You're Not Who They Say You Are
A long, long time ago, when I was in occupational ministry, I was approached by a leader who wanted to write a book about the different sizes of churches and what it takes to grow each one.
A proverbial pissing match in a book.
He got a different leader to write about each level based on the size of their churches. He, of course, took “the largest size,” the book’s climactic, end-all, be-all chapter of ecclesiological wisdom.
As for me, he asked me to write the FIRST chapter. The smallest church size. The 0-100 level.
Because, apparently, I was a peon.
It took me a week to muster the courage to respond, but I eventually did, calling him to explain that I didn’t want to be viewed that way. It wasn’t how I saw myself.
Have you ever left a conversation wishing you had said everything you wanted to say? Not me. Not this time. I said everything I wanted to say.
I’m sure he looked at my situation and thought, “Um, but that’s who you are.”
Sure. But I wasn’t going to be memorialized that way.
There is who I have been in the past. And there is who I am now. But there is also who I intend to become in the future. And this vision guides my actions and decisions until my reality aligns with it.
Nobody puts Benny in a corner.*
I think that’s what God intended by changing people’s names. Not in a George W. Bush kinda way* but to give them a vision for who they were meant to be.
Abram to Abraham
Jacob to Israel
Cephas to Peter
Saul to Paul
It takes spiritual imagination to consider how God can use you, but even more, courage to live it out.
Do you know what I love about this season of life?*
My hair has turned gray.
There are creases around my eyes.
I’m starting to look like my grandfather.
Okay, not that.
I’m an Enneagram 8 but no longer fly off the handle at every offense. I have the same personality type* as Lord Voldemort* but am finally able to operate out of empathy.
I know my strengths and the things I need to avoid. I know which endeavors fulfill my purpose and which ones waste my time. I can envision my life’s potential and the legacy I want to have 20 years from now.
And I try not to do anything that undermines it. (Which includes not letting people put me in a box.)
I don’t know what my new name is, but it sure as hell isn’t that “Ben Arment” guy anymore.
What’s your new name?
People can think anything they want about you. But they don’t get to define your identity. That’s God’s job.
You are not who they say you are.
WEEKEND IN THE WOODS
Gather with us in the "round room" as we listen to each other's stories. We believe that every man is an expert in something that other men are not. We tip our hat to you, good sir, and offer our own life’s lessons in exchange for yours. | June 3-5 | Virginia | Click.