This is AWESOME!
Thanks to my friend Dawnya for posting this on facebook tonight.
This is AWESOME!
Thanks to my friend Dawnya for posting this on facebook tonight.
I thought about this quote today and realize the importance of ‘stepping out’ of my own comfort zone to insure that I keep growing. How easy it is to stay where I’m comfortable – no pressure – no expectations – no work. But on the flip side – no lesson learned – no real positive change – no opportunity to influence others by being unafraid to face things head on.
Last week I was asked by friend, radio host and local pastor, Doug Bursch to be on his radio show – “Live from Seattle”. I hesitated. I made excuses. Finally I could see that none of my excuses (one of them was that I teach in the afternoon when the show airs) were going to be enough – especially when a time slot was found that could accommodate me. The subject he was going to interview me on: Blogging and what God was speaking to me. Now before you judge my hesitations – just remember that I am the girl that has no problem singing you a song – or playing the piano at a recital for my students – can teach music in a theater class – but usually I don’t have to ‘talk’ much. I’ve never considered myself a speaker and in fact have turned down speaking engagements when we were in ministry over the years – because I didn’t feel qualified – or had anything to say – and was just plain terrified! So when Doug asked me to do this – I was pretty nervous – and that’s the understatement!
But excuses aside – I did it anyway – knowing it was probably good for me to be forced out of my comfort zone of sitting behind my desk and typing – sharing things from my heart in written form only – and to be open to a new vehicle that God was gently nudging me in – with a little help from a friend. And I’m happy and relieved to tell you that it was not as bad as I thought – I actually could think on my feet and share what needed to be shared – was not ‘tongue tied’ or really dumb – and the nervous feeling left me almost as soon as the interview started. With a lot of help from Doug 🙂
I got to thinking – how many things scare us? Prevent us from a great blessing and possibility for growth – all because we’re terrified of stepping out? How many things have I missed out on – just because I refused to learn something new – and do something that really terrified me? Like…talking on the radio? Maybe talking to someone that could really use a friend? Doing something with children that I didn’t feel qualified for? Teaching a class? Volunteering my time to an organization? Giving of myself? Living by example? Being misunderstood?
As I thought of this – I am very aware in my own life – that I have been the reason – I’ve been the one that is afraid – afraid to tackle the strange unknown. Because of this I know that I have also held myself back from doing great things for people – for my family and friends and most of all – God’s kingdom – all because of fear. There are several ‘fear buttons’:
What if they don’t like me? They might not. Many that have known me through the years – don’t like me. I’ve managed to survive it and I’ve come to realize that not everyone will like me – and that has to be okay. But I won’t let that handicap me from being who I am – just because some don’t like me.
What if they reject me? Again – many have. Some of them that I considered good friends have rejected me – for whatever reasons of their own – walked away and have never spoken to me again. Rejection in the rawest form. But I’m still me – I’m still here – I didn’t die from the rejection. It hurt me – but I went on and found others who won’t play that game with me and don’t do that anymore. And I’m getting smarter – I’ve learned who they are – and those that are open to me and my influence are those that have won my friendship and trust.
What if I fail? Well – I’ve failed MANY times. I’m actually the ‘poster child’ for this. I can tell you how to do it and how to go down to that dark scary place – how to spiral out of control because of hurt, disappointed and frustration. But I also know that God is greater than any failure of mine – or any scrape I can get myself into – and that He is there – even in the deepest, darkest pit of self pity and pride. I know that it IS possible to dig yourself out – and begin again – because I have done it – not once – but many times. And what I find each time I fail is that His grace renews every morning – there’s enough to cover me and my mistakes. And the lessons learned from failing are invaluable and actually make me stronger and wiser. So failing doesn’t not scare me anymore. I can actually look failure in the face and say, ‘you don’t own me anymore’.
What if I can’t handle it? I’ve been there too. There are still days when I don’t feel as if I’m up to the task – and my daily schedule of teaching students can be a daunting task. There are days when I actually dread it. And I’ve had those bad teaching days where I don’t feel like I’ve connected with the student at all. I mean – a really bad day. The kind of day that makes me doubt my own education and experience – makes me want to give up entirely and ‘throw in the towel’. Then something will happen – an encouragement from a parent – an email and positive affirmation of some kind – and suddenly I remember why I do – what I do. And I know that I can handle it. And God has equipped me to handle it and to ‘bloom where I’m planted’.
