The panic set in just after I hit the “send” button. What. Did. I. Just. Do?
I only had a little bit of time to feel the first tickles of anxiety before Karen responded to my text, telling me “yes,” I could gather with and speak to the single women at the Pursuit 31 conference and lead a time of prayer together. And it was settled. I was going to share what the Lord was laying on my heart about relationship with Him and being single. And I was going to do it in one week’s time.
I’ve never been one to enjoy public speaking. I was so shy as a child – afraid of my own shadow and generally just not the most adventurous of kids. I preferred video games and writing stories to being front and center in activities or visiting amusement parks. In high school I remember so vividly a time before an assignment involving a speech where I felt sick to my stomach. Nerves were always present before speaking for me, no matter how short the speech would be. I avoided it whenever I could. Even in social situations and small groups, I would sometimes have something I felt compelled to share, but physically felt unable to speak. Painfully shy.
So to ask to speak in front of any interested single women?
At a conference?
That was not something I anticipated myself doing.
In fact, had you told me it would be a part of my story a few years ago, I would’ve gone bug-eyed and laughed at you.
Me? Yeah. Sure.
But God had other plans.
So, fired up by recent events and feeling bold, I sent that text to Karen. And she gave her blessing. I started praying and began to jot down what the Lord was placing on my heart – things He’s revealed to me, truth He’s gently whispered to my heart over the past few years. I dug in to the Word and wrote more notes, still unsure of what all I would say, but knowing He would give me words.
At a small group leader’s meeting one morning, I shared that I felt like Moses. Speaking wasn’t something I considered a gift of mine. I admitted to those feelings of inadequacy – the nervousness and the doubts I had to keep praying away. And I’ll never forget my sweet friend, Tiffany Farley, coming up to me after the meeting. She walked up to me, with her calming presence and soft smile, and she called me “Schmoses.” As in, “Moses, Schmoses.” As in, ‘You’re so not a Moses. You do have a gift in this area – trust Jesus and get it together.‘ (That last bit is my inference, not Tiffany’s actual words.)
I adopted the nickname, wearing it as a badge of courage to remind myself of who I am in Christ. Her words encouraged me and spurred me on to be more confident in the Lord and remember that it’s not about me.
Come Wednesday, I found myself in a cozy little room with some beautiful women, all with different stories and varying ages. And for about 20 minutes, I shared what the Spirit had me speak. I spoke about how it’s the Lord alonewho satisfies; how He doesn’t change despite our feelings, circumstances or seasons of life; how He is so much morethan any earthly relationship could ever be; and how God has a purpose for each person’s life right now in whatever season they find themselves in and they shouldn’t wait to live that out. I shared about how God is enough. It wasn’t perfect. But it was the Spirit at work, building boldness in me and using my lips to speak the truth. After, we spent a solid 20 minutes or more in prayer, holding hands as we gathered in a circle and experienced the presence of God thick over us. It’s something I’ll never forget.
After the conference, I logged on to Facebook and saw I had been tagged in a post. One of the sweet ladies who had been sitting in that room, posted a sweet testimony in the conference group.
Cue tears threatening to descend into my tea cup.
The Lord uses us to make much of Himself. His power is made perfect in weakness. In spite of our short comings – whether real or imagined – or the circumstances we’re in; in spite of our feelings or fears – He will use us to make Himself known and glorified. He gives us gifts and talents and opportunities to grow in them. Sometimes it feels like putting on clothes that are too big or a lipstick that’s too bold. But as we step out in faith – as we walk in obedience, knowing He goes before and is the One at work – He grows us into them. Soon the clothes seem to fit perfectly and the lipstick is the perfect shade. And it’s a beautiful thing.
So here’s to living, full of faith that He who has called us is going to finish what He starts; to walking confidently into our callings, knowing that the Spirit of the Living God resides within us and is our strength; to putting on boldness like red lipstick and moving forward in faith; and to witnessing Him do amazing things through it all.
Because it’s not about us.
And it never was.