The Secret To Success When You’re Overlooked

In Devotions, Inspiration by Kristen Dalton Wolfe6 Comments

Our roots are in heaven and our branches extend out in the world in order to be peculiar, to stand out for Christ. -T.D. Jakes

When Kris and I first started dating, he took me up to a church called Bethel. I remember looking it up online and being really nervous when I read about the “signs and wonders” that took place there. It is a place where people operate in the gifts of the Spirit. The gift of prophecy is one of them. On the first day, I walked into the sanctuary and three girls came up and placed their hands on me to pray. I had never experienced anything like this before, but somehow I wasn’t afraid or nervous. I felt total peace.

As they began to speak words of edification and encouragement over me; hot, healing tears rolled down my cheeks.

The word that impacted me the most was, “You are a Queen Esther in the Spirit.” 

They had no idea I was a former Miss USA. I loved the story of Esther in the Bible. She was a strong woman of prayer, faith and conviction. Given the royalty parallel between she and I, it obviously struck a chord in my heart. Esther saved an entire race of people.

This young prayer warrior had just told me I was born to do something great like Esther. I felt on top of the world after that. I felt special.

But since that moment, I have heard many other young women told they are a Queen Esther too. The first time it happened, I cringed. I thought, “Umm no. I am Queen Esther…you clearly are not hearing from God correctly.”

I’m chuckling as I reflect on that moment and many others just like it. I can laugh now because thankfully I have gotten over those feelings of competition, but also because I see the spiritually immature, insecure girl I was. I feel for that insecure girl because she was just trying to find her place in the world. She was confused as to how each person is created uniquely, yet share the same anointing as someone else.

Have you ever felt that way? You are excited for the things God wants to accomplish through you, but get focused on building and measuring success.

Just because we are doing something good or for God doesn’t mean our motive is entirely pure. No matter what space we are in, even in ministry… the need to do something great and be known for it can still creep in and muddle our motives.

Even though I had a good heart and wanted to do good for others, I still had the motive to be known for it.  That motive alone can destroy us.

When we aren’t totally secure in our identity as God’s daughter and home address in Heaven, our motives behind our goals will never be totally pure. The moment our motives aren’t solely God’s motives, we are susceptible to defining our success by the wrong things.

Our motives can’t be about results, fame, money, approval, validation, competing, winning or beating others.

Ecclesiastes 1: 1-5 helps us remember everything in this life is ultimately meaningless.

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
    says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
    Everything is meaningless.”

 What do people gain from all their labors
    at which they toil under the sun?
 Generations come and generations go,
    but the earth remains forever.
 The sun rises and the sun sets,
    and hurries back to where it rises. 

Our mission or motive usually starts out pure. Something stirs in our hearts to do something because of our own experience, pain or victory.  It’s through the process that our motives can get tainted. We get attached to results, progress, growth, notoriety.

Here are 5 ways to be successful even when you are overlooked:

 1. Keep a Heavenly focus.

Sometimes people beat us, copy us and get more recognition even when it is isn’t deserved. Sometimes we pour into people that end up surpassing us. If our motives aren’t God’s motives, then we will get defeated, feel wrongly done and get burnt out. When we focus on storing up treasures in heaven, we will remain steadfast in the ebb and flow of what’s happening in this life, whether it is good or bad.

2. We don’t have to be afraid.

What is the root of our need to get ahead? Why do we feel like resources are scarce? The fact is: Darwin’s theory of evolution depicts our basic instinct to survive. He says “Those who are weak in body and mind will soon be eliminated.”  We may not be living in the jungle fighting for food and shelter. But we are in a different kind of jungle fighting for our survival in our careers, which has a direct effect on our well-being.

Thankfully for Christ, he died so we could be free from the fear of death. We have so much freedom when we take the focus off ourselves and pray that God will give us the pure desire to expand God’s Kingdom, even if it means never getting recognized.

3. God’s Kingdom can’t be shaken:

There have been girls I mentored who have exceeded me in influence and social media numbers. Now some of them want to be in my space, doing what I am doing. Initially, I feel a sense of threat because I’m afraid I will lose my momentum.

We start to see the competitors around us and get scared that they will take something away from us. The thing is, they might get bigger than you, they might get more attention than you. Someone else carrying out the same call as you is only a problem if you don’t trust God will take care of you.

4. God’s promises are for everyone: 

Not only does the Word promise we don’t need to worry about people getting ahead of us, Jesus is the only and best promise we need. Before Jesus came, we didn’t have the promise or hope of eternal life in Heaven. The fear of death was real so the fight for survival was brutal. But now the same power that raise Jesus from the dead lives within us.

It’s important for us to remember that God can accomplish what He needs to accomplish without us. We are important and special to Him, but we aren’t so important that we will be the only person assigned with our call. He is asking us to join the adventure with Him. Usually that means collaborating with and supporting other people doing what we are doing too.

5. We have to be about God’s business so he can make our business His business.

Our agenda has to be God’s agenda. His agenda isn’t to build your kingdom, it’s to build His Kingdom. Remembering that alone will take the pressure off, alleviate the fear or scarcity and feelings of inadequacy. You don’t have to be the biggest and the best, you just have to be your best within the grace God has given you.



Dear Father, 

Please help me to think beyond myself. Help me to only care about your agenda. Change my heart and help me to only care about joining your team to expand your Kingdom. Lord, I want to surrender my need to be seen, known, celebrated, appreciated and validated. I don’t need any of that from people because you are the only one whose approval matters. Father, please help me to realize that someone else’s call doesn’t take away from mine. Help me to let go of my fear that I will lose if I add value to their mission, especially when it is similar to mine. God, I want to feel joy in collaborating with people rather than the threat in competing with them. Lord, help me to only care about storing up treasures in Heaven, rather than accolades on earth that will only be destroyed. I ask all of this in Jesus name, Amen. 

When Your Agenda is God’s Agenda= The Sparkle Effect

Wonder Words:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal. Matthew 6:19 NIV

Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Proverbs 23:4

And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you.Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:19-21 NIV

Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.  For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. Ephesians 4:3-4 NLT

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19 NLT

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 ESV

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  1. This article was made just for me! I believe this website is just for me. It literally spoke about what currently going through and I am soo appreciative of this!

  2. Such a great reminder to any woman in the workplace or leading in the church! Thank you for a timely word.

  3. Kristen,
    I’ve been reading your blog for several months now, and as I read your posts God always reveals things that I didn’t know about myself before. I didn’t think that I was a jealous person before I read this, but I know now that I’ve been self-sabotaging God’s purpose for my life by wishing I had the talents or praise that my peers have. Thank you for following God’s purpose for your life in such a graceful way, and please continue to post more on this subject!

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