Cheers to the Doer!

         Hey Ladies, It’s Melissa! Have I mentioned how amazing you all were in giving so many tips for my budget? I will report more about this soon!  For now, I came across this lengthy quote by Theodore Roosevelt, the twenty-sixth American President, and for some reason it brought tears to my eyes.  There is a good chance you have already heard it or read it but I think it is worth reading multiple times.  It goes like this:

          “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without effort or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with these cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” (1910)

      In truth I know very little about the life of Theodore Roosevelt and actually am not even sure of the precise context of this quote but I think the gist of what he is saying is pretty clear.  And I think it has a general message that could apply to many situations.  Now, I realize I am a little boyish in the sense that I love battle imagery. If you’re an all pink lady, this quote may not be for you. For those of you who are still with me here, the reason I love this quote is because it reminds me a lot of the criticism that sometimes fills our pews.  You see, I spent a lot of my time in college and graduate school critiquing the methods of various bible teachers, pastors, and writers.  Criticism is the name of the game in most academic institutions and rightly so.  It is quite appropriate in those contexts.  The difficult thing about studying the Bible in an academic institution is that it invades your entire life…I mean you can’t even escape your field of study when you are sitting at church trying to get a breath of fresh air.  This makes for an interesting dilemma.  As I would sit through various sermons I would think to myself, “Oh no! Gasp, a topical sermon, but wait, I only approve of expository preaching.”…“Did he/she teach that text appropriately?” “Was that even in the right context?” “Well, he/she obviously has never read this passage”… “Is this worship song really fit to be sung in these hallowed corridors?” 

Now I am not saying that these are bad questions to be asking per se, but simply explaining my personal situation.  Well, interestingly, it was about that time that I got so fearful to even lead a small group Bible Study in fear that I would pronounce something wrong or spread heresy.  And God forbid, that someone would say I just wasn’t a very good teacher/leader. I had apparently sat with my arms crossed during one too many sermons.  You see, the more I sat under teachers, pastors, and worship leaders with the goal of sizing them up, the more fearful/timid I was becoming to even serve in a very small ministry capacity. 

The Lord has done a great work to change my heart over the years.  He has done it through His Word. Frankly, I think I was becoming a modern-day Pharisee.  The first time I became fearful of who I was going to become was when I was at a church in Grad school and immediately after the sermon a man (who apparently took great pride in having been to Seminary) rushed up to the Pastor and “proved” to him that he preached one of his points wrongly. The dude didn’t even thank the Pastor for his wonderful message. Nothing. Just criticized him for something so trivial and silly.  I was for sure “dumber”. Yet wiser. Because I saw a vision of whom I could become. I mean, easy for this dude to sit back and wait for the Pastor to slip while this faithful man had to get up and preach in front of thousands of people.  He had prepared all week for a man to immediately rush up to him with a pointed finger in the biblical text. Sounds like something you would hear Jesus condemning in the Gospels, doesn’t it?

I have come to realize what a miracle it is for the Lord to use us in spite of our weaknesses.  We are going to make mistakes and dangit, we may even teach a passage of Scripture a tiny tiny little bit out of context at some point. Not because we want to or because we are maliciously trying to lead people astray, but because we are simply human. I am all for being trained to study the Bible. It’s the biggest passion in my life, but the truth is, we still just see through a mirror dimly. We don’t see fully yet.  The truth is we may study and study and study, and then get something slightly wrong.  Or think about this- maybe we are teaching a Sunday school class and we got all the doctrine/theology down perfectly, but our delivery wasn’t smooth.  In fact, it sounded terrible.  Well, the glorious thing is that the Lord uses the truth we taught anyway.  And maybe we’ll improve the eloquence of our delivery the next time.  I love it.  I really do.  Our fears of not getting it all right should never keep us from serving faithfully.

I just want to give a shout out- a toast of sorts- to all of you women who will serve tomorrow morning in your various congregations in spite of your fear of not being perfect and polished.  You are putting yourself out there for the sake of the body of Christ- you may be bloody and bruised, but you’re in the ring, right?  Sorry about the sports metaphor, pink ladies…lucky for you- I am done ranting.

