Joyce Meyer - Stay In Your Own Lane
I want to talk to you this afternoon, just a little message that God dropped in my heart one afternoon and I wrote it down, called, "Stay in your own lane". You know, if you think about drivin' a car, if you drift out of your lane, you're likely to get in a wreck or cause a wreck, and our lives are the same way. We need to know what our lane is and get in it and stay in it. And, you know, when you find out what your sweet spot is or what it is that you're supposed to be doing, what you're gifted for and talented for, the devil will use any number of ways to try to get you out of it.
And, one of the things that happens is we begin to compare ourselves with other people and maybe we're not doing what they're doing, and maybe it looks like what they're doing is more important or it's better than what we're doing. And so, we fall into the trap, and I think everybody probably does this at least once in their life, for some people, it's a lifetime problem, of trying to be something that they're not. We think that we should be like this one or like that one. We should look like you, or act like you, or behave like you, or be able to do what you do. And, not only do we think that but a huge mistake that human beings make is they think if they're good at something that everybody else should be good at that too.
Come on, now. How many of you get frustrated at other people that you're in a relationship with because they can't do it as fast as you do it, or the way you do it, or they can't do it at all. Maybe, it's your children. Maybe, it's somebody that you're married to. In a marriage, you fall in love almost always with somebody that's different than you. And, then as soon as you get married to 'em, you start tryin' to change 'em and make 'em like you are. And, that's such a mistake because the reason why we're drawn to people that are not like us is because we need them. We have certain gifts, other people have certain gifts, and the way God wants his body to work is for each of us to bring what we have and work together without comParison or without thinking that our job determines our worth and value.
Now, I'm gonna say that again. Your job, your career does not determine your worth and value. Amen? We have to stop looking at somebody and thinking because they seem to have what the, "World", would deem as a more important job, and notice, I said what the, "World", would deem as a more important job that, that makes that person more important than them or better than them. The only thing that we need to do is find out what God wants us to do and do it, and we will get an equal reward. If I'm on the platform because that's where God has given me the grace to be and people listen to me speak, or if I'm a great singer, which I am not but there were people up here before me that were, and maybe, then, there's somebody else here that their job is to stay here after all this is over and clean the place up, maybe, clean up the restrooms after us and sweep the place up. People tend to think, "Well, I'm just a janitor", or I hate to hear a woman say, "I'm just a stay-at-home mom".
Let me tell you. The minute you say that, "Well, I'm just this", you're already saying that you're lowering yourself or what you think of yourself. And, I'll tell you what. I mean, I remember being home with three kids. And I'll tell you what, that's not, "Just an", anything. I mean, that can turn you every which way but loose. And, it's a big job. You're not just a stay-at-home mom. My gosh, you're a mother. Women take care of so many things and they are so valuable and so... Such multi-taskers, and they have tender hearts and they care about things.
And so, one of my goals today is I want everybody to go outta here today feelin' good about yourself. And, I want everybody to go out of here knowing that you don't have any reason or right to compare yourself with anybody else. And, if you're doing this, I want you to stop comparing yourself with other people. You don't need to look like them, act like them, know what they know, do what they do, you need to just be you. And, you don't need to apologize for being you. You need to be yourself because everybody else is already taken. Amen?
So, if you get outta your lane, and you're trying to run somebody else's race, you're gonna sure end up with a wreck in your life. And, I can tell ya, there are people sitting in here today and people listening and watching on different devices and the only reason why you're unhappy is because you're trying to be something you're not. I mean, that is the only reason and you're doing it for all the wrong reasons because you think you're supposed to because people tell you, you should, you ought to. It's amazing. Everybody that does something, thinks everybody else oughta do it. But, that's not the way it should be.
You know, I used to sit in church and think, "Oh, man. I wish I could sing like her. Boy, she's got such a beautiful, I just wish that I could sing like her". And, you know, God taught me a lesson. He said, "You know, I put gifts in other people for you to enjoy not for you to be jealous of". Now, I have a gift of communication, and I'm gonna be able to communicate some things to you today about the Word of God that's gonna help you understand it in a better way. So, all you need to do is sit there and enjoy my gift. My gift causes me to have to work but you get to enjoy it.
