The lies whisper and sometimes they scream, "Be afraid." ..."be very afraid..."
I have tapes that play this fearful tune, do you ever hear these too? Mine say, "You're too young" "What do you have to say?" "Who are you to..." "You're not smart enough" "You're not spiritual enough." "You are a mess..." "If they only knew this about you..." "Shut up...and sit down"
Some authors writing about this phenomenon have called it, "insecurity". Some have called it, "pride". One author, whose work I am currently reading, Brene Brown, calls it shame. Shame--it is such an ugly word. And, a confusing word.
Defining shame as "the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging", Dr. Brene Brown says, "shame is all about fear." "We are afraid people won't like us if they know the truth about..." Brown describes the difference between shame and guilt being that guilt says, "I did something bad." Shame says, "I am bad."
Shame is about who we are- guilt is about our behaviors. Interestingly, Dr. Brown's research also shows that guilt (which I might personally re-term "conviction") can be productive and helpful; while, shame is always destructive. Patterns of hurtful behaviors and self destructive attitudes are bred in the garden of shame.
So, what does this have to do with me and my journey? I was reading Dr. Brown's book and was struck with the idea that silence and secrecy breed and give power to shame. I had been hearing some loud lies recently and it was time to expose them to the Truth-Light! This blog post is about exposing... vulnerability... and courage.
To put some context to my "recent" lie-tapes... I feel that God has been calling, inviting, prodding me forward into a new ministry. This inviting whisper has been happening for years, actually. But, this past week the call from God to step forward has become louder and more clear. And, as the call has become more clear; so have the lies started ramping up their mantra: "Who are you? Who do you think you are?" "You're too young" "You're not one of them..."
To put it bluntly, somewhere deep within I have believe that my imperfections negate my ability to be used in (blank) ministry. Doesn't really matter how you fill in the blank.
You name it... My call, God's invitation to me, is unique and so is yours. But, somewhere I have believed a lie that 'I can't (blank)because of me--because of who I am.'
I am not alone in this, I know. And, neither are you.
Reading in Jeremiah this morning, I was struck... "The word of the Lord came to me, saying: 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." "Alas, Sovereign Lord," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am too young."
But the Lord said to me, "Do not say, 'I am too young'. You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the Lord." (Jeremiah 1)
So, it isn't just me!
Jeremiah had a tape of lies playing in his head too!
Alas, Sovereign Lord, I say in unison with Jeremiah, my brother!
And, God responds, "No!" "Don't say that!" ...don't you go agreeing with that lie! ...don't repeat that tape.
"I will be with you!"
To Joshua, He says, "Be strong and very courageous... I will be with you."
To Moses' "Who am I?", He says,"I will be with you!"
These men, my brothers. Me. You.
It takes courage, my friends. It takes God-given push... courage and bravery to rest and walk in the foundation of who He says I am. It takes courage to resist and shut the mouth of the liar that says 'I can't because of me'. Whether the lies come from without... or within.
...it takes the courage to believe and walk forward in the Truth that I can because of Him, because of who He says I am, because of who He has made me!