Memories can be a bit sketchy. Sometimes it's hard to remember important details. Join us for this month's Carla's Column discussing the value of vision, the need to record them, and the pursuit in chasing them! It's a perfect message for your New Year!
About fifteen years ago, Brandon and I were volunteering as youth leaders. Our youth pastor approached me with a question, “Heather, would you take the service the week after next?” Take the service? As in preach?!?! I pretty much said, “no” right then and there. Actually, I’m sure it was probably more delicate with something along the lines of, “Oh I don’t think so.” But our youth pastor, who had been my own youth pastor, didn’t let me off the hook that easily. He instructed me to do something that I’m pretty sure he knew would change my answer—he told me to pray about it.
Well, enough said. You know what happened.
I ended up taking the service—although it was laden with disclaimers that I was just “sharing” and not “preaching.” Preaching just seemed like too big of shoes to fill.
When I think about my journey as a speaker, that moment was the starting line; the beginnings of the Lord revealing His calling to me step-by-step through each opportunity He’s provided.
While the Lord has given me a vision of the work He has for me as a speaker, I sometimes confront doubt rising up in my heart. Not doubting God, but doubting myself, doubting my ability to accomplish what He desires for me to do.
Have you ever done the same?
Here’s a few scenarios right off the top of my head that may cause you to question if you have what it takes:
- starting a new job
- becoming a parent—and then pretty much every day thereafter
- leading a small group
- starting a new business venture
- applying for college
- graduating from college
- writing a book
- starting a blog
- planting a church
There’s countless more, and if I sat here for a bit longer I know I could fill at least a page, but for the sake of word count, we’ll move on.
I know someone else who questioned if they were enough.
God called Moses to do a work and speak to the king of Egypt. But Moses didn’t want to and made all kinds of excuses. The Lord was so patient with him and from what I read, really gave him some things to beef him up to stand before the king. You know—just a few things like a shepherd’s staff turning into and out-of a snake, and his hand instantaneously being afflicted with and then delivered from a severe skin disorder, oh and last but not least, the thing with the Nile River water turning into blood. I’m saying if that doesn’t make you feel that you’re on a guaranteed winning side, I just don’t know what will.
But honestly, I get Moses.
A few weeks ago the Lord opened a big door of opportunity to me. I accepted the invitation to speak for an event, but then afterward questioned if I was enough. I shared my doubts with Brandon and he looked at me as if I had just fallen off a pumpkin truck. The guy really says a lot with his eyes. Probably why he doesn’t need to utilize as many words as I do.
Moses, on the other hand, was not good with words. And not even these words from the Lord in Exodus 4:11-12 could change his mind, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” God was so gracious to Moses and met him where he was. He’s so awesome like that. He meets us all right where we are. If you want to read on a little further you’ll see that God allowed Moses’ bro to speak for him—Aaron was good with words, plus it’s just pretty cool to see this portrait of family coming together for a big moment in biblical history like this!
Now that I’m in the planning stages of this big event, I’m getting pretty excited, mostly because I’ve reminded myself of God’s Word right there— Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say. He’s been so faithful each and every time from all those years ago when our youth pastor said, “take the service.”
So here’s where it stands—when we doubt, it’s probably because there’s some fear somewhere in it.
You know what Brooklyn and I just discussed recently? Identifying the antidote to fear. It’s faith. Each time we are confronted with fear, we fight it with faith.
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” I don’t know about you, but when I think of evidence, I think of something I can see. But faith is the evidence of what we can’t see. So if you can’t see yourself, let’s say graduating from college, starting a new job, leading a ministry or maybe writing a book, but if the Lord has planted it in your heart, then you can stand firm in faith that it will be, even though nothing with your physical eyes tells you so. You walk by faith—the substance of things hoped for.
Last but not least, let’s close with this thought. Don’t feel the pressure to be enough. We were never meant to be. If we were, we wouldn’t need Jesus. When I consistently put myself out there in situations that make me question if I am enough, those situations are opportunities to remind how much I need Him.
II Corinthians 3:4-5 says, “And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.”
I am enough in Him!!! And so are you!!!