And see, your gift causes you to have to work, but then I get to enjoy it. And, I can tell ya, before God can do very much with you, you're gonna have to come to terms with and get comfortable being yourself. Amen? You can't wanna be, "Oh, I wanna be just like you", or, "I'm gonna be the next joyce meyer". Well, I hope not. I mean, I hope there's only one of me, and whatever you do, I hope it's greater than anything that I've done. Don't settle for being like somebody else, be the best version of yourself that you can be. And, stop apologizing for yourself. Amen? Do what you're good at. Don't be afraid to just do what you're good at. I don't know.
Do we really believe God wants us to be happy? Do you really think he's gonna force you into a career that's gonna make you miserable? Wonder how many people keep a job they hate just because they make a little more money than they would make if they took the job they'd really love to do. Come on, I'm gonna say that again real slow. You know how many people hate their job? "I hate my job". "I hate my boss". "I hate the people I work with". "I hate the drive to work". God doesn't want us to hate our lives and hate what we do. So, you say, "Well then, why don't you get a different job? Why don't you do something else"? "Well, you know, I can't afford to give up the money. I make good money".
I'll tell you something. Joy is a lot more important than money. Now, obviously, we need money but you'd be better off to find a way to cut your expenses and get a job where you can be happy than to spend your whole life doing something that you hate and dread. And, I hope that I push somebody over the edge today and you just get enough guts to just quit that job you can't stand. I mean it, don't spend your whole life doing something you can't stand. We should love our lives and we should enjoy our lives. And, you can't do that if you're trying to be something other than what you are. God always gives us grace for our place. So many people don't seem to know what they're supposed to do with themselves in life. "I just don't know what I'm called to do".
You know, if you really don't know what you're called to do just try a few things, and just find what you're comfortable with. Find what you enjoy. Find what you're good at. You know, when I fell in love with Jesus, I just wanted to serve God. I just wanted to work for him and do whatever I could do, and I was willing to try anything. I never was one of these kinda people that spend half my life waiting for God to tell me what I was called to do. I just got busy. And, if the church had a evangelism team and they wanted us to go out, and the church I went to had a big street ministry in downtown Dt. Louis and they had this big thing about passing out tracts. I'll never forget those tracts. They were white and yellow and had a little Jesus loves you smiley face on 'em. And, we would go in to downtown St. Louis and give these tracts to strangers and say, "Jesus loves you", and I hated it.
You say, "Well, what kind of thing is that to say that you hated giving out Gospel tracts"? I hated it. It was embarrassing. I had to make myself do it. I didn't like it, and we went in the winter and it was freezing cold. And, I remember the first tract I tried to give to somebody, they slapped it out of my hand and said, "I don't want that blankety-blank blank thing". But then, there's other people that are really anointed for that kind of evangelism. And, I mean, if you're a sinner you don't wanna get in an elevator with 'em because you'll be saved by the time you get out. I tried door-to-door evangelism, and that was all I did was go door-to-door and I let everybody else do all the talking. But you get me up here, you can put me in front of twenty million people and I'll be just as bold as I can be and say anything I believe God wants me to say.
So, why could you get in front of 20 million people and talk but you don't wanna face down one person? I don't know. And, what's more, I don't care. All I know is God's got everything covered, and we don't have to all do everything, we just need to find out what we're good at and do that. And, just because somebody else is comfortable doing that doesn't mean there's something wrong with me or something wrong with you because we don't want to do that. Are you there? I bet somebody just got set free. And, I did the street thing for a long time and I just didn't enjoy it. I dreaded it coming, it just wasn't me. And then, of course, I felt guilty because I didn't like it.
You know, I felt like I should like it, I should wanna do it. And, I think sometimes as leaders, although, we may not even realize what we're doing, they push that so hard at the church that I went to at that time about passing out these Gospel tracts everywhere you went, I got to the point where I didn't even wanna go outta the house because I felt like, that all I could do was face strangers and try to give 'em a Gospel tract. I guess you're all bold and none of that would bother you, right? You'd just love to do that.
And, so then, I tried working in the nursery. They needed nursery workers. And, it took about two weeks and me and the babies both knew I wasn't called to do that. Come on. But then, I got this idea that I was gonna get this group of women together and in one summer we were gonna put Gospel tracts on cars in parking lots. And so, I got a handful of women together 'cause I'm a natural leader and I can motivate people to do things and in just a couple of months we put 10,000 Gospel tracts under windshields on cars. And then, I got called in, before the elders of the church, and got in trouble because I did it without getting their permission.
