’m not what they wanted.
Am I not qualified? Am I overqualified? Was it just a flip of the coin for who got the job? What is it? For the job searching world, our past makes up our qualifications – education, experience, etc. And with how impersonal the job market is, it’s all about what looks good on paper.
I know we feel that way with our callings from God. Usually it’s the “I’m not qualified” card we pull out. We know where we come from, what our talents are (or what our talents aren’t), what have been our sins and shortcomings, how we would look if written on a piece of paper, and we think, “there’s no way I can do that. I cannot measure up to that.”
But, does God bring up your past? Does He say that what has happened, or didn’t happen, makes you unqualified?
“I, yes I alone, will blot out your sins for My own sake and will never think of them again.” Isaiah 43:25 NLT
“He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” Psalm 103:12 NLT
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
He has given us a new beginning, a fresh start, a blank slate. Our past cannot taint our present and future. However, it can be used in our influence. We’ve been there, done that, gotten all the free t-shirts and pens and other gimmicks. We can recognize the brokenness in others because we are all too familiar with it.
“My own brokenness, driving me into Christ, is exactly where I can touch the brokenhearted. Our most meaningful purpose can be found exactly in our most painful brokenness. … Why have we swallowed the lie that we can only help if we’re perfect? … What makes us feel the most disqualified for the abundant life is actually what makes us the most qualified. It’s the broken and limping, the wounded and scarred, the strugglers and stragglers, who may know best where to run with wounds. It’s only the broken who know where the cracks are and how our broken wounds can be the thin places that reveal God. … Those who’ve known an unspoken broken can speak the most real healing.” Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way (pg.221)
The lies that say what you’ve done and what’s been done to you is enough to keep you from moving forward and being a godly woman is straight from the devil. The lies that say you are too empty and don’t have enough are from the devil to hinder the impact you can have. Satan would love nothing more for you to reflect on your past, dwell on your present, focus on where your lacks and cracks are, and give up. But it is in our brokenness, it is in our lack, that God reveals Himself to a broken world who lacks all that He can freely give.
We who have personally witnessed and experienced God healing our brokenness and restoring our lack, can now turn to others in those same places sharing that what He has done in us He can also do in them.
Taking a glance in the Bible, you see plenty of people who say their brokenness and lack is what makes them unqualified and yet God says that it is for those reasons that they are the person for the calling.
I think of Esther. She was a simple, humble, Jewish girl brought into the King of Persia’s home as his new queen. She was chosen to be the new queen simply based on looks. Yet, here she was, despite whatever her past consisted of, despite her beliefs, Esther was queen. A Jew in the palace of Persians. A decree was sent out to slaughter her people, her race. She was fearful! Her life was on the line, but so was so many others. I am sure she felt unqualified for the task at hand. But I love what Mordecai says to her in her doubt.
“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 ESV
Because of her new position, because of her heritage, she was the right person for what God needed. Esther had such favor with King Xerxes; he was quite taken with her. Whether that was her beauty, her spirit, we’re not sure. But regardless, God placed her where she was and she was obedient to Him, pleaded on behalf of her people, and with that courage, with that boldness and obedience, King Xerxes’ heart was stirred and convicted of the impending crime.
“Our weakness is a vessel for His power and our flaws a canvas for His grace.”
For a 180 example, look at Paul – he wasn’t just a man who hated Christians; he murdered them by the multitudes! But God grabbed hold of his heart, changed him from the inside, and he became a radical missionary. Paul could have said his past is reason for him not to proclaim the Gospel, but that is the exact kind of transformation that people will look at and see the power of God.
“This is a trustworthy saying and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of His great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they too, can believe in Him and receive eternal life.” 1 Timothy 1:15-16 NLT
The list goes on. Moses being a former inhabitant of Pharaoh’s home to be the one to return after decades to ask him to release God’s people, who were once his slaves and currently under Pharaoh’s rule. Abraham and Sarah, at times living like nomads and being barren, were the ones to bring forth an offspring that a whole race would descend from. David, a shepherd and the youngest of his family, to defeat a giant and become the greatest king of Israel. Rahab, a prostitute who helped the spies of Israel, was spared her life in the destruction of Jericho and is part of the earthly lineage of Christ.
The Bible is full of stories of those that God used to become great in His kingdom. Who is to say that He cannot use you?
“…the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10 ESV
“There’s brokenness that’s not about blame. There’s brokenness that makes a canvas for God’s light. There’s brokenness that makes windows straight into souls. Brokenness happens in a soul so that power of God can happen in a soul.” Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way
We live in a broken world. We are broken people. But as believers, as children of the Living God, we have been redeemed and restored, therefore equipped to do that which God has called us to. It is by His strength and courage we are able to fulfill our callings. If we tried on our own, then we would fail. We would be unqualified. But with Christ reconciling us by His death on the cross and the Holy Spirit living in us, we have been given all the power, strength, wisdom, and boldness needed to live out our position as Christians.
Don’t let the devil or any man tell you that you’re not enough, don’t have enough, and aren’t qualified for the call God has placed on your heart.
He empowers us to do the unthinkable and the reckless. He enables us to be courageous and great. Just like all the histories in Scripture, regardless of past and present circumstances, the men and women who pursued God with their whole hearts found fullness in Him. Their past and present brokenness never was a hindrance in God’s eyes; they were what qualified them.
“God is more likely to use your weakness for His glory than your strengths.” John Piper
“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of His call. May He give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11 NLT
“It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5 NLT