Do those things above scare me? You bet. Everyday. More than once a day. But I also know that God will give me what I need for that day to accomplish what I’m supposed to. I can’t do it in my own strength – nor does He expect me to. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is found in Proverbs 3:5,6:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.
I want to challenge you today – do something that really scares you. It may be that very thing that propels you onto a new pathway of discovery and growth – a journey that embraces and influences others in ways you never dreamed of before. Do that one thing that has been holding you back – and keeping you from missing a blessing in your life. What is it? You are the only one that can answer that. Step out and do it – you won’t be alone – He will be by your side as your greatest source of strength and encouragement. Reach out and embrace that change in your life. That change may be the beginning of your finest hour. A scary step. The thing most feared – may be your biggest blessing.
“Now, with God’s help, I shall become myself.” Soren Kierkegaard
Heard an excellent message this morning on Psalm 77 – written by Chief Musician Asaph. Here is the Psalm:
1 I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands
and my soul refused to be comforted.
3 I remembered you, O God, and I groaned;
I mused, and my spirit grew faint.
4 You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
5 I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
6 I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart mused and my spirit inquired:
7 “Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”
10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will meditate on all your works
and consider all your mighty deeds.
13 Your ways, O God, are holy.
What god is so great as our God?
14 You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
16 The waters saw you, O God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
17 The clouds poured down water,
the skies resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.
19 Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.
20 You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
What is interesting to note – Asaph being a musician and writer of Psalms – much like David – had a melancholy temperament and a creative mind – which was expressed in song writing and poetry. He felt things. He expressed his heart. He was not afraid to be real.
Being real is sometimes very hard. It seems like we do everything to hide what is really going on. And let’s face it – when someone asks how you are – you do not usually say to them, “my life is falling apart! I’m drowning”! We have to keep up appearances and paste a smile on our face – even in difficult times. But as Christians it is important to show others that we are real. We are authentic – we go through things. We have bad days – terrible experiences – life goes sideways on us – we are NOT perfect. How can others relate with us and learn how to make it through – if we pretend we never have any problems or challenges. Maybe you were raised in a home where it was not the thing to do to “share” too much of yourself or your feelings with others. Maybe it is difficult because of who you are.
Our executive pastor was the speaker today and said he comes from a Norwegian family where appearance is important and if asked why they never show emotion, the response is always, “I’m laughing on the inside”. And while we may think that is humorous – it is true of so many of us when we try to hide our real selves from those around us – from God and most of all ourselves. God himself made us with emotions and ways of expressing them. It is important to acknowledge this – and not think of it as self-indulgent or as some sort of “weakness” to have problems. To think there is something wrong with us – or maybe we are not “living with the victory” if we do.
1. Be REAL about your WEAKNESS – in doing so we release something and allow a healing to begin. When we express that we aren’t perfect to a trusted friend we allow them to be less than perfect also and we build trust by encouraging and showing them how we are processing through a difficult time. We have accountability – so we do not fall through the cracks.
2. Be REAL – but don’t stay in that difficult time of sadness or depression permanently. There is a time to have troubles – to stop and reflect – but then you MUST NOT STAY THERE. Allow God to heal you. Keep holding on to Him through difficult times. Hold on to trusted friends who daily give you encouragement and council. Surround yourself with positive people in your life that agree to walk with you – not condemn you – but accept you just the way you are – flaws and all.
When Asaph cried out to God out of a broken heart – he was then able to remember all the wonderful things that God had done.
3. Maybe the solution to your problem is in remembering what God has done. No quick fix. No thunder bolt from heaven. No “feel good” therapy – just a time of reflection and looking back.
I was challenged by this simple straight forward message today. And I want to encourage you too. Find someone today you can be real with. Be real with God. Be real with yourself. And most of all – remember what He’s done.
Greg and I saw this movie last night – and I HIGHLY recommend seeing it. It is thought provoking and deep. It will really make you think – and in a good way about the simple things we take for granted – about conviction and passion of one man as he endeavors to protect the only Bible left on earth in a post apocalyptic world. Denzel Washington is an AMAZING actor in this movie – go see it! Below is the trailer – it is just a glimpse into this wonderful film. Enjoy and God Bless!
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