“God, how did I get here?”
I sat in my car, weeping, after witnessing a young girl graduate as valedictorian. This young girl lived in our Hope House— our safe house for minors who were victims of sex trafficking. I was one of the only ones sitting in that crowd who knew the significance of this moment. Three years earlier, this girl was a victim, but now she was a valedictorian. I couldn’t stop wiping the tears from my eyes and thanking God for what I just witnessed.
And in that moment I asked, “God, how did I get here? How was I able to experience something so amazing?” And the Holy Spirit reminded me of my 18-year-old self, taking my first step into a small church. I had no idea that one small step would change my whole life. I was single and passionate about everything in ministry and life —students, kids, you name it. There was no shortage of passion, but there was an extreme shortage of wisdom and vision. So I aligned myself with leaders who had what I lacked. I began showing up every time the doors of the church were open, serving wherever I could. I was always there. The Senior Pastors had to wonder if I was a stalker or just really excited about Jesus, but it was in that season I learned that opportunity comes with proximity. Because I kept showing up, opportunities to serve and learn kept coming up.
Today my husband and I are the Senior Pastors of that same church I stepped into as a naive 18-year-old. Even though I serve as the Senior Pastor now, my calling is the same as it was 30 years ago —to love Jesus with my whole heart, lead people to experience an abundant life, and make the bride of Christ beautiful. My journey in ministry didn’t come without detours and disappointments, but one thing I learned was how to differentiate my calling from my assignment.
My “calling” is constant and eternal. My “assignment” is temporary and shifting. My “assignment” changed at least 20 times in the past 30 years. My calling is tied to my identity and rooted in the unconditional love of a Heavenly Father who chose me, anointed me, and is more concerned about who I become than what I do. Although assignments are important and worthy of my best efforts, they cannot be my source of affirmation. My assignments have shifted from full-time ministry to full-time mom, to therapist and special needs coordinator for my young son who had significant developmental delays. I’ve had to learn to adapt each time my assignment changed, holding tightly to God’s calling but loosely to each role.
God taught me invaluable lessons through my years of shifting assignments. I wouldn’t trade those lessons for the world. Here are a few:
DON’T LET YOUR UNTITLED SEASON BECOME YOUR ENTITLED SEASON.
Leadership is not about a title, it’s about influence, and one thing I learned is that you can be an influencer and culture carrier wherever you serve. Whether you are in a season of leading without a title or don’t have the title you feel you deserve—it’s important not to let your untitled season become an entitled season. When this happens, you can begin promoting yourself instead of allowing God to promote you. If you feel like you’re benched, know this—God uses your untitled seasons to prepare your character for your next assignment.
WHAT YOU ARE A PART OF IS BIGGER THAN THE PART YOU PLAY.
When you are a part of building God’s Church and Kingdom, you are part of something bigger than yourself. When you give yourself to building something bigger than yourself, you are not limited by your own capacities—your capacity increases. You build muscles you didn’t know you were capable of building, and God uses His body to help develop your gifts beyond what you thought possible.
DESTINIES ARE REALIZED ONE SMALL STEP AT A TIME.
In the early days of our church, a theme verse was Luke 16:10, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much.” It was a reminder to stay faithful in the small things. Looking back to where God has taken us, I realize that big things are made up of many small things. Small decisions turned out to be big decisions in disguise. You don’t get to jump from here to a big destiny—you have to walk it out.
So, when you have your “God, how did I get here?” moment, you’ll know the answer—one small step at a time.
Julie Mullins is the Co-Senior Pastor of Christ Fellowship Church and a collaborator with Propel Ecclesia: Ministry Cohorts for Women. She is passionate about building healthy teams and a vibrant church culture by investing in leaders across all ministries. Julie founded, Hope for Freedom, a ministry raising awareness and fighting human trafficking here in South Florida and around the globe. Julie leads CF Sisterhood and has a vision to inspire every generation to run their race with confidence and grace. In her role as Senior Pastor, Julie provides leadership for the Executive Pastors and Core Ministries of the church.
So Good Sisterhood Podcast can be found on all platforms: https://www.christfellowship.church/so-good-sisterhood
This blog was originally posted on PropelWomen.org