It’s Not Always “One Size Fits All”
By: Rhea Mills
Have you ever noticed that “one size fits all” is not totally accurate when shopping for clothes? What looks great on a woman of one shape and size doesn’t really look all that great on another. As in life, women (and men) are not made identical nor made for the same “style” of ministry either.
I am a pastor’s wife, a mother, a “Gemma,” and a leader in our church and ministry. Over the last 38-plus years, I have found that all of us in ministry do not have or operate in gifts and callings identically. We are not to be cookie cutter ministers—no two will ever look identical.
Second Corinthians 10:12 says, “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”
I love the simple explanation in The Passion Translation’s footnotes for 2 Corinthians 10:12: “The Aramaic can be translated ‘copying one another.’ God has made each of us unique and given us spiritual gifts that are unique. It is never wise to copy or compare yourself to another believer. Pride will result if we see ourselves as better than someone else, or discouragement if we see ourselves as less valuable than someone else. We don’t live by comparison to others but by Christ’s life in us.”
When we began in ministry, I was very bold in who I was in Christ, and yet I allowed the actions and hurtful words of other people, mostly women, to begin changing my identity. I lost focus of who God made me to be, and therefore, I no longer saw myself as God does.
I hated being “looked over” to see what I was wearing, as if my clothes didn’t match with my position in the church. I felt hurt when I whole-heartedly listened to others and the listening wasn’t reciprocated. I had a huge heart for people and ministry but felt as though it kept being trampled on even by ministry associates and certain female church members.
That’s why I wanted to quit the ministry in the early 2000s, because if I had to “fit into that size” that was being presented to me at yet another ministers’ conference, I was done. I never wanted to attend another conference—ever. Some of the things I heard just made me boil inside. We were told “how to behave” as pastor’s wives, even if it wasn’t totally honest to ourselves and it seemed so unrealistic to me. I just couldn’t meet the standard. I didn’t have “the look.”
Now years later, I realize that several factors were involved. First of all, I moved my eyes from the Father to people. I lost focus. I found that other women had the very same problems, if not worse than I did. I found out that those women, and some men, had some type of abuse in their history. Realizing that “hurt people hurt people” actually helped me overcome some insecurities of my own. I also needed to continue to mature in spiritual matters and allow the Word to frame my thinking. I remember a phrase we used to say about people who seemed to have no common sense whatsoever and were so caught up in spiritual things that they denied earthly responsibilities: “they are so spiritual that they are no earthly good.” Actually, that isn’t true. I found that if I really was keeping my mind on spiritual matters and renewing my mind to His Word, I would actually be more earthly good!
In Ephesians 1:15–23, Paul says that he ceased not to pray for the saints in order that they would have wisdom and revelation, insight and understanding. I love this prayer that continues to give us exactly what we need to know about the Father! One day as I was praying, I simply said, “Lord, help me to see what You see.” It once again dawned on me that I need to see myself through His eyes of grace. From then on, I began regularly asking the Lord to help me see myself and others through His eyes of grace. Wow! What an impact a simple prayer can make.
Although I may still be challenged from time to time like I was before by where my emotions want to take me, I can truthfully say I always come back to my true identity in Christ. He sees me as His beloved. He sees me as unique. He sees me called in life to lead others to Him. He first loved me. He helps me see through “real eyes,” my spiritual eyes, who I am and forever will be in Him.
If anyone reading this has been challenged in their identity and has had trouble trying to “fit in” with others due to comparison, remember, God sees you uniquely designed—a work of art that can’t be copied.
I encourage you today to do as I continue to do. Ask God to help you see what He sees—what He sees in you and what He sees in others. Then you can truly see through eyes of grace and know for sure that you are uniquely you for such a time as this.