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“I walk around like everything is fine, but deep down, inside my shoe, my sock is sliding off.” This message caught my eye when posted by a friend on social media. Of course, my heart was moved when I read the first half thinking, “she’s going through something.” Upon completing the sentence I truly laughed out loud understanding the sentiment exactly. It happens to me with a certain pair of boots. I must wear long socks, otherwise, there’s no inconspicuous swipe-it-with-my-index-finger type of retrieval maneuver. No, I must take the boot off entirely to fetch the sock that is nearly off my foot, scrunched up down around my toes. Irritatingly uncomfortable, I must say.
Nevertheless, we wear it well. We stroll around cool and casual without the slightest indication something is not right. We don’t let on something is out of place. We don’t expose our sock is driving us nuts!
The reality is, all of us are walking around with our sock sliding off at one point or another. All of us.
Why do we act so casual? Why do we walk along without the slightest indication something is wrong?
I’m sure you realize we’re not talking about socks at this point.
A short time ago, someone contacted me about a woman who needed a bit of encouragement in a trial she was facing. The trial was similar to one I had experienced before, but one I’ve not shared with many. We met for a visit. As I listened to her pour out her heart, mine broke at the memory of going through what she was enduring presently. The Lord stirred me to share with her the testimony.
Sharing the testimony was timely and effective. While it brought the intended comfort and encouragement to her, it was apparent that it came unexpectedly.
We all walk through things others may never imagine. However, it is wise to demonstrate prudence in sharing the storms we face. For one, some who do not have the same insight, do not understand, and our sharing can render us vulnerable to attacks. We must listen to the Holy Spirit in seeking counsel.
Secondly, we don’t want to magnify the storm. Personally, I’m not a sweep-it-under-the-rug kind of girl. I’ve been a fighter my entire life. It’s why I’m alive today. And it’s not something one can switch on and off. While I was commended for my spirit to fight as a little girl, as an adult now, it can make some people uncomfortable. Although I’m geared for conflict resolution, wisdom is essential to know the difference between progressing toward resolution and merely magnifying. We must know when our speech is magnifying the problem or resolving the problem.
Third, if we haven’t taken it to the Lord, we must not take it to another. As much as I’m a people person, as much as I crave and truly need the interaction of others, no one on this planet has everything I need. Speaking to the Lord and allowing Him to guide who we need for godly counsel is exercising complete trust in Him. And as a result, removes vulnerability to attacks and provides dimension to what we’re facing.
I share this for you to be encouraged. Our tests aren’t the focus. We wait for divine intervention and share the testimony in His timing.
So what’s so encouraging about that?!
It’s that everyone has a sock sliding off! Whether they're talking about it or not.
Thinking back to last week’s post, in addition to feeling overwhelmed, what is another vision killer to reaching our goals?
We assume that everyone else has a sock nicely in place not causing an ounce of irritation or aggravation. We may even have toxic thoughts like, “So-and-so has it all together. They’re so strong in their walk with God and here I am dealing with this garbage. I could never be the kind of person or Christian so-and-so is. I’m just sick of trying.”
First of all, we must all stop trying so hard and find rest in His power at work within us. II Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Secondly, know that assumptions are a tactic the enemy utilizes not only in our church, but in our homes. There is a lot of defeat, and potential disappointment, which can come from assuming the comfort of another’s walk. We walk through trials strong and confident, because our trust in God. It doesn’t mean everything is fine and dandy. We’re all walking through stuff at some point.
Remember, we all have a pesky sock sliding off every now then.
We’re not always fine.
Allow me to close with a passage by Lysa Terkeurst. These words spoke encouragement and healing into my storm of 2015. I pray it blesses you in pursuing your goals for 2016.
Humility and wisdom are a package deal. And often people who have the most wisdom have experienced the most humility. Or sometimes even the most humiliation. A wisdom like none other can arise from those hard places that bring us low.
When I’m going through stuff that makes it hard to make good decisions, I want to turn to people who have been through some stuff. And not just people who went through hard times, but those who came out on the other side carrying some wisdom from which I can learn. Real wisdom- wisdom that’s been unearthed in the messy, untidy, mud-puddle places of life. When this kind of wisdom sits in the heart of a person who is vulnerable enough to drop their pride and share what they know- that’s a gift I desperately need when going through some stuff.
Lysa Terkeurst The Best Yes -pages 209-210
*in reference to: James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. and Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
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