Stop Thinking It's About You

The Real Secret To Doing Work That Matters

  • Justin Zoradi
Stop Thinking It's About You

In early 2010, after a few menacing weeks in South Africa, I was inches away from throwing in the towel on my fledgling organization. There was just too much evil in the world; too many dark forces keeping the poor in poverty and the rest of us too concerned with ourselves to do anything about it.

What saved me were the words of a friend. “Don’t make a decision in the dark that was inspired in the light.”

While I believe God speaks to us in key moments, much of our success demands the ability to recall and remind ourselves of those moments when all hope feels lost. We can never allow a feeling that was stirred in a high hour to evaporate in times of despair.

I meet so many people at the beginning of their journey, who share stories of late night inspiration only to wake the next morning with their vision a distant memory. Scared, anxious, overwhelmed, and insecure, they face an ounce of resistance and stamp out the smoke before it has a chance to catch fire.

We stifle those sparks of genius when we fear that we alone must start the fire, when we think it’s all about us. But it’s not. It’s about God.

I laid agonizing in darkness on a hotel room floor in South Africa because I believed my vision was about me.

Now I know better.

There is great hope in realizing that your vision and passions have little to do with you. These are God’s visions and God’s passions, which He set in motion long ago, timed perfectly for you to step into at the right moment.

This is liberation.

There is liberation in understanding that you’re meant to do incomplete work. You cannot do everything. The foundations you lay will be shaky and need development. The seeds you plant will need more water than you’re able to provide. Your accomplishments will be multiplied by others far after you are gone. And that’s exactly the way it’s meant to be.

Your relative smallness next to God’s great vastness enables us to do something small and to do it very well. Your calling to the small things is the great invitation from the light that the darkness cannot overtake.

Remember, you are the worker, not the master builder. Your fumbling progress is a step along the way, leaving open the opportunity for God’s grace to show up and do the rest.


The Prayer For Oscar Romero

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Comments (43)

  • Austin


    23 May 2012 at 18:11 |
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      23 May 2012 at 18:16 |
      Thanks Austin!
    • Darrell Eggert

      Darrell Eggert

      25 May 2012 at 03:37 |
      Hey there Justin. It is Darrell. Good to see you are doing well. I have received your last two post forwarded to me from Bobby.
      Really look forward to getting many more inspirational pieces from you.

      Thank You
      • Justin Zoradi

        Justin Zoradi

        25 May 2012 at 06:36 |
        Darrel. So great to hear from you. Blast from the past. Happy to see Bobby is passing these along. And thanks for signing up for the updates. Really appreciate it. Hope to see you soon
    • Ruth


      29 May 2012 at 18:14 |
      Absolutely Justin! This is inspirational stuff...thanks for these words...its tough to keep going at the moment with work - but these thoughts surely do help refocus the mind :)
      • Justin Zoradi

        Justin Zoradi

        29 May 2012 at 18:59 |
        Thanks Ruth! Appreciate your comments
  • Dena


    23 May 2012 at 18:22 |
    This is so good.
    Those last 3 paragraphs are gold to me right now. Thank you.
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      23 May 2012 at 18:31 |
      Happy to hear Dena. They are absolute gold for me as well. So important we understand these things. Thanks!
  • RZ


    23 May 2012 at 18:33 |
    I'm glad that you're sharing with the world the words we share with each other so often. The story of ultimate healing and redemption, the quest to "set the world to rights" is a privilege to participate in, but I'm so thankful that it is not up to us alone. I'm also thankful that you share the fear, peace, insecurity, and joy that accompany putting God's Kingdom first. Love you.
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      23 May 2012 at 18:42 |
      Thank you Ry. Appreciate it. It is a privilege to participate in but is a healthy balance of fear and joy. love you
  • Benjamin Downing

    Benjamin Downing

    23 May 2012 at 21:04 |
    Liberation indeed to do work that you may never see complete. Thanks JZ
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      23 May 2012 at 21:09 |
      You got it Ben. You wouldn't think it'd be liberating, but it totally is.
  • Sam


    23 May 2012 at 21:58 |
    Brilliant! Thanks Man - I really appreciate you sharing this. It reminded me of a Psalm that I often forget:

    Unless the Lord builds the house,
    the builders labor in vain.
    Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the guards stand watch in vain.

    In vain you rise early and stay up late,
    toiling for food to eat — for he grants sleep to those he loves.
    [PS 127]
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      23 May 2012 at 22:17 |
      Exactly Sam. Thanks for sharing. What a great Psalm
  • Sharon


    23 May 2012 at 23:43 |
    Thanks for sharing, Justin! You made a great point; we're only a part of God's glorious plan. We put in our efforts, but God's overwhelming grace does the rest. It really is liberating to realize. Keep writing and God bless :)
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      24 May 2012 at 01:10 |
      Thank you Sharon! It is liberating. Appreciate your comment
  • Elise


    24 May 2012 at 00:09 |
    Excellent perspective, thanks, reminded me of this passage:

    Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. I Corinthians 3:5-9

    I planted a large vegetable garden for 25 years. It's true you can't reap if you don't sow, but reaping a good harvest was ultimately up to God. I would plant in faith that something small would slowly grow. Not all seeds germinated and sometimes the crop failed, from my point of view. But the analogies were endless. God works over time. Sometimes we're not meant to be here to see His harvest that comes from a labor of love.

