Joel Osteen — Be Comfortable With Who You Are
I want to talk to you today about being comfortable with who you are. There's an underlying pressure in our society to be number one. If we're not the best, the leader, the fastest, the most talented, the most beautiful, the most successful then we don't feel good about ourselves. We've got to work harder. We've got to run faster.
A neighbor moves into a new house, instead of being inspired, we're intimidated, thinking, "That's making me look bad. I've got to keep up". A co-worker gets a promotion. We feel like we're falling behind. A friend is going to europe on vacation. We're going to our grandmother's, if we're not careful there's always something making us feel like we don't measure up.
As long as you compare your situation to others, you will never feel good about yourself, because there will always be somebody more talented, more beautiful, more successful. You have to realize you're not running their race. You're running your race. You have a specific assignment. God has given you exactly what you need for the race that's been designed for you.
A friend, a co-worker, a relative may seem to have a more significant gift. They can outrun you, outperform you. That's okay. You're not competing with them. They have what they need for their assignment. You have what you need for your assignment.
If you make the mistake of trying to keep up with them, wondering, "Why can't I sing like that? Why can't I be the manager? When am I going to reach their level"? If you're not content with your gift, comfortable with who God made you to be, then you'll go through thinking, "I wish I had her looks. I wish I had his talent. I wish I owned their business". No, if you had what they have, it wouldn't help you. It would hinder you. They have a different assignment. Quit trying to and then you're going to feel good about yourself. "As soon as I move into their neighborhood, as soon as my business catches up to theirs, as soon as I get that promotion".
No, one of the best things I've learned is to be comfortable with who God made me to be. I don't have to outperform you to feel good about myself. I don't have to out-build you, outdrive you, outrace you, out-minister you, out-produce you. It's not about you. It's about becoming who God made me to be, and I'm all for having goals, stretching, believing big. That's important, but you have to accept the gift that God has given you, and you shouldn't feel less than if someone seems to have a more significant gift.
It takes a secure person to say, "I'm comfortable with who I am". See, I realized I'm never going to be able to minister like T.D. Jakes, but that's okay. Maybe one day he'll get better. But I hear these ministers. They have deep voices, and they're great orators, and they can move the congregation with their words, give you chill bumps, and I get up here this is what I've been given.
I can improve it, I can develop it, I can cultivate it, but my voice is never going to sound like James Earl Jones. There's always going to be somebody that can minister better, further along, more experienced, but do you know what? That doesn't bother me. I know I have the gifts I need for my assignment, and here's the key.
You don't have to have a great gift for God to use it in a great way. Do you know what the gift David had that put him on the throne? It wasn't his leadership skills. It wasn't his dynamic personality. It wasn't his ability to write and play music. It was his gift to sling a rock. He was a sharpshooter with a slingshot.
He could have thought, "Oh, great. Big deal. I'm good with a slingshot. This is not going to get me anywhere. I'm out in the shepherds' fields, alone, no people, just a bunch of sheep," but it was that slingshot, that seemingly insignificant gift, that enabled him to defeat Goliath and eventually put him on the throne.
Quit discounting the gift that God has given you. It may seem insignificant, "I'm not as smart as my sister". "I'm not as talented as my co-worker". "I can't write the software like my colleague". Maybe not, but there is something God's given you that's unique, something that will propel you into your destiny, something that will cause you to leave your mark on this generation.
Don't believe the lies that "You're average. There's nothing special about you. You don't have the personality like your cousin. You don't have the talent like your friend". No, but you've got a slingshot, and it's not so much what you have. It's the anointing that God puts on it. That slingshot, your gift, may seem ordinary, but when God breathes on it, you'll defeat a giant twice your size. You'll be promoted beyond your talent. You'll go places where you weren't qualified.
You didn't have the experience. You weren't next in line, but suddenly a door opened. Suddenly you defeated the giant. Suddenly the Compaq Center was yours. Suddenly the dream too often we look for titles and positions, then we're going to feel good about ourselves. "When I make it to sales manager, when I get on the varsity cheerleading squad, when I'm the head usher, the senior partner", no, that's fine. Nothing wrong with titles, but you don't need a title to do what God's called you to do.
Don't wait for people to approve you, affirm you, validate you. Use your gift, and the title will come. If David would have waited for a title, we wouldn't be talking about him today. When he went out to face Goliath, the whole army was watching him, and what's interesting is David wasn't a general. He wasn't a corporal. He wasn't a sergeant. He wasn't even enlisted. He didn't have a title, a name badge, a uniform, any credentials. He could have said, "I can't do anything great. I don't have a position. Nobody is celebrating me. Nobody is validating my gifts".
In fact, it was just the opposite. People were telling him how he was not qualified, how he was too small, how he was going to get hurt. That didn't bother David. His attitude was, "I don't need a title. I don't need a position. You didn't call me, and you don't have to approve me. God called me. He gave me this gift. It may seem small or insignificant to you, but I'm not here to impress you. I'm not here to please you. I'm here to fulfill my destiny".
He went out and defeated Goliath. In a few years, they gave him a title: King of Israel. Use your gifts, and the "Well, Joel, as soon as they crown me king of the office, then I'll start being my best". "As soon as they make me the head usher, then I'll show up early and give it my all". No, it works the other way around. You've got to show them what you've got, then the approval, then the recognition.
