I Can’t Do It (Killing Insecurity Part 4)

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Have you ever told God you couldn’t do something when He asked you to? I have. There are too many things to put in a blog post. For example, I am not an extrovert. I am an introvert. I don’t really like big group settings, public speaking, and left to do my own will I would probably have minimal contact with anyone other than Jesus. God calls me to engage with people, be involved in community, speak out, teach, and do things I can not do or would not do without His help.

One of my favorite people in the Bible is Moses. I can relate to Moses. Moses had a stuttering problem. He did not have eloquent speech. He did not want to be the mouthpiece for God to Pharaoh. See Exodus 4 below.

And Moses said to the LORD, O my LORD, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since you have spoken to your servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the LORD said to him, Who has made man’s mouth? or who makes the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth, and teach you what you shall say, Exodus 4:10-12.

Moses pleaded with God and God appointed Aaron to go with Moses to speak. The passage goes on to say God was upset with Moses. Moses denied God’s ability to use him. He placed the focus on his ability instead of God’s ability. I love this quote, “Even our greatest idea of who God is still makes Him so small.” We somehow think our weaknesses limit what God can do. It is the failure to believe that God is all-powerful, He can be trusted, and He can do anything He wants through anyone.

Like Moses, I have had those conversations with God. The first time I was approached about leading a Bible study. I said, “I am not qualified to do this. I have not been to seminary. There are people in this group who are in seminary-they know far more than I do. I don’t like group activities. I don’t like talking to people. I can’t do this.” God gave me time to muddle through all the insecurities and reminded me of this truth, “I am with you.” It’s about honoring Him and trusting Him. God qualifies the called. He gives us His strength and ability to do what He asks us to do. God’s strength is more powerful than our weaknesses. 

The truth is we are all inadequate to do the great things God placed us here to do. He longs for us to lean on Him. He wants to be the centerpiece of our lives. It’s God in us that does amazing things. I truly believe He calls us to do things outside our comfort zone and realm of ability so we can grow in trusting Him. We can also look back and say, “I know that was God because there is no way I could have done that.

I’d love to tell you when God asks me to do certain things now that there are no more thoughts of “I can’t do this,” but there are. It doesn’t mean I rebel and do my own thing. It means I cling tightly to Him and let Him have His way. It may not always be immediate, but it happens eventually. It also does not mean everything God asks me to do plays out perfectly. Some things I may never understand or they seem meaningless to me, yet valuable to Him.

So dear friends, no matter what you face this week, God is able. He is for you. He has great plans to use you for His Kingdom advancement. He’s offering you His strength. May you and I rest in who God is and what He can do through us! Nothing is impossible for God.

Love in Christ,

Erin

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The Trap of Success (Killing Insecurity Part 3)

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Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were doing it for God rather than for people,~Colossians 3:23.

We live in a world that measures success by the amount of money a person makes, their possessions, their academic achievements (the highest GPA, or degrees), their intelligence (IQ), their ability to play a sport well, their performance (the best singer, dancer, actor or actress), their ministry (is it growing? is it big? how many people have been impacted?), or even their ability to have a great marriage or great kids. Our world measures success very differently than God does. We base success on externals. God looks at the heart and whether or not we are faithful. Faithfulness is important to God. Winning is something we value.

Faithful (definition):

1. thorough in the performance of duty: a faithful worker. 2. true to one’s word, promises, vows, etc. 3. steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant: faithful friends. 4. reliable, trusted, or believed. 5. adhering or true to fact, a standard, or an original; accurate: a faithful account; a faithful copy.

Let’s investigate this trap….

I. Our worth is based on what we can do (how well we do things) or what we do (are we the best at what we do) or what we have (I’ve achieved so much). If we are finding security in what we can do, what we do, or what we have, then our foundation is as shaky as shifting sands. There will always be someone  who has more, can do more…and if our esteem is rooted in those things we will either spend our lives striving for success, competing with others, looking down on people who we don’t perceive are as good as we think we are, or feeling insecure because we are not as successful as we think we should be.

