Thursday, April 4, 2013

Not just a fundraiser

I have a fundraising trip coming up in a couple weeks that isn't working out quite as I'd expected. It's not altogether terrible, but it's also not "full of appointments" as I'd been hoping and working towards. While someone in my shoes might be understandably sad or even a bit nervous about this, a few days ago I found my emotions growing out of proportion to reality.

I was looking at my schedule and saying things like, "I don't have time to do anything!" (completely ignoring the hours upon hours I'll be dedicating to the Lord, my family, my work, etc.)

I was looking at my contact list and saying things like, "I don't know anyone!" (which really only stemmed from just a few people who weren't responding to my emails and calls.)

What happened? In short, I was making fundraising my identity, focusing only on how I was doing in that one area while ignoring all other aspects of life. This is altogether too easy to do, and it happens in areas other than fundraising as well.

It doesn't start that way. At first I'll just be considering some way in which God has made me or called me. Then I start to think about other people who also share that trait. Then I start comparing myself. Next thing I know, I'm obsessing about how well I'm doing in that area. All other aspects of my life start to fade in importance, and all that matters is how I'm doing in that one area.

A number of things trigger this thought process within me, but it's usually when something isn't going my way. That makes fundraising an easy target - because I have no idea what I'm doing and I can't make it happen. This means that when funds aren't coming in, when phone calls are only resulting in voicemails, or when my last appointment gained me nothing but a fresh sense of inadequacy, all I can think about is what a terrible fundraiser I am. I'm a fundraiser - that's my identity - and I'm just plain bad at it. Surely God is disappointed with how His investment in me is turning out!

But here's the strange, shocking and amazing thing. Here is what God actually thinks of me (and you):
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. (1 John 3:1a ESV)
John calls us to see what kind of love the Father has given to us. Yes, we are fundraisers. But that's not the main thing we are. Of all the labels God could focus on, He chooses "children."

Not "sinners".

Not "servants".

Not any of the other "identities" we tend to give ourselves.

The label He gives to you and to me is "child of God" - because His Perfect Child took our place and we took His. We are deeply loved not because of what we've done in all our "areas" of life, but rather because of who we are in Christ.

So the next time you find yourself pondering what a terrible fundraiser you are, let this be your next thought: "Yes, that's true. I am a fundraiser. Perhaps even a poor one. But that's not all. Far more importantly, I am also called a child of God."

And so you are.