by Stephanie Olson, Co-founder Set Me Free Ministries
One of the things that God has been working on with me for, um, a few years now is the need for humility. He began this process by showing me where there were big issues of pride in my life. First, he started simply working with me on recognizing those big issues, and then later began stripping me away from the areas in which I dealt with easily recognizable pride.
I have been a part of music ministry for years. I’m a singer. Not a great one, but when God’s anointing is on me, I can hold my own. Singing and leading worship was always how I ministered to people from the time that I was in grade school. It was just what I did. I was convinced that someday I was going to be a famous Christian artist, leading many people to the Lord through my music.
When my husband and I moved to Omaha and found a church home, I started leading worship. It was a wonderful experience, and my identity in that church was as a worship leader. People knew me as the demonstrative gal that leads worship and sings.
The problem was that there were pride issues in the area of my music that God was starting to deal with. I would see someone else sing a solo, and that green envy would rise up in me. I would be asked to sing a solo, and I would forget that the reason I was supposed to be doing this was to glorify the Lord, not myself. It was a daily battle of pride, jealousy, and frustration. It was simply torture to be so consumed with the thoughts “How good am I?” “Is she better than me?” “What if they like her more than they like me?” “She got that solo, and I didn’t.” “Ha, I got that solo, and she didn’t!” I could go on and on.
Around three years into my journey as a worship leader at church, God started to make clear the vision of this ministry to me. One step at a time, He slowly showed me what He wanted me to do. Right before the ministry was launched, however, He told me (in my spirit) that I wasn’t going to be singing as a part of this ministry. I would now need to lay down the music ministry completely. Although I knew it was the right thing to do and it was what God was requiring of me, it was a very difficult thing. It was closing a chapter that had been a part of my life for years. It was my identity at church. To walk away from the music ministry was going to take strength. Not my own, but God’s.
At first I thought I could step down slowly. Maybe just stop choir and stay on the praise team. No, God wanted me to be obedient to Him fully. It was not easy, but when I made that step of obedience, God blessed the ministry. It wasn’t until I was obedient that God launched Set Me Free Ministries. I had to allow one dream to die before He would fulfill the next.
Humility is hard. I’m reading a book right now called Humility by Andrew Murray. Murray is a Christian author who wrote this book in 1828. That’s a long time ago, yet it’s still so relevant today! He explains that humility is not thinking poorly of yourself or beating yourself up; humility is knowing that it is God in us that makes us who we are. What is pride? Accomplishing something in our own strength and taking the glory for us. Humility is allowing God to receive all of the glory for all we do.
The Servant of the Lord is a name the early Jews often used to describe the coming Messiah they were seeking. When I think of what being a servant of the Lord is, I think of humility. I am truly struck and overwhelmed time and again at the humility that Jesus bore. This humility is simply a part of His character, a part of who He is. Jesus displayed His humility from the time He entered this world as a baby in such humble surroundings to the time He suffered His death on the cross for our sins. Jesus allowed Himself to be humiliated, broken, and bruised. This speaks volumes of His love for each of us. I, myself, am humbled just thinking of His servanthood.
Applied to my own Christian walk, I have learned that being a servant and remaining humble in spirit is not being self-deprecating but understanding that I am nothing without Christ. Yet, if He strengthens me, there is nothing I am unable to do. It is through servanthood and love that we reach non-believers. It is what drew people to Christ in the New Testament times, and it is what draws people to Christ even today.