I attended the Incarnate 2016 school as a student. While I mostly enjoyed the freedom of not having a title or role as a leader, there were a few times when I felt disappointed, or even upset at being “left out of the loop”. As I thought about it, I was surprised by my own reaction, so I decided to start prayerfully digging deeper to see if this was a symptom of a deeper issue I needed to deal with.
A key lesson we had already learned was to, “look for the lie” — the words or thoughts which Satan tries to use to derail our lives. The lie I realized that Satan was feeding me was, “You’re not important.”
The subject of pride, and our desire to be seen as influential or important, as well as the flip side of that: false humility (“I’m just a worm.”) was a question we had wrestled with earlier, but I found it easy to think, “Oh, I have that under control.” What the Holy Spirit gently poked at in my own heart was the fact that I still needed to let go of the notion that I had to do this or that, or be a recognized leader in order for God to be able to touch other people through me. The Truth which He began whispering into my life was to let go of idea of doing things that people would see, and simply “be” who He had created me to be.
Just be Chuck:
One advantage of being a student at Incarnate and not on the staff, was that this freed me from the responsibilities of staff meetings and teaching prep time, and allowed me to simply come along side of the mostly younger students (anywhere from 17 to into their 30’s), from more than 11 different countries and cultures, and “do life” with them. From staying up to talk late into the night, to working through the course materials, to wrestling with the creative and artistic process, to laughing, crying, walking, learning and performing our way through the program, I had many opportunities to speak from my life experience into their lives, and in turn, for them to impact my life. A major part of our spiritual development and training hinged on our understanding of God as our Good Father. What God did, through teaching me to simply be “The Chuck” (as they happily called me), was to bring me into a role of modeling the Father heart of God for these young students.
As I took a step back from wanting to have a visible, recognized role, I found that being “important” to God meant simply living, quietly available to Him, to be used in whatever way fit into His larger plan. My most effective ministry among the Incarnate students was when I understood my own identity as a child of God, and simply let the Holy Spirit speak through me in “ordinary” ways.