God wants those who belong to Him to be brave and fearless. He Himself shows how weakness of the flesh is overcome by the courage of the Spirit. ~ Tertullian
I felt squeezed. In every direction. Sleep deprived and with more on my to-do list than I could possibly accomplish, pressing deadlines, and an upcoming speaking engagement I hadn’t begun to prepare for, I felt ready to explode. Or hide.
My brain, held captive by my insecurities and fears, refused to function. When I most needed it to shine.
My fear—that I’d fail, and in failing that I’d let everyone down. The conference director who had already purchased my plane ticket. Her team who had already sent out their promotional material, listing me as one of the keynotes. Their attendees, who had spent good money on the conference and were expecting to hear a fresh word.
And more than that, I was afraid I’d look stupid. As I stared at a blank computer screen, my eyes gritty from lack of sleep, my nerves tightly coiled, I worried I wouldn’t come up with anything.
I had nothing. No words. No thoughts.
I suppose much of that came from mounting stress, and sheer exhaustion. In the middle of taking accelerated classes and with an already booked summer, God called my husband and I to something incredibly difficult. Something that took every ounce of strength we had and left me in tears daily. We knew this task was from God. But … what about all our other commitments?
I couldn’t simply walk away. But neither could I, it seemed, walk forward. My insecurities, my fear of failure, my mounting negative thinking, kept chipping away at my strength.
So what’d I do? I stepped away. To pray. To give this thing, this task I felt ill-equipped and ill-prepared for, to God. And as I sat in His presence, His peace overshadowed my anxiety, and His truth stilled my fears.
I knew He’d called me to this engagement, so I decided—yes.
I made the choice to trust God to give me the ability to fill this role–as He desired. And I reminded myself that this wasn’t about me.
Nor was it up to me. It never is. In fact, it’s when I’m resting fully in His grace and leaning deepest into Him that I find my greatest strength.
This is a choice we all must make, whenever our fears and insecurities begin to turn our ears from God’s call, whatever that call may be.
Consider Francis Chan’s words, taken from Forgotten God:
“How much it grieves [God] to watch His children ignore the promises He’s made. Throughout Scripture due to fear that those promises won’t be kept! Empowering His children with the strength of the Holy Spirit is something the Father wants to do. It’s not something we have to talk Him into. He genuinely wants to see us walk in His strength.”
Walking in God’s strength. Listening, with a surrendered heart, for His guidance, then stepping forward in faith, trusting Him to come through.
Is there something God has called you, something that makes your stomach tighten and your knees wobble? Maybe to initiate conversation with a new neighbor or launch a women’s Bible study? Maybe share your faith with a friend or coworker? If so, how does remembering God will be strong on your behalf, that you don’t have to be, give you courage? What are some ways you can lean into Him and rest in His strength? How do our thoughts play into that?
We all struggle with negative thinking, and so often, we become our own limiting factor. We allow our insecurities and fears to hinder our obedience and to prevent us from living out the awesome and life-changing role God hand-crafted each of us to fill.
God calls us to greatness. To live courageously. To be life-changers.