[box] Every Saturday morning, I will be sharing a little snippet from my own personal walk with God...straight from the heart. God has work to do in me too, and sometimes it's not pretty. But my prayer is that as I am honest, He is more able to do that work in me...and at the same time, encourage you as well.[/box] Although I have now been writing for over a year now and teaching for almost five years, I still have doubts as to whether this is what God really wants me to do. It is so far from what I had envisioned for myself. I started out as a pre-med student at UC Davis over 25 years ago (!!), but where I am now is so far from where I began. During those 25 years, I have been a missionary, a preschool teacher, and a campus minister. None of those things seemed remotely close to being a writer or speaker. Did I miss something?
Not only that, I have been wrestling with self-doubt and unbelief in God. Why would anyone want to listen to me? I still yell at my kids. My life is so far from perfect. I don't always live out what I teach. Because I love to read, I always think of the people who write these books to be larger than life, some kind of super saint that has it all together. I am certainly not like that.
Lastly, I realized how deathly afraid of failure I am. I don't want to do anything that is not 100% guaranteed to succeed. I had shared before that I don't like to take risks. I still don't. When I write or speak, I am sharing something that is very near and dear to me. What if people don't like it? Worse, what if I gain enemies?
This bugged me so much this morning that I spent a full hour with the Lord praying about it. I didn't want to live with the weight of it anymore, but also didn't know what to do. I certainly didn't have any answers. I sure hoped He would! And He did. And what did He share with me?
1. It's not about me. He has given me a gift to use for His service. It's about Him. I am merely a tool in His service. Whether I succeed or whether I fail, it is not a reflection on me nor is it a reflection on Him. It is not an indicator that I am out of His will. People have the choice to accept or reject His message. It has always been that way. I felt like He was telling me, "Get out of the driver's seat!"
2. Stay close to Him. Instead of spending all my energies worrying about whether my message will be received well or not, I need to focus on Him, letting Him work through me. Getting tangled up in side issues is not going to help me at all. In fact, it will probably work against me.
3. Do not separate the business aspect from ministry. I believe God is leading me to professionally write and speak. God reminded me that I need to do all in His name, and for His sake (Col. 3:17). There is no secular or sacred here. Even if I hope to earn a living through writing and speaking, this must be Spirit-led.
4. Let Him unfold all the details of the business, trusting Him to guide and lead me every step of the way (Prov. 3:5, 6). If this is truly His idea, as I believe it is, then He will help me every step of the way, even in the business end of things. There is nothing that He cannot handle.
5. Just do it! When He moves, I need to be ready to obey at once. I spend so much time deliberating and second-guessing whether it is Him asking me or not that I do not act. If I am staying close to Him, if I have invited Him to be my business partner, if I am trusting Him to unfold all the details, then why should I doubt when He plants a thought in my mind?
What I am realizing is that if I feel like I am completely in over my head, when I am scared out of my wits, when I know how incapable I am of doing this job, then I am in exactly the right place. As He says in 1 Cor. 1:27-29: "But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God." If I know my foolishness, my weakness, my lowness, my "notness", only then might there be hope for Him to use me.
Heavenly Father, how unsearchable and unfathomable are Your ways! That I would even be a candidate for the work You have set out for me is amazing. And yet, Lord, even as I am aware of my shortcomings, let that not be my focus. Instead, help me to focus my eyes fully on You and You alone so that the enemy's voice will not confuse, distract or discourage me. Even if I fail, may there be peace in my heart that You still are in control. I praise You and love You, my Father. In Jesus' name, Amen.