Nope, that’s not an excerpt from a book, those are the thoughts going through my head as a 13 year old, when a bubbly, bright eyed, energetic red head was walking toward me at church one morning. I was so painfully shy at the time and so completely controlled by anxiety that when the words “Hi, I’m Jackie” came out of her mouth I just began to cry. I had no clue why this girl wanted to be my friend. I couldn’t understand why this social butterfly, who could so easily make friends with anyone, would want to be friends with the awkward girl sitting by herself. But oh how thankful I am that she befriended me, I love her to pieces!!
I don’t share that story with everyone but I am choosing to share it today because today I got a text that said “That’s so awesome! You HAD to be a leader. That’s one of your many gifts!” As I read that text to myself God struck me with overwhelming joy. Never in a million years did I think the word “leader” would be used to describe the shy, bashful, anxiety driven teenager that cried when people talked to her. Never in a million years did I think the word “leader” would be used to describe the girl who had to get special permission from teachers not to do oral presentations because she would have a panic attack and hyperventilate in front of the entire class. NEVER did I think this was the path God was taking me on.
Several months ago I felt the Lord calling me to step up and lead a community group, I ignored His tug on my heart saying “I’m not ready God, I’m not strong enough in my faith to lead other girls in their walk.” I was so focused on the “I” part that I never heard God shouting “You are equipped because I have equipped you!” God knew what he was doing the whole time but my self doubt and Satan’s loud voice won and I ignored God and continued to ignore Him despite the overwhelming tug on my heart. While I was going through equipped disciple I came across a verse in Acts where Paul is speaking to the Lord and he asks “‘What shall I do, Lord?’ and the Lord replies ‘Get up,’ and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.” That verse opened my eyes to see that I had been seeking God’s direction in my life and wondering when he was going to give me the answer and He had already told me multiple times to “Get up and go!”
Over the last 2 weeks the Lord again has been speaking to my heart and I had been prayerfully considering speaking to WM staff about leading a small group at the upcoming Launch retreat. Without any knowledge whatsoever this had been on my heart, a girlfriend said to me “Are you going to lead a small group at launch?” Those words trampled all over the doubt Satan had been once again placing in my mind and gave me the ability to clearly hear the Lord saying “Get up and go Brandy.” So I did and today I received confirmation that the Lord will be using me in that way. The Lord continues to prove his faithfulness, and continues to reassure me that He has a far better plan for my life than I could ever have imagined and I am so excited to see where He will be taking me next.
I hope as you read this blog you will carefully listen to what God is trying to say to you and find the courage and strength to follow where He is leading. Remember, God does not call the equipped, but he equips the called!
1 Corinthians 1: 25-29 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,[a] not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being[b] might boast in the presence of God.
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Recently a girlfriend and I were talking and she asked me if insecurity is a sin?” I immediately spouted out my answer, YES, and told her insecurity is not from the Lord. I reminded her that the Lord created us perfectly in His image and scripture tells us the hairs on our head are numbered (Matthew 10:30) and He knit us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13).
The definition many of us have of beauty come from the world, not from scripture. Scripture tells us that a woman who fears the lord is to be praised (Psalm 31:30), that woman should adorn themselves with modesty and self-control (1 Timothy 2:9), beauty is having a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:3-6). I encouraged her to equip herself with scripture that will help her get rid of those thoughts of insecurity that Satan so proudly places in her head so often.
As I thought about how much she struggles with this I was reminded that many of us have things we are holding onto that we haven’t been able to give over to God. Pride, selfishness, people pleasing, jealousy, envy, insecurity… The list goes on. I hope as you read this blog, you will find comfort in knowing that God is greater than any struggle you are going through and He has the ability to help give you the strength to overcome your struggles.
About a year and a half ago, I made the decision to stop drinking alcohol. I did so after meditating on a conversation I had with my beautiful friend Julie. Julie was talking about how anything we choose to turn to, to comfort ourselves in times of distress instead of turning to the Lord is a sin. This really hit me hard. At the time, I was turning to other things in additional to alcohol to seek comfort but I was particularly convicted by the consumption of alcohol in my life. Looking back now, I realize I just wasn’t ready to surrender the other things I was struggling with. I slowly started telling people “I don’t drink anymore” and drinking several drinks then became 2 drinks, 2 drinks became 1 and soon I wasn’t drinking at all and I didn’t even miss it! A couple weeks ago, I was having dinner with my friend Kristin and I realized although I was no longer comforting myself by turning to alcohol, I still hadn’t been able to let go of comforting myself with food and emotionally eating. While Kristin was sharing her past struggles with me and explaining how she overcame these similar challenges, she said to me, “I was standing in front of the cupboard, staring at what I wanted and I just began to quote scripture, guess what, Satan doesn’t like that very much, and he leaves you alone!” DING! The light bulb went off. That’s the thing I was missing, I wasn’t turning to God when I was being tempted.
Going through equipped disciple taught me the importance of memorizing scripture and one of the verses we memorized was 1 Corinthians 10:13. Digging into the word I found 2 other scriptures I have recently memorized; Romans 12:1, Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship (Yes, as I type this it is from memory) and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. I recognize that this battle is far bigger than I and I will never be able to do it on my own. So as I drive to the drive through to get Chic Fil A and the yummy chocolate chip cookie on the dessert menu is calling my name, I will quote these scriptures. If I have a bad day at work and want to reach for greasy food to comfort me, I will ask the Lord to help me find strength and I will fight the battle I have been fighting for 5 years with new armor and weapons. I have faith that after giving control to God, He will help me over come this struggle that has been weighing me down.
So friends, I challenge you to identify the thing or things in your life that you are giving into that are not honoring the Lord and search God’s word and equip yourselves with scripture to help you fight the battle. Titus 2: 11-12 tells us “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say NO to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” Don’t be a fool as I was and think you can do it on your own, God is the only one who can pull you out of the mess you have created for yourself.