Is it just me, or does it feel like a shift happening in the atmosphere? After a full year of isolation, these past couple of weeks have felt as if a heavy load has been lifted, if only a little. IF you ever lifted weights, you know what I mean when I say, I know I need the heavy weights to build my stamina. However, as the repetitions begin, I look forward to lowering the size of the weights I am lifting. Even one pound lighter brings about a sense of relief.
Sometimes when I am using heavier weights, the pressure of having to lift them can be awful. I also know that there will be a benefit later to me lifting those heavy weights. Sometimes, I get frustrated and discouraged by the grueling task of lifting weights and dread the days I have to do them. But I do them anyway.
The last several weeks have felt like a weight has lifted. This week was simply outstanding. I continue to look at what I do day in and day out as something God has called me to do. I know when so many things tugging for my attention, it is easy, sometimes, to forget that God called me to the place I am, whether that is writing this Blog, speaking to a group, or interacting with people I lead.
But what happens when the weight seems to be too much? Do you give up? Do you walk away? No. Why? Because you do not have to handle the weight alone. That weight can be felt in the form of attacks, physically, mentally, emotionally, or even spiritually. The weight can feel so severe that you question your sanity. The attacks can be so overwhelming that you wonder if you have the strength or courage to stand for another battle. Also, something you know God called you to do can come into question. Not Him questioning you, but you doubt you or others wondering about whether you can cut it.
That’s why, for me, reading my Bible daily and praying are essential. I have had acquaintances tell me that they cannot read the same scriptures repeatedly because they become bored. I don’t judge them for that—they love God too. I tell them, for me, I read God’s Word repeatedly so that I am reminded not to be discouraged. Listen, there are people just like you and me in scripture who faced some of the same issues we deal with today: isolation (Elijah), fear (Jonah/Gideon/Esther/Daniel); depression (Jonah), anxiety (Peter), insecurity (Gideon), self-doubt (Moses). Shall I go on? These great warriors of the Bible were human beings just like you and me. They dealt with the same stuff. Their courage did not come from within; it came from someone greater. The God of the universe heard their prayers and gave them what they needed to succeed. God gave prophets and apostles the courage they needed to face the past, face impossible situations, take significant risks, and not give in. Some gathered courage from God speaking directly to them, while others gained it through others.
This month of May, where we celebrate Mother’s Day and Memorial Day in the United States, I am focused on Joshua 1:8-9. I memorized these scriptures as a teenager. There are times I go back to them to remind myself why it is essential for me to read scriptures time and again. Listen to what the scripture says: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then, you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” These scriptures are powerfully encouraging.
So, I say to you today, Be courageous, be strong, be confident at the place and position you have been assigned. You never know; you may have come to your place and position for such a time as this. Regardless of how others see you or judge you, the Word of God says of you—” Your gifts and calling are irrevocable.” You are very much needed where you are. Trust God to give you the courage to face any insecurities and fears. Trust Him to help you battle with your giant. Trust Him to show you what risks you need to take, and never, ever give up praying to God even when others do not understand you or threaten your peace of mind. Hold on to the same deep faith Daniel had in the Lion’s Den.