Now that's sometimes how religious hierarchy works. They're gonna stand and tell you what you ought to be doing but then if you try to do what you feel comfortable doing or what you're called to do, then you get in trouble because you didn't get somebody's permission to go do it. Come on. So, as leaders, we need to help people, we need to not force them to do what we want them to do. But, we need to help them find what they're comfortable, and gifted, and anointed to do. And, by the way, that's your job as a parent too. "Train up a child in the way they should go, according to their individual gift or bent", the amplified Bible says. Not try to fulfill your unfulfilled dreams through them and make them do what you never got a chance to do.
Get in your own lane and stay there. Enjoy your life. You know, Jesus said that he died that we might have and enjoy our lives. I mean, that turned my world upside down when I saw that many, many, many years ago. We're not just here to make it through till Jesus comes back. We're supposed to enjoy this. Enjoy our journey. Enjoy everything that we do. Even, Adam and eve were told to enjoy all the food in the garden. We're supposed to enjoy one another. Enjoy the life that God tried to give us. Romans 12:3-8, "For by the grace given unto me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned to him".
Now, this a good message in itself because it's saying, "Okay, whatever gift you have, whatever grace God has given you to do what you do, don't make the mistake of thinking more highly of yourself than you ought to by thinking that it's you doing it. Because it's not you doing it, it's God doing it through you". That's exactly why no matter what we, "Do", our, "Who", is what's important. It's, "Who", we are in Christ. And everybody, "In Christ", is, "Equal", no matter what you, "Do or don't do". Amen? And, if you don't realize that what you're good at you're good at because God has enabled you and gifted you to be good at it, you will fall into that trap of thinking that everybody else should be able to do what you do.
Does anybody know what I mean? Do you ever have anybody that's just gotten aggravated with you because you couldn't do what they do? "Yea", come on. I'm gonna find somebody to talk to in here, "Yea". Can you imagine how it must mess a kid up if they have a parent who is constantly railing on them because that kid can't do what they do or what that parent thinks they should do? Or, the worst thing, comparing your kids with each other. "Well, why can't you be like your sister"? "Why can't"... You know. "Why aren't you as smart as your brother"? Don't ever compare your kids with one another. Matter of fact, go to the other extreme of telling them you're not supposed to be alike. God's created us all uniquely different.
Come on, I hated myself for too many years and I finally got over it and I want to help you get over it, too. "For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function". No matter how bad you want to, you just can't do everything that everybody else can do. Thank you, that must mean you need this. I can just feel that some of you uptight people... Come on, we don't come to church to impress each other. Let me tell you something, as long as you feel the need to impress somebody, you are never free. Never free, you're only free when you can be completely what God has gifted you to be, not apologize for it, not compare yourself, and I don't need to try to impress you that's why I can enjoy what I'm doing and just love you. And, I really just feel in my bones that somebody is just gonna get a breakthrough today. That, I mean, you're gonna get it.
"I'm okay. I am okay. There is nothing wrong with me because I am not you". "There's nothing wrong with me because I weigh ten more pounds than you do and no matter what I do I can't lose it". Don't you love those people who forget to eat? I may forget a lot of things, but I never forget to eat. Amen? One person can cut soda out of their diet and lose 50 pounds and somebody else can live on bread and water and gain weight. Pressing on. "For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them".
And, let me just say this. You can have ten people that have the same gift, but the strength of that gift may be different in each one. You may have ten people that have a lovely voice but one who just is really, just like, stands out. You have one pastor that can pastor a church of 300 and then you have somebody else that can minister to the whole world. And, boy, we get ourselves in trouble. And, I love this part of these verses. It says, "Whatever your gift is", come on, "Give yourself to it". "Whatever your gift is give yourself to it". In other words, focus on that.
Why do we keep tryin' to be good at things we're not good at? You know, if you're a two at somethin' you can struggle all your life and maybe become a four. But, if you're an eight at somethin' you can focus on that and work with God and you can become a ten real quick. The way to stand out is not to be halfway, maybe a little bit decent at 20 things, but it's to take two or three things that you're really gifted for and pour yourself into that and become outstanding at those things. You don't have to do what everybody else does. You don't have to do what everybody else does. If you're an exhorter then give yourself to your exhortation.
