I love reading about Moses’ first encounter with the God of the universe in a burning bush. The dialogue between them makes me laugh because Moses’ objections remind me of my own.
GOD: Go to Pharaoh so you can bring my people out of Egypt.
MOSES: What? Who, me?
GOD: I will be with you.
MOSES: What if they ask who sent me? GOD: I Am has sent you.
MOSES: What if they don’t believe me?
GOD: I’ll give you the power to perform signs and wonders in my name.
MOSES: But I’m not good with words.
This is where I can imagine God saying slowly and firmly, “Moses, who made your mouth? Go! I’ll help you speak, and I’ll tell you what to say.”
It’s easy to read about Moses’ doubt and think, This is God speaking to you! Don’t you trust him? Then I think of all the times I’ve determined God must have confused his plans for me with his plans for someone else. I’ve offered up plenty of I can’t do this! Just look at my mess! I wonder what God thinks as he listens to my fears of never-enough-ness.
God does the choosing and assigning, not us. Whew! He calls us, and he equips us. There’s no need to run from his calling, to deny it, or to wish it away because “the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,” will also “equip [us] with everything good for doing his will.”2
God demonstrates his power through our frailty. In fact, this is the only thing we can boast in: His power is made perfect and on full display in our never-enough-ness. When we are weak, we are actually made strong in Christ Jesus.
Whoa. The secret to strength is weakness.
Grasping this has been a game changer for me. I used to think being ill-equipped disqualified me from serving God, but I’ve learned that when I admit my inadequacy, I invite his power in to strengthen me. This is fertile soil for surrender. Surrender says, The calling you’ve laid before me is too great. I cannot fathom it. Still, I will obey. I will trust that you go before me.
I believe God chose Moses because he was weak. God wanted Moses to know he was able to lead the people only because God was with him, giving him everything he needed to do the job.
When you feel weak—or anxious or fearful—the very admission of your weakness could be the moment you realize true strength. And in that moment, you’ll see that you are the one God wants to use. You’re it. God’s glory rests in you.
The first time I ever spoke in public was at a writing work- shop, six months before my first book was released. When I stepped up to the microphone, I said, verbatim, “This is the first and last time I’ll be speaking in public, so here goes.” (In hindsight, I don’t recommend this.)
I proceeded to cry through my story, sniffling into tissues, ending my time with a rousing offer to pray. To my surprise, at the end of my session, about fifteen women formed a line to talk. My story had touched them, had offered them something they needed. I’d given language to anxiety and depression, something not often talked about in church. I left hoping to get the chance to speak again.
The speaking invitations crept in. But speaking brought fear, so I’d write out my talks word for word, only to find myself speaking with my head down, following the script too closely. If I looked up to reference a slide, I’d lose my place in my notes.
A few months into this new vocation, I found myself on an airplane headed to give three forty-five-minute talks at a conference. This time, due to weather, my flight was running behind. I had only thirty minutes to make my connection in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport—one of the busiest in the world. I ran from concourse to train to concourse and was the last to board for the final leg of the trip. As we reached ten thousand feet, I leaned down to get my laptop and put a few finishing touches on my upcoming talks.
My laptop was still in the seat pocket of my last flight.
I arrived at my hotel in a puddle of exhaustion, fear, and frustration. Now what? No notes, no computer. Falling to my knees, I confessed right then:
Never have I wanted my teaching to be about what I bring. I don’t want my words to be my own, my talks to be controlled or predictable. But I’m afraid not to plan every word.
Will you please help me? Speak through me? Surprise us all with what you have?
God gently responded: “Do you trust me? Do you trust I will give you my words?”
God was looking for this little girl to simply be brave. I taught three sessions without notes that weekend. It was the most free I’d ever felt standing in front of a group of women. As it turns out, I love telling stories on the fly.
It’s difficult to muster bravery in our everyday lives, isn’t it? So often, fear creeps in. What if I fail? What if others ridicule me? Our emotions are very real, and I do not wish to minimize them. But our bravest moments come from trusting, from falling into the plan of God. When we do, bravery becomes less about courage and more about faith. We trust God will never leave us or forsake us. We trust everything is possible for those who believe. We trust we can do all things through Christ, who gives us strength. He is faithful to accomplish what- ever he begins and will carry it to completion.
What joy to come before the throne, humbled and low. What freedom to be used, shortcomings and all. This is when we realize that we, the weak ones, have been a part of God’s plan all along.
Have you found yourself believing that past mistakes or even current situations disqualify you from being used by God? How might those same things be part of the very reason God chooses to use you in His kingdom?