Three-hole punched and organized into a shiny new notebook, my teaching notes were ready to go. The call had come, I had done the long work of study and heart preparation – and I was terrified. Tiny voices of doubt nibbled away at my confidence:
“You’re such a spiritual lightweight! Nothing you can discern from Scripture could ever be helpful to these women! You’re wasting your time – and theirs!”
When I allow anxiety and my feelings of inadequacy to be the loudest voice in the room, I’m tempted to hand my notes over to someone else: “Here, you do this. I’m not experienced enough. I’m not brave enough. I’m . . . not enough.”
Smiling as I read Scripture, it’s clear to me that I’m not the first God-follower to plead inadequacy in the midst of an assignment. Moses famously “reminded” God that he had never been granted the gift of gab. Jeremiah waved his birth certificate under God’s nose, as if the One who had formed him, chosen him, and assigned him to a prophetic ministry might have confused His young servant with a much older, more experienced servant of the same name.
In the moment, saying yes to God can feel risky. The outcome of obedience is hidden from view, for the following life is like a film that we experience one frame at a time. My fiery and faith-filled yes at the outset may lead to blessing and fruitful outcomes; there may be Red Sea crossings and miraculous provisions of nourishing bread and refreshing water at just the right time.
Or — my assignment may be more like Jeremiah’s.
Who in her right mind is eager to embrace a call to “pull up and tear down,” to “tear apart and demolish,” and then, after the dust has settled, to “build and to plant?” (Jeremiah 1:10) Certainly not Jeremiah, but it’s interesting to note that God did not respond to Jeremiah’s anxiety with a slap on the back and a “You’ve got this, my boy” pep talk. Instead, he gently turned Jeremiah’s anxious eyes away from his own inexperience and toward a greater reality . . .
When Jerusha Agen invited me to join her at the Fear Warrior Blog, I had just begun reading about Jeremiah: his youthful lack of confidence, his impossible assignment, and then the way God met Him there and bent over backwards to communicate His promises of strong support and supernatural strength. Who better to lead us into warrior mode in our continual assignment to fight against fear in our ordinary lives?
I’d love it if you’d click on over to Jerusha’s place and finish reading my thoughts on Jeremiah’s ammunition against anxiety. It is my hope that you will hear God’s whispered words of comfort directly to your own situation through His strong reassurance to Jeremiah:
“I made you.
I called you.
I will go with you.”
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