      CHEERS to “the doer, not the mere critic- the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done” (Roosevelt, 1891). For, “Criticism is necessary and useful; it is often indispensable; but it can never take the place of action, or be even a poor substitute for it.  The function of the mere critic is of very subordinate usefulness.  It is the doer of deeds who actually counts in the battle for life, and not the man who looks on and says how the fight ought to be fought, without himself sharing the stress and the danger.” (Roosevelt, 1894)

 

 

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200 Responses to “Cheers to the Doer!”

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Comments:

  1. 151
    Karen says:

    Melissa,

    I’m beginning to prepare to lead Beth’s Esther bible study and have been secretly dealing with some of those “I’ve got to be perfect” issues so I thank you for the reminder as well. Throughout the bible God called people that were far from perfect so why should I be any different? I believe that if He can use them to bring about His purpose then He can do the same through me. Thank you for yielding to His call so that through you, He can touch so many.

    God bless you!

  2. 152
    taylor says:

    goodness, if you only knew how much i needed to read this after serving yesterday with our 5th and 6th grade ministry. as a less-than-entertaining emcee most weekends, i leave there feeling defeated by my numerous inadequacies for the position, and convinced nothing in our small groups or teaching soaked into the kids. but i will not step out of the ring for anything. thank you. 🙂

  3. 153
    Kristen says:

    Love the post Melissa! And I too am a battle imagery gal. And our US History… love it. Of course the Teddy Roosevelt quote I remember is “Walk softly and carry a big stick” which I believe was his foreign policy slogan. 🙂 originating from speak softly and carry a big stick. OK, I can walk/speak softly and my big stick is God Himself – protecting me. OK enough of that!
    As a small group facilitator and bible class leader your encouragement means so much!

  4. 154
    Tiffany says:

    Thanks, Melissa. This was great food for thought. I also have been through grad school and understand how easy it is to gain a critical spirit. It seems that desciphering when to use the skills God has allowed us to gain requires submission to the Holy Spirit, right? Just thinking aloud…Anyway,. while the Bible was not my course of study, I found that criticism bleeds over into many aspects of life. And I have equally found myself fearful of doing ministry oriented things because I fear the criticism that I’ve created in my mind before I even do the thing.

    Anyway, again, thanks…really appreciated the post.

  5. 155
    Anonymous says:

    This topic is a hot issue in our family. My husband is a popular speaker/preacher in our area, yet he is so critical of the pastor in our church. It got so that he would leave when the sermon started and go to coffee or now he just waits til the last minute on sunday morning and says he’s not going. We have tried some other churches but it’s always the same. I go by myself with the kids alot. It’s almost easier than sitting and wondering if he’s going to take offense to something. I don’t know what to do.

    I appreciated your comments because they helped me understand what must be going through his head. I’m thankful to see how you are choosing to react, it takes alot of grace to submit to learning from others in that way. Also I was encouraged to keep listening and learning and not let the critical spirit and fear take over me as well. It’s so hard to see someone you love be so hardened in some ways. It’s hard for me to listen to him preach too because I see how he acts daily.

    Sorry for rambling, but you struck a raw nerve and I am seeking God’s will in this, Many blessings to you as you share God’s word in word and deeds.

  6. 156
    heather_dianne says:

    Thank you, Melissa (and all those who get out in the ring and teach) for your strong commitment to “teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that you may present everyone perfect in Christ.” I don’t have any formal training and it sounds like there’s so much to learn and know and there’s the pressure to do it well.

    I’m just thankful that my church and the Lord Jesus allow me to “shepherd” the preK- 1st graders and allow me to work in the photography ministry. I know I don’t know or understand nearly as much as I should, so I’ve probably taught my own young son out of context at times, but I’m trying, by the grace of God, to train him in the way he should go as well as walk the way I’m supposed to go.

    Hopefully as my life continues to reflect the Word more and more, I’ll become “blameless and pure, a child of God without fault in this crooked and depraved generation, and shine like a star as I hold out the Word of life.” (my 1st scripture memory verse of the year!!!!)

    (I just had the thought that those scriptures might be out of context in this setting, so forgive me if they are! I meant them to be an encouragment, that’s all I know!!!!!!)

