I wrote yesterday about just saying “yes” to the ministries we are called into and taking a step of faith when it’s time to act. Putting that into practice, though, is not quite as easy as it sounds.
Two months after my “just say yes” moment, I received a call from a local women’s ministry leader, asking me to speak at an upcoming WM event. Thank God she got my voicemail! My first instinct was to call her back and say, “are you crazy? you don’t want me! I don’t know anything!!” Well, either that or “I’ll be out of town that week and I’m pretty sure I will have the flu.” And so I waited. I talked it over with my husband, I prayed for courage, I waited out the fear in the pit of my stomach, and ultimately, the next day I called back to accept.
As we talked, I confessed my reluctance to accept, my fear of public speaking, and my fears about not being up to the challenge. I also told her about my “yes” moment and how I was going to take the step of faith and hold up my end of the bargain, trusting that God would show up and give me the wisdom I needed. I asked about the topic I would be speaking about, and laughed out loud when she said “Under Construction.”
Well, yes. As a matter of fact, I do happen to know something about that.
The WM director had no knowledge of my professional background, no idea that the subject would be such a fit. As she and the committee had begun to plan the event, God had put my name on her heart. The committee confirmed the choice, and she obediently made the call.
If I had listened to my fears and believed there was no way I could possibly have anything to say, I would have missed out on a huge opportunity to be used by God to encourage others, and I would have missed out on a lot of spiritual growth that happened as I studied, prayed and prepared to speak on the topic. It turned out to be a lot of fun, and in spite of my nervousness I was able to speak (just like a grown up!) to a room full of women who, like me, are a work in progress. (Stay tuned! I’ll be posting a series next week based on the message I shared.)
The most memorable advice I ever received about fear and action is this: “feel the fear and do it anyway”. The fear won’t go away, but don’t let it stop you.
Generally I write my posts well in advance of publishing them. I find a little bit of time between ‘draft’ and ‘edit’ helps me write more clearly. This post was written almost a month ago. Over this past weekend a couple of interesting things happened:
First, our church had a wonderful guest speaker on Sunday. The topic? Get ready to hear and respond to the voice of God, who speaks most clearly to us when He is leading us into action. Yes, really!!
The second thing: I mentioned in my last post that I have a hard time getting up in front of people. I don’t want to give the impression that God has taken that away, presto-changeo! On Sunday I served as worship leader. Though I prayed and prepared as well as I could, I was hit hard by stage fright about halfway into the service. It was something as simple as introducing a transition in the service and I found myself getting tongue-tied, feeling a rush of anxiety, and really wishing I had an invisibility cloak. I wish I could tell you it just went away. It didn’t. I asked for help from the team and they stepped in to keep the service moving along. It rattled me, but amazingly enough, I did not die from it. And you won’t either!
“My grace is sufficient for you, my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
My challenge to you today: be ready! When you say yes, be ready to listen and respond, even when it’s outside of your comfort zone. Whether it’s a random act of kindness, a gift to someone in need, a timely prayer or word of encouragement, an act of service, the gift of time, or a trip halfway around the world to help the hurting… the call will come. How will you respond?