Once upon a time, I would go to prophetic conferences and wish that the big-time, anointed preacher would notice me and call me out for a prophetic word from God that would somehow "show everyone there exactly how special and anointed I was". It was supposed to confirm what I already felt on the inside and give me a little more respect in my life from the people around me. (Can you relate?)
Looking for Validation in All the Wrong Places
The problem was that I was looking for approval and validation from the wrong place. This was a long, slow process, but God began to show me that approval from man wasn't coming. There was no green light from man that I would receive before I could get started "in ministry" as a leader.
I would have to begin to walk into my calling without any fanfare.
God showed me that I would just have to begin serving and loving people, and ministering to them without a great big hoopla. We're talking a whole lot of washing toilets, and very rarely ever getting to preach or do anything remotely "ministry-like" (as in, on a stage in front of people).
The True Life of Living in Ministry
I realized that being in ministry or leadership wasn't about being the big-time, anointed preacher on stage with a mic. It was about crying with those who are mourning. Having dinner with someone lonely. Making sad people laugh, sometimes. It was about holding a dear friend as she cries on my shoulder. Showing up early and praying. Quieting myself before God so He can refresh me. Washing a lot of feet. Serving people. Equipping and edifying people. Loving the one person in front of me.
It's been many years now since that realization. I quit waiting for some flashy approval and just started "doing the work". Somewhere along the way, people noticed; but God showed me that even then, the main thing that mattered was that I was His girl and He was proud of me. Once I quit waiting on others to approve of me, I began to write (eventually I got a book published), I ministered to people and prayed for them. I gave people prophetic words, I loved and served people. We planted a church, I wrote a book, and I finished Bible school.
You see, little things turned into bigger things. Now, I'm tremendously fulfilled and completely blessed to be that preacher who gets to preach on stage. What an honor. But I'm still also that lady who loves to laugh and have coffee with people, and do life with them. I will always be that lady who is willing to just love the one in front of her, because I know that's what ministry is really about.
If God called you, get started. Recognition not required. Just start stepping into it. This process doesn't always happen in a loud, obvious moment with fanfare and applause. You just start doing the stuff day-by-day and then one day, as a result of a series of little steps over the stretch of sometimes years, somewhere along the way, it turns into something credible.
What Does That Look Like For You?
Has God called you as a missionary but you're in a season where you're not able to travel to where you feel led yet? Begin to love your neighborhood as if it were the mission field you're called to. Has God called you as a pastor but you are home all day raising your children? Enjoy the season you're in. Relish their giggles. Encourage your children and teach them to pray. Pastor your babies.
Listen, I know what it's like to feel called to something enormous, to not know where to start, and to not have anyone in your life who believes in you. What matters is that God has called you and that your heart stays in the right place.
Don't get bitter when a leader doesn't recognize you. Stay humble and just serve where you can in that season. Just because God has called you to a certain thing, doesn't mean it's the season to fully step into that calling.
Rest assured that one day you will, but in the meanwhile, everything you decide to do is a service unto the Lord. You can have tremendous impact just loving the people God puts in your path.
Keep serving others and doing small things daily to work towards that big calling that God has called you to do. Years from now you'll see progress, and even months from now you'll see that you're much closer to your goal, simply because you took practical steps daily. (To Subscribe to the Elijah List go here.)
Amber Picota is an anointed minister and preacher, as well as teacher, who inspires and lights up the room. Whenever Amber goes anywhere to preach, teach, minister or speak, you will often find her moving the congregation to laugh, cry, take notes and be deeply stirred up in their spirits.