  7. 157
    Siesta OC says:

    By the way, I love that the print was a little bigger, especially on the longer posts; easier to read.

  8. 158
    christina says:

    Thanks for bringing this quote back to me – before high school marching band competitions and even during rehearsal while preparing for said competitions, my band director would shout Roosevelt’s 1910 quote impassionedly to us. I think it applies to a lot of us, even the ones who aren’t in ministry (like, say, a music profession) who have the exact same struggles or think they are not good enough to do this thing or the other. Thank you for the encouragement.

  9. 159
    heather_dianne says:

    I just posted, but if I may post one more thing. Keep on teaching and stepping out if its God’s plan for you because for every person criticizing you, there are 5 or 10 more who are sitting in wide-eyed wonder, touched and profoundly being changed by God’s word through you. As I read some of the comments, it dawned on me how much our pastors/teachers need to know that they matter to us and we love them dearly and accept them! The Word is getting through and people are growing in godliness!!! I’m one of them! Isn’t it up to God’s Spirit to produce the change? We are simply faithful (but imperfect) conduits pursuing Him and His excellence!

  10. 160
    Anonymous says:

    This is not directly related to your post, but I am sending out an SOS to ask my siestas to pray for me. I’ve fallen in the pit of obesity for the upteenth time, after experiencing freedom multiple times and vowing never, ever again to fall to such lows. Today my 10 year old daughter, for reasons that can only be explained by the Holy Spirit, popped in Beth’s teaching from the Living Beyond Yourself study, choosing the one on, what else, self-control. So I’m washing dishes and weeping into the sink and celebrating Hannakuh on my kitchen floor while snuggled with my pug. I am desperate to just make it through an hour and a half till dinner time without eating. I NEED a victory, because I have begun to believe the lie that I will never, ever be free. My pit is too deep. I have walked into it willingly and now I’m on my own to figure out how to crawl out. These are the lies I need to combat, but I’ve listened to them for so long, they sound like truth. Please pray me through these first few days when the radical changes God is calling me to will temporarily consume me. I need to be consumed instead by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I appreciate your prayers on my behalf … in fact, I am desperate for them.

    R.G. in Pa

  11. 161
    Anonymous says:

    Dear RG in Pa,
    I’ll be praying for you. We have ALL thought that same thought of “I’ll never be free”. Don’t listen to it! Cry out to God – He is right there and will help you. You are MORE than a conqueror because of Christ Jesus in you. And you have authority over ALL power of the enemy (Luke 10:19). Satan may have power but YOU have authority to decide how that power is used.

    Jessica in Greensboro, NC

  12. 162
    Anonymous says:

    My eyes are welled with tears as I read this. I know you wrote this for others, too, but today it was specifically a word to me from our Lord. I am a Chrisitian speaker/writer and I have had someone very critical coming after me this past week and it has been extremely difficult. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Thank you for the reminder – and for posting it even though, I’m sure, there will be someone with a critical spirit come after you for posting it! LOL You be blessed, my friend.

  13. 163
    Theresa Haskins says:

    Your timing is incredible! JUST this past Sunday I was putting myself down for not being perfect. I run the first hour Children’s program and lead a 4th and 5th grade group. I tend to think I never do quite enough preparation or that I could of/should of done something differently…thanks for the reminder that I’m human (and it’s okay)!

  14. 164
    Honorary Indian says:

    First, of all…let me just say, Melissa, that I love how many times you said the word “dude.”

    As an almost-40-year-old woman…I just LOVE THAT!

    Secondly, thank you for the “shout out” to those of us who lead various groups on a weekly (or monthly or whatever) basis. Because half the time I don’t think I’ve got a PINKY handle on the topic at hand. But, I cling to the truth that God does not call the equipped. He equips the called.

    Amen. 🙂

  15. 165
    Deborah says:

    Melissa,

    It's only God, of course, but this was something I definitely needed to hear–Bible college grad, big desires to do spectacular things for God, and paralyzed by the idea that I might be preserving something less-than-perfect for generations to come. I have a gang of 5th & 6th graders whom I teach each Sunday and this was both encouragement and kick-in-the-butt that I need to be faithful and diligent, but trust the results to God. I *know* I'm not communicating all that I wish to…toooo tired. But *thank*you* for being used of our Father to continue His work and ministry in my life. As is evident by the lack thereof :), it means more than my feeble words can say.