You know, Mike is our staff pastor. Mike, stand up a minute just so they know who we're talking about. We got enough employees, we gotta pastor them. 'cause, you know, Christian people are not all perfect and believe it or not they can argue and, you know. So, Mike's in charge of, what do we call it? Conflict... Oh, yeah, Mike's in charge of conflict resolution. And, he's good at it. But, now, Mike knows the name of every person in our building. He probably knows all their families names. I run into people sometimes, somewhere, and they'll say, "Hi, I work for you". "Oh, how long have you worked for me"? "12 years". And, I don't know 'em.
And you say, "Well, that sounds terrible". Well, don't have the gift of running around the building, that's not my gift. My gift is to pray, and preach, and study, and write, and get these messages, and will you just get happy doing what God has called you to do? Oh, I better behave. Some of you are lookin' at me funny. Come on, just admit it. Don't you just get tired of the pressure? Does anybody just get tired of the pressure? You know what? Every pastor's wife doesn't have to play the piano and lead the ladies' group at church. And, every woman doesn't have to like to cook. I know, you know... Wow. Boy, guys, I think I just ruined your meals. You know who darlene zschech is, most of the world knows who darlene is. She says to me, "Don't you just love to cook in your off time"? And, I'm like, "No. Why would I want to do that"?
I tried it once. I mean, I used to cook all the time when my kids were little. I mean, I cooked a big meal every night, packed lunches, and cooked breakfast, but I've been there, done that, I'm done with that. Amen? Hey, but if you're good at it, I'll take yours. What are you good at? What do you enjoy? God will not call you to a career that makes you miserable. If you try to do something that you're not gifted at it will only frustrate you, and you'll forfeit your peace and your joy. And, you know what else you'll do? You'll make the other people that you're in a relationship with unhappy. Because, if you're unhappy it comes out of you and gets off on other people.
And, I think a lot of times when people are doing what they're not really gifted for and they're unhappy, they always look for something around them to blame it on. Yeah, it's good. It's good. I don't know if you've watched me very much, you've heard some of my stories, but I can't help that, when I look back I think, "How dumb can you be and still breathe"? You know, I had a big call on my life. I felt like, when God called me, he told me I was gonna go all around the world and preach the Gospel. Which sounded stupid. I mean, I was somebody from nowhere with a broken past and a 12th grade education, barely passed English, and I think I'm gonna preach to the world. And, so, for five years, I taught home Bible study and then God said, "Behold, I do a new thing". Don't you love those words from God? "Behold, I do a new thing".
So, I quit the Bible study, laid that down, thinking, "Now, I'm going to the world". And so, for the next year, I did nothing. It was like God just set me on a shelf and it was one of the biggest testing years in my life. But, you know, really when I look back (you live life forward, you understand it backwards), when I look back, I understand now that it was that year in my life that God taught me that I had to stop trying to be like somebody else. God was not going to let me into the ministry that he had for me if I was not gonna get up here and not try to be Kenneth Copeland, or Marilyn Hickey, or somebody else, but if I would just be me. God doesn't want a bunch of clones of everybody else. He wants a fresh approach. Amen?
Well, I had a lovely neighbor who just could do so many things that I couldn't do. She played guitar. I tried to learn to play guitar and my fingers are too short. It just doesn't work. Besides which, next to English, I came very close to failing music so that wasn't good. I can play a harmonica a little bit and I played a kazoo once in a church play. That's as far as it goes with me. But she was susie homemaker, I mean, to the max. She growed stuff in her garden. She canned tomatoes. She made jelly. You know... She... She made her kids clothes. Made a lot of her own clothes. And she mowed the lawn. She painted the house. She macraméd plant, I mean, she just did it all. And, I just wanted to tell everybody what to do. That was my gift, let me tell you what to do.
So, during that year, when God wasn't letting me do anything, she talked me into doing a bunch of this stuff that she did. She talked me into tryin' to grow tomatoes and can tomatoes with her. And so, I talked Dave into digging' up a garden and... And, she thought I should learn how to sew. So, we got me a sewing machine. I went to some sewing classes. Anybody remember, "Stretch & sew"? Anybody? Alright, there's a few people that are old as me and you remember, "Stretch & sew". And, it was just like this real stretchy material and so, I made Dave a pair of shorts. It took me forever. I made him a pair of shorts. They were gray and had black piping on 'em. And, when I got finished with 'em, the pockets were longer than the shorts. And then, when you made mistakes you sat with this little picker thing, and you had to pick out one stitch at a time.