The problem:

  • If our worth is rooted in our ability to succeed, it promotes pride. If we succeed, we pat ourselves on the back and inflate our ego. If we fail (by our standards or the world’s), then we fall into self-pity and shame. We keep striving to be better for our ego. It’s not about being faithful to whatever God calls us to do, it’s about succeeding at whatever we set our minds to do. We are not what we do. We become addicted to success so we can feel good about ourselves or establish identity.

The solution:

  • An identity rooted in Christ. Our worth is not determined by what we can do or accomplish. We are valuable because God says that we are. If we know who we are in Him, we will be lead to excellence for His glory, not success for our ego. People in the Bible had flaws, moral failures, made mistakes, and God still used them. He looked at the heart, qualified the unqualified, restored the broken, and rewarded faithfulness.

II. Our self built monuments are not as valuable as we think. We can build quite a monument for ourselves. And if we have no monument for our achievements, we have a monuments of shame for what we haven’t accomplished.

The problem:

  • The focus is us and not God. Everything we can do is because He enables us to do them. If He spoke to end our lives, He could do so. Everything in the Universe is held together by an awesome God. If there is greatness in us, it’s because He is great. Our monuments of glory or shame are worthless in comparison to who He is.

The solution:

  • Acknowledging everything we do is only because of Him. Giving Him the credit for the good things in our lives. Thanking Him for we can do nothing without Him. Even those who don’t know Him are alive and gifted because He allows it. The gifts, talents, skills, and intelligence are given by Him.

God is not opposed to higher education; excellence in craftsmanship, talent or skill. He wants us to steward gifts given by Him. The goal is not to find our value in what we do or success at what we do. If we do, then it promotes insecurity. Money can be lost, marriages can fail, children can disappoint you, a head injury could destroy mental capabilities, jobs can be lost, and if success is what motivates us-then we will bail when we’re not successful or be miserable.

Testimony:

I’ve been fortunate to be placed in situations where God called me to be faithful, but in my eyes and the eyes of others there was not success. I devoted 7 years to leading Bible studies and home groups. Looking back on some of those years I felt like a failure or there were moments I felt it was a waste of time. People would show up sometimes and other times they wouldn’t. You’d prepare a teaching or worship and people would be on their smartphones texting, chatting with each other, or disinterested. You’d pour into people and have them tell you they didn’t want to be pointed to the truth of the Gospel. You’d pray and things would get worse. Finally God spoke these words that changed my perspective, “I honor faithfulness. You were faithful to do what I ask you to do.” When I become focused on succeeding or measuring up to some standard, I can be reminded that God honors faithfulness! It’s about Him and His ability, not me and my ability. And I’ve learned from those situations to be more of a helper/encourager to those God places over me and other people, not to expect perfection and to help/encourage others remain faithful to what God calls them to do. So, I am somewhat thankful for those years…

Final Notes:

This world will pass away and all that is in it. There won’t be a world’s most successful person bulletin in heaven. We won’t have a bigger mansion or more privileges in heaven based on success on earth. Money, titles…those things won’t matter. God honors faithfulness. May we be faithful to whatever God asks us to do.

Who Said You’re Not Beautiful? (Killing Insecurity Part 2)

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For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place,

when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body;

all the days ordained for me were written in your book

before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts,God!

How vast is the sum of them!

Were I to count them,

they would outnumber the grains of sand—

when I awake, I am still with you,~Psalm 139:14-18.

I started us out with Psalm 139. The Bible tells us that we were God’s idea. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. He is the beholder. So, if God calls us beautiful, why don’t more people feel empowered, beautiful, and valuable? There are so many reasons why we (humans) feel less than what God says. Let’s investigate some of the reasons why and seek to combat them.

1. The voice of man over the voice of God.

Children are not born believing they are ugly, unwanted, or not valuable. I have spent quite some time with children and if their parents encouraged and loved them, they are quite confident. They believe they are invincible. Some may be shy, but children don’t have a concept of beauty or what is considered ugly until someone tells them. There are some biological forces at work with attraction (we are more apt to be attracted to someone with certain symmetry and shapes), but for the most part we are told from childhood on up what we are to value and what we are not. Children who are labeled as cute are told, “He/she is so cute! So adorable!” Children are very perceptive. They can see what is considered valuable and what is not.

