I began writing this post 3 months ago after a series of events sparked my thinking on this topic.
This is how quite a few of my blog posts begin – just some random thoughts I’ve written down.
I needed to read it today.
I’m tired. Tired physically, emotionally, even spiritually.
It’s been a challenging few months.
I don’t feel like blogging today. I feel like napping. I feel like wallowing a bit on the outskirts of my default setting.
Instead, I open my saved, but unpublished, blog posts, and found this one.
It’s excruciatingly appropriate.
Back on that day in February when I started this post, I read this blog about being afraid to use our gifts. The author reposted this June 2008 post on his Twitter, and the words really dug into my heart.
That was the first impetus for my thoughts beginning to churn.
Then, also back on that day in February, I read this entry from “My Utmost for His Highest.” Also thought-churning.
I can totally understand what the blogger spoke about concerning being afraid to use our gifts. There was a time I was a very prolific songwriter. It was my main means of communicating my overwhelming feelings to God and to others. And then, there came a time when God asked me to stop writing.
God did this by gently nudging me. He loves my songs. But He wanted me to learn to communicate in other, healthier, life-giving ways. Like sitting down face to face with someone who loves me & cares about me and telling them what I was experiencing.
I’m able to do that now. Well, most of the time. 90% of the time. That’s quite a bit of progress over 0% of the time.
Then the Oswald Chambers entry opened my eyes to a frightening truth. When I’m insecure about what I can take on or achieve, I’m really saying that Jesus isn’t able to help me. I’m saying my insecurities and weakness are too much for Him to fix and/or work through.
The entry says: “Beware of the pious fraud in you which says – I have no misgivings about Jesus, only about myself. None of us ever had misgivings about ourselves; we know exactly what we cannot do, but we do have misgivings about Jesus.”
He goes on to write, “My misgivings arise from the fact that I ransack my own person to find out how He will be able to do it.”
Back to the above blog post. I feel as if God clearly spoke to me through several means a decade ago concerning how He wanted to use my gifts. I’ve allowed Him to use some of my gifts in limited capacity, but for lots of reasons (fear, shame, pride and letting Satan win being among them), I have not been and am not living in the fullness of all God has for me.
Add my family to the mix. I can think of a million reasons that God’s call is not doable or even feasible given various family circumstances. What about God’s call for my husband? My kids? These are excuses – yes. But they are pretty convincing ones. This would be a great example of the “how” Oswald Chambers referenced.
The reality, for me, is the biggest enemy of God’s gifts being used in my life is me.
It’s not just Satan (he plays a part, certainly). It’s not my life circumstances. It’s not money or time or anything else.
It’s the very stuff I pound into your heads week after week that I seem to not be able to hear right now. It’s the very things I usually can put into practice. But I feel as if I’m hitting a roadblock in this area.
For my family, I have felt for quite some time as if God is pushing us out of our comfort zone in several areas and we need to really seek Him without fear. I laugh at that. Seek God as a family? I feel as if my husband & I barely have time to sit and figure out our schedules, much less seek God in concentrated prayer.
What are your excuses? God can’t use you until you’re healed? You’re too busy? Too tired? Too…..?
What are your misgivings about Jesus, as Oswald Chambers asked? Evidently, mine include having to pray a certain amount in order to hear from God about what’s next. Hmm. Treating God like a vending machine where I need to put in a certain amount of something in order to get something in return is never a good idea.
I remember when God made it clear He wanted me to talk about my struggle with overcoming same-sex attraction. I was like, “Really, God? ARE YOU INSANE? You want me to tell Christians about this? I’ll likely end up ex-communicated!” And look at me now 🙂 Yet there are clearly other areas that I need to surrender and be obedient in.
What gift is God asking you to use? Does the very thought of being obedient terrify you?
What big dreams is God asking you to fan the flame of?
Are you the enemy that is keeping you from obedience?
I want to end with a prayer, for me & for you. Feel free to pray it aloud.
God. I choose to trust You. I choose to trust that the gifts You have given me & the plans You have for me are Yours, not mine. I surrender the fact that sometimes, Your plans & gifts won’t even make sense to me. I release them to You to figure out the “how.” Forgive me for my complacency, my falling into despair and indifference. Forgive me for only looking at things through my eyes and not asking for Your eyes. Help me to stop being my own worst enemy. Re-deposit Your spirit & Your Word into my heart to encourage me, to challenge me, and to spur me to action. I love You. You are good. Thank You for caring for me as only a perfect Father can. Not my will, Lord, but Yours – really. I pray this is the mighty name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.