    Much love & thanks!
    ~Deborah 🙂

  16. 166
    cindy says:

    I love battle imagery! Braveheart, Gladiator, Lord of the Rings; preach it, sister. That and sports; Hoosiers, Remember the Titans, Rudy, Rocky. Ya gotta love it.

  17. 167
    Emmy says:

    That was very encouraging Melissa thank you! I only facilitate a group of 11 girls every week… tomorrow we start Esther… I always get so nervous and beat myself up every week after group thinking “What in the world am I doing leading this group of young women!” I would just be so broken hearted if I ever did anything to lead them astray… I just have a passion for small groups because that is where I learned about Jesus and I so want others to fall in love with Him too… but I really have no clue what I am doing! Just a heart for Him… praying he will cover what I mess up!

  18. 168
    Jen says:

    Thank you. I so needed to hear that! I often feel that fear and complacency keep me on the sidelines instead of getting out there and doing things for Christ. What a blessing and nudge your post was for me.

  19. 169
    Kristy says:

    This was so good. I suffer – unfortunately, of fearing I will say or do the wrong thing – that I will misinterpret the bible, or of not knowing the answer to a question – and it does keep me from wanting to lead a small group. God has taught me so much, and has given me such a hunger for His Word, and learn more and more, but that fear continues to hold me back from teaching others what He has taught me! Oh, the awful wretch that I am!!!

  20. 170
    jalley says:

    Thank you for sharing the quote by Theodore Roosevelt. I’ve not heard that one before. I really needed it. Sometimes when it feels like you are getting no where, it is the battle itself that matters.

    You can be a sport/battle girl and a pink girl. Hot pink is my favorite!

  21. 171
    Anonymous says:

    Thanks Melissa for that quote from Good old Theodore Roosevelt. I too felt the excitement of that speech of being in the ring and Fighting the good Fight of Faith. I like to think of myself as one of God’s soldiers even if I am a woman (lol). I like the gladiators of the bible and the Deborahs. Not easy for a woman, who everyone wants to put in a kitchen (nothing wrong there…I love to bake and cook)but I also love to fish and hike and get under the hood of a car and see what makes it tick. I always felt weird…thanks I don’t now. I have the opposite problem though…I am one who feels I always have to defend the insight God has shown me to those who critique it. I feel I have been in numerous positions where supposedly a woman can’t do what the men of the bible did. So I feel I am constantly trying to defend or proove it. Not a good place to be either. :0( I am slowly having to learn that God can defend His own word. I just do what He asks me to do. Hard to do, but true. Cheers!

    I agree with what Jen said (hope she doesn’t mind me quoting her) “What a blessing and nudge your post was for me.” Ditto to that!

  22. 172
    Anonymous says:

    Just a blog topic suggestion for Melissa since you are the only Biblical scholar I “know” – should we be praying for our country to repent of our many social evils and become a Christian nation again, or is the current state of our country just part of the countdown to His return for which we should be praying “Even so, come Lord Jesus!” I guess I’m asking would these prayers alter God’s plans for the end days?

  23. 173
    Nicole says:

    I totally agree. Criticism is cheap but solutions are expensive. It’s only when we’re in the ring fighting that we realize how difficult the doing really is.

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    I’m blogging about Jesus in the everyday at: http://burningbushes.org/

  24. 174
    Anonymous says:

    praying for R.G. in Pa…….

  25. 175
    Ronda says:

    I, too, have both experienced this personally and have watched others week after week search for what is wrong with the messenger and totally missed the message. Not only that, but each of us are given our ministries–by the mercy of the Holy Spirit. We can do nothing without Him, which makes us free to fail at times because it’s not us to start with. It’s Him.

  26. 176
    Retta says:

    Here, here! I just love Teddy; well both of the Roosevelt Presidents were awesome in my opinion. But we (as in Americans) lived in a different era of thinking back then… I do not believe in evolution! However, personally speaking, I can see where a since of de-evolution has taken place in society. It’s sad!