When my father was 17 years old, he gave his life to Christ, the first one in the family. He knew that he was called to preach, but the problem was they were very poor. They lost everything during the great depression, barely had enough food, didn't have any money. He couldn't afford to go to college, and he didn't have a position. No title. No denomination backing him up. No family saying, "John, follow your dreams. Do what's in your heart". His family told him, "John, you better stay here on the farm with us and pick cotton. You're going to get out there and fail".
Daddy could have thought, "I feel this calling. I know I have something to offer, if somebody was just behind me". No he didn't wait for a title, a position. He didn't wait for people to validate him. At 17, he started hitchhiking to different towns, to minister in the seniors' homes, in the prisons, on the street corners. He used what he had.
It didn't seem like much compared to other ministers that had been to seminary and had training. He would have been considered insignificant, unqualified, no experience, but you can't wait for people's approval to do what God's called you to do. What you have may seem small. You could feel intimidated, thinking that you don't have the qualifications, the title, the position. That's okay. Neither did David. Neither did my father.
If you'll use what you have, God will breathe on it, and his anointing on that simple gift will cause you to step into the fullness in the scripture there was a little boy. All he had was a lunch: five loaves of bread, two fish. Nothing much. Not very significant. Yet when thousands of people were hungry, Jesus took his lunch, multiplied it, fed the whole crowd.
The little boy's mother got up early that morning to make the lunch. She baked the bread. She cooked the fish. She went out and picked some fruit off the tree, dug up some vegetables out of the ground. She could have been considered insignificant. She was a homemaker, raising a child. Other people were out doing more exciting things, being celebrated, making a splash.
If she wouldn't have been comfortable with who she was, accepting her assignment, secure in her gifts, she would have been out competing, trying to outperform others, thinking, "I'm falling behind. They're making me look bad. I'm just making a lunch. I don't have an important title". No, titles don't bring fulfillment. Keeping up with your neighbors doesn't bring happiness.
Trying to impress all your friends will make your life miserable, but running your race, understanding your assignment, being comfortable with who God made you to be, that's what brings we hear a lot about the little boy being willing to give the lunch, but it all started when his mother took time to make the lunch. She used her gift that seemed small, just making a lunch, but God took the lunch, multiplied it, fed thousands, and we're still talking about it many years later.
Don't discount it may seem small, just making a lunch for your children, you don't know how God is going to use the child that you're making the lunch for. You may be raising a president, a world leader, a great scientist, an entrepreneur, a business leader, a pastor. You may not touch the world directly, but your child may change the world. Your assignment may be to help your seed go further.
Are you secure enough to play the role that God's given you? Are you comfortable enough to not have to be number one, to be in the front, to have the title, the position, to keep up with others? See, we put so much emphasis on rising to the top and being the leader, and, yes, I believe in excelling and having big gifts and big dreams, but I also know that everyone can't be the leader. Everyone can't run the company. Everyone can't be on the platform. Somebody has to open the doors. Somebody has to play the music. Somebody has to show people where to sit, where to park.
The beauty of our God is he's given us all an assignment. Every one of us has a specific gift, a specific purpose. Think about this: who was more important, the little boy with the lunch, or the mother that made the lunch? Without the mother, we wouldn't be who's more important, me being up here in front of all of you, or is the most important person really the ones that open the building? Without them, we couldn't get in. Or is it the ones that turned on the lights, the sound system, the cameras, or, perhaps, the ones that paid the bills during the week, or maybe it's the ones that poured the foundation some 40 years ago and built the beautiful facility, or maybe it's the ones that have supported the ministry down through the years, many of you.
The answer is, equally important. Without one the whole thing wouldn't function properly. Be secure enough to play your role. We look at who's in front, who's getting the credit, the recognition. They're the leader, and a lot of times we look up to them, admire them. That's where we want to be. But if that's not where we're called to be, it's not where we're gifted, if it's not a part of our assignment, then we're going to be frustrated because it's not happening.
If we do get there, we'll be frustrated trying to keep ourselves there, because if you promote yourself, manipulate your way into a position, then you will have to constantly work to try to stay in that position. But where God takes you, he'll keep you. Where you force your way, it's much better to have the attitude, "I don't have to be ahead of my friend to feel good about myself. I don't have to be on the main stage. I'm happy being in the background. I don't have to be the little boy with the lunch. I'm happy to be the mom that made the lunch. I'm happy to sing in the choir. I'm happy to make my company look good".
Not comparing, not trying to be something that you're not, life gets a lot more free. It takes all the pressure off, and, yes, I realize there are some positions that carry more weight and more importance, but in God's eyes the usher is just as important as the pastor. The people that clean the building are just as important as the people that own the building. Secretary, just as important as the supervisor.
God is not going to judge you based on your neighbor's gift, or your brother's gift, or by how high you rose in the company. He's going to judge you based on the assignment that he's given you. Did you run your race? Not did you outperform your neighbor? Were you more successful than your cousin? Did you get more credit, more recognition, than your colleague? You're not competing with them. They're running a different race.