I am not a writer, God is. In 1995, I took the ACT twice, both times I got the same score, both times I fell short by one point to get out of state tuition paid by the university I wanted to attend. Why? Because I couldn’t write. When I graduated Jacob’s Well in 2013, I had no real ambition, no real hope for a future, and I saw no talent in myself. The only reason I put pen to paper was because another godly person in my life encouraged me to do so then started the blog for me and sat me down in front of the computer. God did the rest. He took my weakness, used it, and got ALL the glory. I was standing in my storage unit the other day, getting out a few of my earthly possessions before saying goodbye to one chapter of my life before embarking on a new, very exciting, very fulfilling chapter. God stripped me of everything these past six months, but I decided to follow Him anyway. I came across a piece of paper in this storage unit. As I stood there amongst the material possessions that I once held dear, I cried. He saved this piece of paper for such a time as I would need it. Considering the blessed journey I am now on, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
I was in trouble in October, 2013. I was on the verge of leaving Jacob’s Well and telling everyone to kiss my grits. I was weary, and it showed. I began to rebel and regress back to the side of myself that I truly despised and I did so out of desperation. Instead of asking me kindly to leave the premises, I was given another chance and told to write about submitting to authority and turn it in. I made a copy of it before handing it to the staff members because in writing it, I decided to make the choice to stick it out and fight for myself. Here is what I wrote, October 2013:
I knew the word of God, but I didn’t know how to apply it or what it meant in my life. I had also been part of various teams, but was still unsure of what “teamwork” meant. I had been under the authority of others, but did not understand the word “submit”. I knew how to give orders, but I didn’t know how to “obey”. “Honor” was a word used only in the military. “Respect” was the name of a song. A “leader” was an elected official in fancy clothes spitting lies, and “authority” meant the police. My inner dictionary has changed dramatically and I can now see the truth that has been revealed to me time and again since opening my heart to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 12:26 – If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
To me, that means a team is only as strong as its weakest link, and I don’t want to be the weak link anymore. It is the responsibility of the rest of the team to hold one another to the highest level of accountability on even the smallest tasks. A team should cheer for their teammate when they get it right and pick them up when they fall down.
Ephesians 6:5-6 – Obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.
I need to be dependable and do the right thing, even when no one is looking. I already have the favor of the Lord. I need to treat my elders, mentors, employers, supervisors, directors, and staff with the respect they deserve.
Hebrews 13:17 – Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.
Proverbs 10:17 – Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.
The thought of leading someone astray by my lack of respect for authority is terrifying. God says I will be held responsible. Someone is always watching; so, taking discipline and learning from it is so very important.
Titus 3:1 – Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
I am not above reproach. I am teachable. My first authority is Jesus, my second is those he put over me to teach and guide me. Honor, Respect, Obey, Leader, Authority; words that have new meaning and give me a new lease on life.
The thing that blows my mind when I read this is that God was at work, giving me a task to do that I have never seen anyone else have to do in the 13 months I have spent at Jacob’s Well, just so He could get the glory, preparing me even then for what was to come!!! Isn’t that just like God to say, “See, Julie! You had it in you, even when you didn’t know it! Now as you say goodbye to one life, you will live in the overflow in the next! I will teach you how to be a great leader, by first showing you how to be a good follower!” Finding this piece of paper was the “Godwink” of a lifetime, meaning stacked upon meaning, revelation upon revelation, layer upon layer of truth! I walked away from my unit, 4 boxes to my name, and a piece of paper that I will cherish for a lifetime!