    But you are right God is still here and still very much in control! As it says in Matthew 7:1(NAS) “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.”

    Lastly, just for fun, here are a couple of FDR quotes:

    “I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.”
    Franklin D. Roosevelt

    “I do not look upon these United States as a finished product. We are still in the making.”
    Franklin D. Roosevelt

    Lord, i humbly ask that you not be finished with us, as a person, as a gender, as a nation, nor as a world…Glory and Honor be Yours alone from everlasting to everlasting…Your will be done…through Jesus i pray-Amen

  27. 177
    Missy says:

    Thanks for the encouragement, Melissa! Like you, I have often been taken captive by my academic side. But, God is growing me a lot in that department.

    Also, don’t worry – I might be considered a “pink lady,” but the battle imagery still resonates with me. Real life includes bang-ups and bruises. There’s no getting around it! Our enemy fights dirty, and if we’re going to be victorious, we have to stop worrying about our lipstick! 🙂

  28. 178
    SAHSHA says:

    WOW!! I am very much the critic in life. In fact, I dream of retiring one day and becoming one of those people who write reviews on food, music, movies and books… Imagine, getting paid to be critical! Amazing world we live in… Anyways, your post today stunned me silent. There was nothing to say, nothing I could comment on… nothing… only to look at myself and say… whoa!
    Thanks girl! I love your posts. Keep ’em coming!
    -Sahsha’s Mumy

  29. 179
    Rachel says:

    Melissa–I needed that today as I prepare to leave my two babies to return to teaching. Thank you.

  30. 180
    Anonymous says:

    Oh wow Melissa..All I can say is “thank you” Those were God inspired words to me and I thank you for caring enough to send them out. God must be really wanting me to get this message because for the last week this message has come to me loud and clear..
    Thank you sweet Lord

  31. 181
    Rachel in Louisiana says:

    My father was a pastor of a small church had to stand behind the pulpit for the last few years as a small disgruntled and pious group sat on the back row at church and shook their heads “no” in disapproval of anything he said. They’d sit with their arms firmly crossed and get up and walk out if he really said something that they didn’t like. Then they’d send letters pointing out his wrongs and how he was off base with his sermons. He couldn’t win for losing with these people. But you know what? He was up there doing what God called him to do to the best of his ability. And he didn’t back down.

    I too, could easily be like the man you described. I was really. God knocked me of the proud horse a while back though and I’m so grateful…..and hope to never turn back.

    I loved that quote.

  32. 182
    Anonymous says:

    Thank you- from a dirt speared, little bit worse for wear pastor’s wife!

  33. 183
    Break the Mold says:

    Interestingly, and in Gods amazingly perfect timing, I literally just hit send on an email to my pastors wife for guidance and oversight so I will not misaply Gods word with an avenue he has recently opened to me to share His word with a large audience. I so want to be faithful with His word and not mislead someone or misuse scripture that fear of it creeps in so easily. The goal is not to not have fear but to not let the fear imobilize us. Thank you for reminding me that I will misuse Gods word and I will sometimes teach it or share it out of context…that is guaranteed as long as I am in the flesh….but that He is greater than my mistakes and His word will never return to Him void!

    I can not fathom what He is doing and why He would use me. I just want to be faithful…

    Dawn in Miami
    the avenue God has opened that I menitoned above is a blog we started for our 9 year old son battling cancer. God has created a ministry out of it and we are in awe of what He is doing. The blog is… http://www.georgefamilyblog.com

  34. 184
    katiegfromtennessee says:

    Hey Mrs. Melissa!:)

    Very interest., Melissa, I have heard this quote before, my pastor told us this in one of His sermons. The end of it is what stuck with me…I don’t want to be overly critical either! I want to be able to appreciate the heart of the person speaking! Doctrinal truth has got to be protected at the same time. No, none of us are the ult. expert on the Word,only He is, because He wrote it…Hmm, a clear directive from Him when we speak…loving others as you love yourself should be the way of addressing what could lead others in error when we hear it spoken by someone else..confront with respect…This reminds me of Apollos being taught further by Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18). He acq. the further education and moved on without beating himself up. His heart was right, he just didn’t have all the info yet:) None of us are better than ea. other, we esteem others as better than ourself…You have a healthy respect for true biblical doctrine, that’s a good thing!:) I guess the balance in this comes from Him too…ya got my mind goin’:)

    Blessings, love in HIM and ((HUGS)) to you,

    katiegfromtennessee

  35. 185
    Shannon says:

    I recently begun reading through the bible again and came across scripture (Numbers 12: 1-9) where God is angered by Miriam and Aaron’s questioning of Moses decision to marry the Cushite woman.

