It is four months since I made a pact with God – a decision that I would live even more in God’s fullness.
It started at New Year when I was reflecting on where God had brought me over the last 12 months, how I had got to know myself more and what I was called into. It was time to celebrate the annual experience of adventuring with God into the unknown. He had opened up opportunity to work as a freelance writer and Youth Participation Consultant and I was experiencing a new and fresh way of serving him in this work. I had been travelling alongside God and experienced his innovative nature and creativity. As I reflected, I saw that huge possibilities had opened up and that he had faithfully led me through unknown territories. It still astounds me that he wants to use me in that side of things and calls me to participate with him in that ministry.
The celebration of my reflection also came with a nudge. Not a comfortable nudge but a frustration. During this time, I had experienced self-doubt. I am talking about lies and the fear that I am not able to do what God has opened up for me, where in reality God has equipped and called. This would often happen late at night and I would just want to hide under the duvet!
Self-doubt is different to humility. I don’t believe that ignoring the truth that God has given us gifting or a calling is anything like humility. Instead humility must adhere any gifting to God and then acknowledge that… “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). Doing myself down is taking hold of lies, instead of my identity in Christ.
There are frequent accounts in the Bible of people who were given a task and an opportunity for leadership, who also took their eyes off God. They quickly sized themselves up and stood back, looking at how they saw themselves or how others saw them, rather than the creator God who made them! Moses is an example of this. After God appears to him in a burning bush and almost hollers the fact that “I am, who I am”, Moses still comes back with the ‘what ifs’ and doesn’t accept the fact that God is with him and that is enough! (Exodus 3 - 4:17). God has a great plan to use us, to glorify him, through a relationship where we submit to who he is.
As I looked out onto the New Year, I knew that it would come with adventure, highs, lows and challenges. However, I decided that I wanted to take hold of the fullness of life that God offered. I wanted to accept the transformation that he desired for me. From a ministry perspective, the awe of the responsibility that God had given me as a leader led me to believe that if I listened to the self-doubt, it would affect others. I couldn’t let the part he was calling me to play in his Kingdom be affected by lies and fear. I wanted to live, love and ‘be’ fully his daughter in a full relationship with him. A fresh excitement stirred in me as I made this choice with God. The choice was not to listen to the lies and fear but to trust him, take risks in his strength and not say I couldn’t do something until it had been tried.
Fast-forward to the present, four months along the journey of living in God’s truth. I have to be honest, I haven’t always got it right and I would be saying that I was superwoman to have not felt self-doubt. What has been incredible though, is that I have been in this amazing dialogue with God. When I have felt self-doubt, he has helped me choose to see the truth and continue in faith. I think being vulnerable with God and making a decision to trust is what it is all about; choosing to look at God and not myself. Knowing the truth about my identity in God, my abilities and calling, allows me to fall into the unknown with him as the one who leads and is capable.
There have been new things to do and achieve within these past four months and practically I have seen God use certain things to grow me into a greater trust and identity in him. Here are three examples:
Part of acknowledging that my calling and ministry is done with God and for his glory, stems from a good relationship with him. How can I know myself as his daughter if I do not spend time getting to know him? Immersing myself in his truth means accessing his word, praying and worshipping him. I have lately seen him transform me through scripture as he talks to me and meet me in the discipline of prayer and worship. Getting into a rhythm of spiritual disciplines has meant that there is no separation between spending time with God and going throughout my day.
By being accountable to my mentor about the temptation to self-doubt, it has meant that I have someone to walk alongside me. In times when I could slip into believing the lies about my capabilities, I can look back on the conversations that I have had with my mentor and see the truth and the reality of the calling God has given. It is also encouraging to know that I have God and other people who are journeying with me in this.
I have been skiing on and off since I was twelve. This February, I decided to take a risk and stretch myself in my ability. I knew that I was ready for the next type of ski slope, so it wasn’t fool-hardy skiing but acceptance that I was ready for the next development. I set off with a friend to ski down the mountain range, on a slope I hadn’t done before. Guess what flashed into my mind, as I sliced down the mountain!? “You can’t do this, play it safe and stick to where you are at.” Due to my pact with God I prayed and felt God work with my mind to think positively and not to dwell on my fear. In the end, I had achieved my 3,690 vertical metres, with one wipe out and had made it safely to the bottom of the mountain!
Once I got back from skiing, I decided to start running and have experienced the presence of God with me as I run. Nearly every time I go out for a run, I am never sure that I will reach my target and it is tempting to start the process of self-doubt. However, through achieving my targets, God has taught me perseverance which has helped me not to settle in self-doubt. By achieving and strengthening my mind and body through running, I have grown more confident in who I am in Christ and in how he is my strength in life.
That’s enough about me, so what about you?
1. What distracts you from taking hold of God’s plans for your life?
2. What steps can you take to enable your potential to be unleashed?
Lizzie Telfer works as an Assistant Publisher at Scripture Union, and is a youth participation consultant and freelance writer