Who Would Have Thought It?

Dear Friends,


Occasionally after preaching a message on a Sunday morning at church I will have people come up to me and say "I don't know how you can do what you do.  I never could."

But the thing is, no-one is more surprised than me that I am standing up preaching to a crowd of people. You see, very few people today know what I was like growing up, but I do, and it's nothing less than miraculous that I am able to stand in front of a group of people sharing God's truths.

As a teenager I was painfully, painfully shy.  I had a handful of friends, but was so shy around the rest of my peers that I could hardly open my mouth and I only spoke in class when I was pushed to by one of my teachers.

Although I love reading and writing, I found some English subject lessons quite hard-going. In English language we were expected, every so often, to give a 3 minute speech to our fellow class mates. Now, this might as well have been 30 minutes as 3 to me.  I struggled to find anything to say, believing that nothing I said could possibly hold anyone's interest. My knees would shake as I stood before my classmates.  I would even pray that somehow I would be overlooked and I wouldn't have to go through the ordeal - but it never happened!

In English literature when we studied classics such as Shakespeare and Thomas Hardy, we would be expected to take turns in reading sections aloud.  Again I dreaded these moments, because I really found reading aloud very difficult.  It wasn't that I couldn't read.  It was because my nerves would always get the better of me, so that I would continually fall over the words, stuttering and stammering over them.  I had no help or encouragement from my teacher. and so I never made any improvement in that particular area while I was at school.

I disliked being the center of attention and would try to blend in to the background whenever I could.  

I remember as the date for my wedding (21 years ago) drew closer and closer how anxious I was about having to walk down the aisle.  I was not looking forward to having everyone's eyes on me. As I walked down the aisle on my Dad's arm, I don't think I was able to look up even once to smile at our guests who had come to celebrate with us.  Once I reached my husband-to-be at the front of our church I was able to then start relaxing.  It was no longer just about me and I felt safe with him.

So how did I go from being someone like I've described, to who I am in my forties?  If anyone had told me as a teenager what I would be doing, I would never have believed them.  My peers would not have believed them and neither would my teachers.

So what changed?  What happened?

The answer is God was and is doing a work in me.  I became a Christian when I was just 5 years old, but this didn't mean I immediately became the person God wanted me to be.  He needed to do a transforming work in me.  He saw the potential of Christ in me and he was committed to making me into the person he knew I was meant to be.  Others couldn't see this. I couldn't see it.  But God did, and he was and is faithful to seeing me grow. "God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that he won’t stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns."  Philippians 1:6 (CEV)  

God chose which spiritual gifts he had in mind for me, he gave me certain interests, strengths, weaknesses and experiences to fulfill his purpose in me.

I can stand in front of others now and share God's Word because as I stand there I know it's not about me. It's all about God.  People aren't there because they want to see me.  I am not the focus of the morning - God is.  Just like Jesus says in Matthew 5:16 "In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven."  (HCSB)  

I am able to read aloud from God's word, I am able to speak up and speak out because I know I have something that people need to hear.  Not because I myself have anything of importance to say but because I am sharing God's truth and I know just how much people need to hear the truth.

The wonderful truth is that when I stand and teach God's truth I don't do it alone.  I have the Holy Spirit standing with me.  And something incredible happens when I begin - he takes over and I can forget about myself.

I would be kidding myself if I told you that I never got nervous before doing something for God. The reality is I do find myself getting nervous, but that's OK because those nerves remind me that I can't do what God has called me to do in my own strength.  My nerves remind me that I need to totally rely on God and his enabling power and strength. 

I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]  Philippians 4:13 (AMP)

To Think About:
Are you doing something for God that you never would have thought possible in your younger years?

Who's voice do you choose to listen to?  God who says you can do what he has called you to, even though it may be daunting or others who tell you, you can't?

Are you glorifying God in what you are doing?

Over the coming week spend some time meditating on Philippians 4:13.  (I really like the wording in the  Amplified Bible)

Vicki 

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