I was the kid whose heart rate would increase at the sound of the Sunday School teacher asking for a volunteer to pray, read the scripture, or share a “highlight” at the assembly. I wasn’t scared; I was excited about being able to recite that prayer I’d been practicing in my room all week!
Yes, I practiced praying. I memorized Bible verses for fun. I took notes in church. I wrote messages for speaking engagements yet to exist. Why? Because I couldn’t NOT do it. Not doing it was like holding my breath.
Then this happened: a lady whose opinion I held dear, leaned over and said to me, as I took my seat after leading our church in prayer, “you know, you don’t always have to be out front . . .” Ouch! In my adolescent mind, I took her words to be words of wisdom and in an attempt to not further disappoint her, I muzzled my mouth, tamed my racing heart, rested my busy pencil, and vowed to never put myself “out front” again. I stopped volunteering, signing up, and initiating the sharing of anything I’d written. My fear was such behavior would go against this “wisdom” I dare not disregard.
As time went on, I was asked to pray, asked to read, asked to speak. I was asked to teach. The opportunities would just come my way. Interesting, huh? By the time I was an adult, my “never volunteer” rule began to feel like more of a stumbling block than an act of humility. I felt like God wanted me to do more, but “more” was no longer falling in my lap. It was as if He was now calling me to pursue more.
Then, one day a different lady whose opinion I held dear said to me “once you know you have been called, the next step is to do it effectively.” I felt so liberated! I realized, all this time, it was not me trying to be “out front,” it was me being called by God to use the gift He gave me! The racing heart, the burning desire to share with others all these words bubbling up on the inside of me, all of that was God calling me to do what I was created in my mother’s womb to do!
Now, I’m writing. I’m speaking. I’m sharing openly. Unapologetically. Every. Chance. I. Get. As well as every chance I’m led by the Holy Spirit to create! Not because I want to be “out front.” It’s because I am a writer. I am a speaker. I have been called to effectively communicate the Word of God. I’m no longer dreaming about it. I am doing it!
Now tell me: who leaned over to you and shared a that paralyzing comment? Who are you trying to not disappoint? How old were you when you started to suppress your creativity, your passion, your gifting, your calling?
I want to encourage you to breathe again! Here I am, after 52 weekly blogs, 123 subscribers, and several speaking engagements to tell you if that person or idea is still around feeding thoughts of defeat, inadequacy, or shame, see it as the foolishness it is, remove the muzzle, un-tame that racing heart, pick that pencil back up and share! Sing, write, dance, teach, draw, decorate, create, BE!
The 52 blogs, the 123 subscribers, and the speaking engagements were used by God to transform the lives of His people with His Word. I’m so happy I did not take a pass on my role in this process.
I want to thank you for your partnership these past 12 months. My prayer is that this time next year, YOU and I will be celebrating another 52- week cycle of feasting on the fruit of obedience to and faith in the God “who began a good work in [us and wants to] carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
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