I hated that sewing machine. I hated it all. I hated that garden, but I was trying to be the right kind of woman. Come on, because I just did not fit the mold. I wasn't what women are supposed to be. My pastor's wife was a beautiful, sweet, little, submissive blonde that just adored her husband. Did everything he told her to. And, I'm like, "I ain't doin' that. I don't feel like doing that, do it yourself". Now, wait a minute, I'm not saying I was right. I had to learn some things too. But, no matter how much I learned, I'd never be like her. But, I honestly tried to lower my voice. I mean, I did this. I had this garden. I had the sewing machine. I tried to talk softer and sweeter. "Yes, honey". And behind-the-scenes, I'm thinkin'... You guys act like this is comedy hour, I want you to learn somethin'.
Are you learning anything? Well, the tomatoes came in. We had our canning equipment. I bought all this canning equipment. "Whoo! We're gonna can tomatoes". So, I went out, the harvesting day and some bugs had come through and ate big holes in all my tomatoes. I mean, the crop was ruined. I called her and I said, "Oh my gosh. Some bugs have come in and eaten holes in all of our tomatoes". She ran out in her yard and checked and called me back, she said, "My tomatoes are fine". Well, I got mad. I said, "God, I prayed over my tomatoes". And, I don't even know if she was spiritual enough to pray over her tomatoes. I mean, I cast devil's off my tomatoes. I prayed on my tomatoes and now they have these big holes and they're ruined. And, you know what God said to me? "I didn't tell you to grow tomatoes. I have no responsibility to protect your tomatoes".
Come on, now. So maybe, you're trying to do something and it's just not working, and not working, and not working. Is anybody home in the house today? It's just not working and not working and you cannot understand why it's not working. Well, wake up and smell the roses. Maybe God is opposing you. Alright... Now, I've learned how to be a submissive wife. Dave stand up and shake your head. Am I not a submissive wife? Nah, don't do that. What? Am I a submissive wife? Yes, I am a submissive wife. If you wanna eat ever again, I am a submissive wife. Dave and I have so much fun together.
You know why? Because he just loves me just the way I am. But, I mean, I am absolutely serious when I tell you that I had to go through that before God could use me. That's the serious part of it. As long as you're trying to be somethin' you're not, God cannot really use you. He has something that he wants to use you for, but you've gotta be willing to be yourself, and if that means being different than everybody else, then you've gotta be willing to do that. And, if that means you get judged and criticized then you've gotta be willing to do that. Let me tell you somethin'. When Jesus showed up on the scene, he was very different than anything they had ever seen before. And, he brought a revolution. He brought revelation that turned the spiritual world upside down and things have never been the same since. Amen?
Now, one other thing. 1 Corinthians 12, "The body does not consist of one member but many. If the foot says, 'because I'm not a hand, I refuse to be part of the body,' would that make it any less a part of the body"? Our body has to cooperate together just like we're supposed to cooperate together. Do you know that I cannot get my shoes on if my hand refuses to help? I tried to think about it today and there is, I mean, it would be impossible for me to get this boot off when I go home, if my hand is just checked out and said, "I'm not doing it. I don't want to be a hand anymore, I wanna be a foot".
And see, really, this whole analogy he's giving, which I can't do justice in the little bit of time I have. But, the whole analogy that he's giving is that when we are jealous of one another and we try to be something we're not then nothing functions right. One quick example that God gave me a long time ago. Let's just say that my eye, I got a really nice ring that somebody gave me years ago. And, especially when I get my nails done, I always do that... It's pretty, see? Well, what if one day, my eye said, "You know, what? I'm sick of looking at that ring. I want my own ring. I don't want to just look at the hand's ring, I want my own ring".
Well, what if God said, "Okay, we want you to be a happy little Christian. So, here you go. Have yourself a ring". Okay, now. Well now, listen. You can laugh later. "I got what I wanted, but now I can't do anything else I'm supposed to do. Now, I've crippled myself from being able to do what I'm really supposed to do, but I got what I wanted". And, I think a lot of times, God just gets tired of hearing us and he gives us what we say we want just to prove to us that it's not really what we wanted after all. Come on, give God a praise.