Quick story and then I will get back to my point.
I was a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) leader at my church. At the same time I was a leader at MOPS, I was struggling with depression and was consumed with guilt for not loving being a mom. I was opening up to a dear friend of mine one day, who asked me this question: "Do you think you should be a MOPS leader when you are dealing with this?" The question implied that a person with my issues should not be trying to help other people. I considered her question. I prayed it over. I did not feel led to stop ministering to moms, so I didn't stop. I kept talking at our MOPS meetings. I told people how I felt about mothering. A handful of people related to what I was saying. Not all of them, but some of them. Some of them probably thought I belonged in the loony bin, but you know, that's the chance you take I guess. :) I was vulnerable. It's not always fun to be one of the first of a crowd to who steps into the role of "vulnerable", but I really did not feel I had any other choice. I had a need to be real with people. I felt like I couldn't change what I didn't acknowledge, and staying stuck where I was seemed like a really bad idea. I needed to stretch myself to be more of who God wanted me to be. Being an extrovert, closing off and trying harder to do it on my own was not the best course of action for me, and I knew that.
I think it's not unusual for us to put ourselves down, get real critical, and mull over all the ways that we do not measure up. Can I just tell you that this is NOT God's plan for you?
Here is what I want to tell you today: Satan will plant lies in your head that will mess with you. It might sound something like this:
-Do you really have any right talking about God when you sinned most of your life, and still are sinning?
-Who do you think you are? You don't even make sense half the time, and you talk with that nasally voice that only a Michigander could appreciate. People would want to listen to you a lot more if you were the girl with the Southern drawl, saying "y'all" instead of "you guys".
-What would all your college buddies say when they hear that you are a Bible thumper?
-Nobody wants to listen to what you have to say. You're not anybody special.
-People are going to think you are annoying.
-You're going to mess up God's word. You don't have all the background knowledge that a seminary student has, so you're going to take a verse out of context, get everybody all confused, and ruin any good that God could have done with that verse. You're better off just sitting and watching reality TV every night and posting on facebook what you think of Brad, who didn't give a rose to Charlotte, when clearly she was the one for him. :)
What? I don't say any of these things with a spirit of condemnation. We are all prone to look inward and find the things in us that make us unequipped to do any good for God's kingdom, from time to time. The truth is, you might say something stupid, you might annoy someone, and you might cry and look silly. Does that matter, though? I mean, really, if God told you, "when you share this message you are going to cry and look silly, but when you are done someone is going to come to know me and experience freedom they have never experienced before", would you do it?
Any lies that Satan whispers in your heart, telling you to wallow in your inadequacy, need to be fought back with the truth of God. When you are tempted to shrink back and look inward at a time when God is calling you to reach out and be a blessing, consider this: It's not about you. Trust God. YOU can be bold in speaking out God's message of love. Build on your faith of WHO God is, and then trust HIM more than you trust yourself. This is not about you having all the answers, or being good enough. This is about bringing what you have to the table, and saying "God, do what you want with what you have given me. I trust you". He has been building your story. He has given you a message that YOU are supposed to share. Lean into Him, and be open to what He is trying to do through you. Take one small leap of faith, sharing just a little bit of your testimony with someone, or a group of someones, today. Tell them what God is doing, what you heard at church, what God did for you in the past, anything that gives God glory. Just do it. Make it a habit. Practice your discipline of boldly speaking about God in your life. If this is a new territory for you, begin by sharing with someone you trust. As you learn to trust God more and practice this discipline of speaking boldly in His name, you will find that it comes easier and easier for you to trust Him in the future, speaking more and more. You will see God at work, and it will build your faith all the more, empowering you to do even more than you ever thought possible. You are called to be a blessing. As you boldly reach others for Christ's sake, you will be blessed more and more! :)
Some messages that God wants to speak over us...
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.
1 Corinthians 16:13
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Be strong in the Lord today! Be bold, knowing that God is going to go before you, and will guide you gently along the way. YOU are loved. YOU are cherished. YOU are going to do great things, as you lean into the strength of God that He has already made readily available to you. TRUST HIM TODAY!