    God’s response at the end of these verses put me in my place as I had recently been critiquing a Pastor’s theology. I can not tell you how quickly I was convicted of my sin and reminded that I need to get in touch with the God of the Old Testament again and remember how holy He is and how NOT I am in comparison.

    Timely for me to read this reminder as well just days after coming across that passage in scripture.

  36. 186
    hkudla says:

    Melissa,
    Thank you. I don’t know what else to say but thank you…
    I was one of those up front, serving with fear and trepidation… scared out of my gourd really….
    I have become a worship team leader. One of two women in the role. This week was the first time I was going to go without notes and just let God lead, rather than have it scripted so I didn’t “make a mistake.” I did go unscripted. I may have made a mistake or two. But I don’t remember them. I just remember the feeling of praying before the sermon, and the feeling of coming away not know what I said, because I knew that God had said it not me.
    I have made mistakes. I will make more. I am going to try not to let it keep me from ministry any more.

    Thank you again for your encouragement and powerful post.
    God bless,
    Heather

  37. 187
    Olson Family says:

    Loved this post. Speaking to my heart at the right time – Thank You.

  38. 188
    valerie says:

    Thanks Melissa!
    I started working with the youth at our church a little over six years ago because it had almost dwindled away to nothing. Oh…..it's been tough and I have felt so inadequate so much of the time (feeling like I wasn't fun enough, young enough etc.) and people have hurt my feelings and I've wanted to give up (several times!!). There simply wasn't anyone else to do it so I stuck with it. I love the kids and finallly came to the realization that loving them is what they need. Not necessarily someone to fulfill activities upon activities, but someone who truly cares. My desire was for the kids to know there is a safe place each Wed. evening with a balance of food, fellowship, devotion & praise and worship.
    I prayed, my co-sponsor (very godly servant!) prayed. We have a youth leader now and average about 35 kids each week at our Wed. youth meeting. A man by the name of Ron Hutchcraft was on the radio one day (six years ago) with a great lesson for anyone working with youth and it blessed me so.
    I've come a long way and have grown a lot. I also facilitate our ladies Bible studies. God has taken away a lot of my fears because I've just "done the thang" as your mom would say.:) I've done it because nobody else was stepping up or had that desire and I wanted our ladies to experience the great teaching that I had received. Even now, we're meeting in a different location at our church, because of the growth. Some have expressed their dislikes about certain things and I have to go to God and listen to Him and not worry about trying to please everyone in the group. It's impossible to please everyone.
    Thank you for this reminder for all of us…to be encouragers to one another and not look for ways to discourage.
    Also…thanks for all the research you did for "Esther". We started Esther two weeks ago and we have 42 signed up. Our largest number yet. We are lovin' it!!!
    (sorry so long!)
    God bless!
    Love,
    Valerie

  39. 189
    Gwyn Rosser says:

    What a great quote by T. Roosevelt! It goes right along with where my husband and I are right now (where God has us right now) — talking about our need to live out loud and live in color and to stop being observers of this life, rather to jump in with both feet and wallow in it!! That has been one of our “goals” and a Dream God has given us for 2009. Thanks for the encouraging word.

  40. 190
    Anonymous says:

    WOW! I am so onto what you’re talking about. I’ve felt that way too. Isn’t it so embarrassing when God shines light on something ugly about yourself? But I’m so thankful He does.I studied music in college. Then, my husband took his first youth pastor job at a very small church in the country and the music pastor could not read music at all. He didn’t know an A from a J. I would sit through choir practice staring at my music because I was afraid he would see in my eyes how bad I thought he was. I was shocked by myself and found myself constantly being ugly in my mind. What in the world? Finally, the Lord started showing me that He really meant “make a joyful noise” and that worship is not about me! Thanks for sharing.

