Monday, August 27, 2012

Who Do You Think You Are?

The other night I was working diligently on the final proofread of my manuscript for my upcoming book, Stressed-Less Living, and as I progressed through the pages, reading words that I had written months ago, I began to feel very inadequate.

An onslaught of insecurities and doubts began to flood my thoughts, and I seemed to lose my ability to focus on the content of the pages. Questions began to swirl through my mind like debris caught in a tornado, clouding my ability to focus. 

Questions like....... Who do you think you are?  You're not a bible scholar, an ordained preacher, a doctor, or even possess any of the qualifications that might make someone qualified to write a book. You are not worthy. And you are certainly not always stress free. Remember just last week when you were so stressed your head was spinning? You are not equipped. In fact, why would you even think God called you to do this? Maybe you misunderstood? Seems a little presumptuous that God would call you to do anything, considering all your flaws. Maybe you should quit.

I suddenly felt paralyzed by feelings of inferiority, unworthiness, and fear of failure. But thankfully, within moments, I sensed God whispering to my spirit, gently overriding the other voice I was listening to, and reminding me that the enemy was up to his tactics again. Tactics that cause discouragement, doubt, self condemnation and fear. Tactics that lead to quitting when we feel unworthy, and when the path seems unknown.

You see, many times in the past, I have fallen prey to these tactics. On countless occasions, I have experienced this flood of insecurities raging into my heart and mind, like a knife plunging into my self confidence, causing me to doubt myself, my willingness to obey God, and even teeter with the idea of quitting.

So when the devil began to fill my head with these same types of insecurities again, I was prepared to fight back. I stopped what I was doing, closed my eyes, and prayed, asking God to reassure me of what He had called me to do. Asking Him for courage and strength and confidence., while seeking confirmation that I was following His will, and not my own.

The very next morning I opened my Jesus Calling devotion, and tears came to my eyes. God's Words washed over my spirit with sweet, unexpected reassurance.

The daily post that I read said this :

"Wait with me for a while. I have much to tell you. You are walking along the path I have chosen for you. It is both a privileged and a perilous way: experiencing My glorious Presence and heralding that reality to others. Sometimes you feel presumptuous to be carrying out such as assignment. Do not worry about what other people think of you. The work I am doing in you is hidden at first. But eventually blossoms will burst forth, and abundant fruit will be borne. Stay on the path of Life with Me. Trust me wholeheartedly, letting My Spirit fill you with Joy and Peace." 

As I allowed this divine message to sink into my heart, I was refueled by witnessing the reality that God heard my prayer for reassurance, and answered. Excitement coursed through my veins as I read that He has much to tell me; that I am on the right path, even though it feels unsure; and that although I feel unworthy and unqualified, He has a plan, though it may be hidden from me right now. A reminder to trust Him, even when I am feeling unworthy.

As I thought back about all those swirling questions that caught my focus that night, I realized they all had one thing in common.  They were all focused on what I am not - instead of what I am.

I am a child of God. I am imperfect, but made whole in Christ. I am blessed with a Savior. I am privileged to serve God, despite myself and my sin.  I am His child, His beloved, His chosen.

And so are you.
The devil's job is to discourage us from pursuing the assignments that God lays on our hearts, by reminding us of all the ways we don't measure up. We all sin and fall short of God's glory, but those shortcomings do not prevent us from being used by Him for good things. And those shortcomings definitely do not change who we are in Christ.

Have you ever stopped doing something that you felt God had laid on your heart, because the enemy fed you a heaping portion of insecurity and doubt? Have you felt presumptuous in assuming that God wanted to use you to glorify Him in some way?

Have you walked off the path you felt called to, because you felt paralyzed by your own limitations or flawed opinion of your self worth?

If so, take a moment today and pray for God to reassure you of His love, your value in Him, and His call on your life. Be aware of whose voice you are listening to, and ask yourself whether or not the things you have been believing about yourself can be backed up by God's Word.

Most importantly, make a conscious choice through prayer to stop focusing on all the things 'you are not'.  And instead, remember all the things you are, simply because of Whose you are.

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Pam said...

I love it when God so sweetly reassures a doubting heart : )

MyPassion said...

Thank you, thank you. This was for me. I was about to give up on school. I felt so defeated because I could figure out a problem. I felt like I wasn't good enough to complete this degree. My past of fear popped up. By reading this blog, it reminded me the promises He had promised me. Thanks again for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Wow, did I ever need this today! Thank you, Tracie, for so candidly sharing what was on your heart. You are a blessing!
Natalie :o)

Michelle at Teagans Travels said...

What a beautifully written post that sings to my heart today! Thank you for such encouragement. How that little voice inside our heads would love to defeat us. Paralyze us. Prevent us for giving God the glory. I am motivated all over again reading your post...and also excited about your new series coming up!


dkf7276 said...

What beautiful words of encouragement. Thank you and Blessings

Crystal said...

Thank you for the wonderful reminder. I'll spare you my long story, but suffice it to say that God transforms my mess into my message. The devil doesn't want us to share our stories because they are powerful. But with God's help and spiritual armor, I will stand.

Sandee Story said...

This was such an incredible encouragement and blessing to me. God spoke so clearly to my heart through your post. I am struggling with those exact issues of feeling presumptuous and unqualified to share my experiences of God at work in my life through my writing. These were just the words of reassurance I needed to motivate me to keep going. God is so good!

Shari Johnson said...

So very needed...It's interesting how Satan doesn't even have to change the story, just the characters. I've been living this for months. Thank you for being obedient to the Holy Spirit. Love you for it.

Stephanie Clayton said...

Tracie, girl, the message of your book and the messages you share sweet sister are SO amazing, ordained, and beautiful. I am so thankful to have met you and to get to read what God inspires you to write. You are right where He wants you, in the center of His will...HUGS!!! Stephanie Clayton

Shelly Burke said...

What a wonderful message, Tracie! I recently found out my husband was cheating on me and ultimately after much prayer and talking with my Pastor, decided to move out. (He wasn't willing to break off the relationship or work on the marriage, and had emotionally abandoned me months if not years ago,)

I'm the publisher of a Christian newspaper, and have written several books and many devotions. I have been struggling with what's "next" for me. The devil keeps telling me that I cannot write enough to support myself, that I should give up my dream, that I will fail at living alone.

THANK YOU for this encouragement!! I so needed it. I don't know what God has in mind--writing full time or finding a nursing job--but I will focus on what I CAN do, and what God's plan is, not on the negative things the devil is telling me.

I also forwarded this to another Christian author who struggles with these issues and I'm sure she will be encouraged by it. Thank you for overcoming your doubts and writing!May God bless your work!

Anonymous said...

I am working on cleaning up all my emails and this is speaking volumes to me today. I love how you stated that they were focused on what you aren't instead of who you are. Why do I listen when it only defeats me? Thanks so much for sharing your heart. It touched mine this morning. Blessings, Darlene.