tips for team players, take 1.

For me, 2012 was all about learning about teams. 
It was the year that I feel like the Lord finally impressed upon my heart: anything I can do on my own or in my own name is completely incomparable to to anything I can do if my identity is lost in a team. 

As a believer, if I'm not lost in Jesus - I'm on my own. I'd much rather be crucified with Christ so that it is not longer I who live, but Him who lives in me. 
As a wife, if I'm striving to be something special on my own and ignoring the fact that we're called to be ONE FLESH - I may feel special, but I miss out on the vast blessings of what could come when two becomes one. 
As a mama, if I'm finding my identity in my ability or greatness, I pass on the greatness that comes from emerging myself completely in the family - in their needs, their desires, their compounding joys. 
As a blogger and business woman - if I'm obsessed with my own name or my own brand, everything stops at my own limitations. If I own up to my shortcomings and need for help - my reach and ability is expanded and multiplied more than I could ask or imagine. 

Yes. I'll take teams. 
Enough doing life on my own. 
Since I was never really alone in the first place. 

So I've committed to being a better team member in 2013 and I'm gonna slowly be writing through what I learn as I process it myself. Here is one thing I've learned right off the bat. 

#1. If I cannot take responsibility for my own spiritual life, I stink as a team member. 
Now - in our spiritual lives, let's be honest: there's very little we can take responsibility for. He does the saving, the growing, the blessing. But if I'm not earnestly seeking Him and preaching the gospel to myself, I'm not only hurting myself - I'm hurting my team. 

It is no one else's job to encourage me, point me to Jesus, or speak truth to myself. Let me repeat that. It is no one else's job to encourage me, point me to Jesus, or speak truth to myself. Is it the call of believers everywhere to speak truth and life to one another? Is it a privilege we have to encourage one another? Of course and of course. But do I have the right to look at anyone else in this world and think it is their job or responsibility to point my face towards Jesus? No, I genuinely don't believe I do. By God's grace, I'm surrounded by people who will, in my weakness - and I will do the same for them. But the bottom line is, I have to keep my eyes on Jesus to love my teams well. 

Here's an example: If I'm continually speaking untruths to myself and relying on everyone else to correct me and set me upright again, is that fair or loving or good? No. I don't think it's gospel-centered for us to always present the perfect picture of ourselves and not let people see or minister to our weaknesses, but I also don't believe continually handing people my weaknesses without any attempt to let the Lord strengthen them is right either. 

Here are some practical things I'm trying to do to grow in this: 
- Seek the Lord first. If it's 10am and I've already cried to my sister and my husband about an issue, and not to the Lord - things are off balance. The Lord has given me family and friends to walk with me and be a blessing to me, but they are gifts - not fixers. He is the fixer. 
He is the healer. 
- Use self control and grow out of the habit of speaking untruths. I've noticed that there are certain people that I will just dump lies on, lies that I believe about myself, in an effort to have them speak truth back to me. This is a waste of their time and LOVE, as there may very well be seasons where I can't see truths from lies and need their correction. But if I continually speak death to who I am in Christ, without practicing self control, I'm totally not loving them well. Or the Father who made me. 
- Be honest with them about what I need. All this being said, I'm ok with being needy and knowing when I need help from the Lord and when He's given me other people to help meet my needs. I'm learning that a good team member speaks up when she knows her own weaknesses instead of stuffing them and pretending like I'm fine.

And that's the little I've learned so far - mostly via trial and error - about being a good team member this year. 
What about you?
What teams are you on? 
How can you love and serve them best?