  41. 191
    Tracey K says:

    Oh, Melissa… I'm a few days late reading but had to comment. I'm a dean's secretary in a Baptist university in Christian Studies. I work day in & day out w/ students studying for ministry. They are GREAT & i love them so much. But sadly a FEW never get this. You hit the nail on the head, girl. We don't want to be careless with God's Word… but when God calls us, we have to put ourselves out there – knowing we may make mistakes – trusting that God is big enough to use us anyway. I love that we can depend on the Holy Spirit to do His job!
    I love that you're part of the team, Melissa.
    With love from Arkadelphia~
    ps~ we are LOVIN' the Esther study!!!

  42. 192
    godsgal says:

    Oh, Melissa! You hit the nail right on the head with me! I’m hearing this after the fact, because I sang at church last Sunday and I’m just reading this today. But it describes what I’ve been feeling for years. I used to sing alot at church, but stopped after I was criticized (nicely) time and again for not doing as good a job as those who majored in music in college. The Lord does tell us to just make a “joyful” noise, doesn’t he? I have never professed to be a pro, but I love to sing songs with lyrics that really reasonate with me. I think if the song touched my heart, it may be a blessing for someone else also. (And by the way, I can carry a tune). Thanks for reminding me to let the Lord use me – no matter how imperfect I am.

  43. 193
    Gail says:

    Thank you so much for that, Melissa! God bless you!

  44. 194
    likebrandnew says:

    Loved the post. I read it while preparing for childrens church the following day. It occured to me that no one has ever (not that it is needed) offered me thanks or good job for the weekly duties of ministry. The weekly preperation is part of a lifestyle that only a select group of people in ministry understand, and as I read your post I realized that there are so many people on the blog with the same committments to a church somewhere each week. I feel like part of the group!

  45. 195
    Debbie says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post. I needed to hear this.

  46. 196
    jennyhope says:

    Whoa I could not have read this at a better time. I had to stop and repent last night of some pride and having a judgmental critical attitude. I hate how it creeps up. Then, I was driving in the car and I was all Lord I can’t be used by you and etc…it is so true that the more critical I become the less I feel like I can measure up.
    My daughter was swinging today and she said mom push me. I told her I didn’t feel good and she could do it. She yelled across the yard: “I AM NOT SUPER WOMAN…please COME PUSH ME.” I died laughing because I did not know how that 3 year old had heard that.
    We are all wise to look at our own lives and see that we aren’t all that when we start our critical attitudes…or better yet…super woman.

  47. 197
    wannagrowwannago says:

    i find myself wondering not so much with the teaching even but in serving others, especially and unfortunately in churches if that is why the “almighty” dollar is given more freely than we give of our own selves….with all that our personalities include, all our mistakes and all our successes…..we are evaluated, we are analyzed, we are criticized, and we do our fair share of the same…. We all hate the game but very few know how to stop. so we give the dollar…not much to criticize in that and often we are admired. it was interesting to me that when our youth went on a mission trip to a third world country a couple of years ago i even thought why not just send the money including what our expenses would be, they could do so much more with it. the truth was, they didn’t want our money..they wanted us. Flesh and blood. Hearts and hugs!! I agree, cheers to the doers, keep doing (and giving) and may God in His grace forgive us all when out of our own need to compare and compete we criticize a servant of God

  48. 198
    Shan says:

    Melissa–Thank you for your message! I’ve been facilitating a “Believing God” study for several weeks now and often feel “less than adequate” to try and lead. Thank you for encouraging us to step up and do the best we can! I’m not a bible scholar, but I’m trying to become one, day by day!

  49. 199
    Anonymous says:

    Isn’t today the 3rd Thursday for our memory verses? I stopped by to post mine before I went nighty-night but didn’t see the post.

    Can you tell I’m excited about it!!!!! : )

    Thx, Michelle W. in San Diego

  50. 200
    Mary Ann in LebMO says:

    Thanks, just what I have been going through.

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