Our society works diligently to tell the world what is beautiful and valuable. Turn on the TV, look through a magazine…Marketing is designed to tell us what we need to do in order to be more beautiful or valuable. Here are some examples, “Get rid of those wrinkles, whiten those teeth, flatten those abs, build those muscles, look like this person, do this and you will be the most loved, liked, and happy person in the world.

The Problem: Allowing people (including ourselves) to define what is valuable or beautiful. Valuing the opinions of man over the opinion of God.

The Solution: Allowing God to define what is valuable or beautiful. God cannot lie. Meditating on His words, living in His acceptance, and professing His words ourselves.

It’s not easy to combat all the voices coming at us. From the time we are young there are voices attacking our identity. There is rejection from peers, negative words spoken over us, we are bombarded with images of people we are told are the most beautiful, successful, and valuable people in the world. We are told humility is self-deprecation (thinking we are nothing) which is simply another form of pride (valuing our opinion over God’s). We can’t go one day without being told what we can do to become more valuable, acceptable, beautiful. The truth is-we are already beautiful and valuable!

Prayer:

Father I ask for lies we believe about ourselves to be revealed, renounced, uprooted, and demolished. Replace every lie with Your truth. Help us to have Your thoughts as our thoughts. Protect our eyes from being fixed on the world’s standards and may they we permanently fixed on You!

2. Comparison.

I read this somewhere and it stuck with me, “Comparison is the thief of joy!” We become discontent when we compare ourselves to others. As humans we are taught to compare. “Which one of these is not like the other?” And when we are finished picking out what’s different, we were taught to discard the one that was different. When I was a kid, being tan with full features wasn’t glorified. I was teased in school for looking different from other kids. Now being tan/brown is celebrated. Women pay to have their eyes lifted to be wider and lips filled with collagen to be fuller. If I compare who I am to other people, I will never celebrate who God made me to be. God did not make us all to look the same or have the same gift combinations for a reason. He values diversity and every person has a special role in His Kingdom. It would be boring if we were all the same. We must accept and value who we are and what we have in order to have contentment and joy. No trying to keep up with the Joneses…or envying or being jealous of them either. We all have tremendous value, something to offer, and the love of an amazing Father!

Closing Thoughts:

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You were God’s idea. No matter what anyone else says about you, you have tremendous value and worth. You were worth dying for. Jesus paid the highest price to redeem mankind. The value of something is determined by how much someone is willing to pay for it. God paid the highest price. I encourage you (I will do it too) to recited the verses of Psalm 139. Chew on, meditate on God’s word. And when those voices rise up and say, “You are not enough, not beautiful enough, not smart enough, not talented enough, not good enough,”…you and I can say, “I am who God says I am! I am a child of the King. He paid the highest price for me because He values me. I am made in His image. I am beautiful! In Him I am enough.

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I Stand Before You (God’s Message of Love)

God’s love is available for us always. The cure for insecurity and fear is a deeper revelation of God’s love for us. I love being reminded of the vastness of God’s love. Here’s is an excerpt from my book I Thought I Knew What Love Was. I hope it blesses your heart, enlightens your soul, and warms your heart. You are deeply loved.

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I Stand Before You (God’s Message of Love)

Written by Erin Lamb © Copyright 2011

I stand before you;

My arms are open wide,

wanting to embrace you,

wanting to bring to health to you,

and wanting to re-establish you.

Reach out your arms to Me,

for My love for you

won’t end

and won’t fail.

Though the thunderstorms rage, the seas of turmoil turn,

and the waves crash over your fragile heart;

I am still standing here,

standing strong for you.

I have a heartbeat

that beats just for you;

it beats to the rhythm of your name.

Can you hear My heart cry out,

for more time with you

and more intimacy with you?

Tenderly,

I unveil more of Myself to you.

I am the One who longs for you.

Let go.

Let go of all the preconceived notions

that I cannot meet your every longing.

I love…

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