    Neat, just recently heard someone speak on the legacy of Oscar Romero, glad to know his story!
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      24 May 2012 at 01:10 |
      Thanks so much Elise
  • Max Andrew Dubinsky

    Max Andrew Dubinsky

    24 May 2012 at 00:35 |
    This is near-perfect. A short, quick read that not only packs a punch, but is also wonderfully quotable. Nice work, my friend.
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      24 May 2012 at 01:11 |
      Thank you Max. Means so much coming from you, my blogging mentor.
  • Steph


    24 May 2012 at 00:52 |
    word! this is exactly what I needed to hear this week. I am leaving Chinese friends in one week to go home to the U.S. and I was worrying about how my work here did not seem 'done'. I need to realize that it isn't always my job to "finish' the work but maybe just to get it started. It's not about me! Thanks for the reminder Justin!
  • Justin Zoradi

    Justin Zoradi

    24 May 2012 at 01:11 |
    You got it Steph. It isn't about you. Appreciate your comments
  • Sheryl Hjellming

    Sheryl Hjellming

    24 May 2012 at 01:43 |
    Aaaahhhh!! Another excellent blog! I've been waiting for it :)

    Such great perspective - and one we American's very much need to hear! It's all to easy to get caught up in all the "wonderful" things we can do and how much we can control. Even more easy to forget who is The One in control!

    It is so freeing to let go and let Jesus take control! Wish I'd do that all the time :)

    Thanks Justin! Can't wait for the next installment!
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      24 May 2012 at 05:45 |
      Thanks Sheryl! Appreciate your wonderful support as usual.
  • Mary


    24 May 2012 at 03:14 |
    Your writing style is wonderful... few well chosen words that really pack a punch. Thank you again for touching me and pulling me out of my noisy head. I am copying down the words of your friend, "Don’t make a decision in the dark that was inspired in the light.” I will keep that always nearby for those moments of fear and doubt.
  • Justin Zoradi

    Justin Zoradi

    24 May 2012 at 05:46 |
    Thank you Mary. Appreciate the comments on my writing style. I'm honored by your kind words. And yes, copy down that quote. Keep it handy. It's benefited me greatly in times of despair.
  • Tania


    25 May 2012 at 01:41 |
    I really like this blog - it is reminding us that our job is to be casting that bread on the waters, and God's job is to make it return even if it takes many days. Thank you.
  • Justin Zoradi

    Justin Zoradi

    25 May 2012 at 01:44 |
    Thanks Tania! You got it. Totally on God and it may take a long time. haaha. you're very right.
  • Dana Sanders

    Dana Sanders

    25 May 2012 at 01:50 |
    This didn't suck at all.
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      25 May 2012 at 01:58 |
      Thanks Dana. This is your legacy you're commenting on. You know that right?
  • LeeAnne


    27 May 2012 at 00:05 |
    The last three paragraphs here are so inspiring to me. Thank you.
  • Justin Zoradi

    Justin Zoradi

    27 May 2012 at 20:24 |
    Thanks LeeAnne. Happy to hear that. They've been really helpful for me too.
  • Larry Rutledge

    Larry Rutledge

    28 May 2012 at 15:53 |
    The other commenters are right on, this is an excellent post. And one the "church" really needs to get a hold of. We strive so hard to be God, when we need to just strive to be His hands extended. We are called to His labor, but He does the work.

    God is a jealous God and will not share His glory with anyone. He asks us to partake in what He is doing and gives us great opportunity to be a part of what's going on, but the ultimate work is done only by Him, through our faith, not our works; so that we cannot boast in our own power or our own authority, but that we rely soley on Him and Him alone.

    So glad I found this blog and look forward to many more inspiring and soul-challenging posts.

    Keep it up my friend!
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      28 May 2012 at 17:25 |
      Thanks Larry! I appreciate your reading and commenting. I hadn't thought of God being jealous about this issue. But it's totally true. Not only does he want us to work with Him, He's jealous if we don't! Thanks
  • Ebony Adedayo

    Ebony Adedayo

    01 June 2012 at 19:41 |
    Amen on every single point you said. Too often we focus on the 'vision' instead of the giver of the vision/call/burden and then when things go sour we think something is wrong with the vision. The only thing that is wrong is that we took our eyes off of God, the who you sustains the vision even in the midst of some really difficult trials. Thanks for sharing.
  • Justin Zoradi

    Justin Zoradi

    03 June 2012 at 20:56 |
    Thank you Ebony! Appreciate your comment.
  • Rose Kahendi

    Rose Kahendi

    21 June 2012 at 03:44 |
    Wow. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      21 June 2012 at 04:44 |
      Thank you Rose
  • Arlen Miller

    Arlen Miller

    02 September 2013 at 18:45 |
    Oh yeah! "We stifle those sparks of genius when we fear that we alone must start the fire, when we think it’s all about us. But it’s not. It’s about God."

    Keep writing. Keep doing. Keep sharing inspiration, Mr. Justin!
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