Recently I joined the Influence Network to get connected to other like minded women. I had been following them for a couple years but just finally decided to jump in. With joining you get to take one of their classes a month and so I signed up for one on creativity with Hayley from The Tiny Twig.
Here this girl is, a mom of four boys, running a clothing company, the Influence Network and working on co-authoring a book. She is doing the thing. She is pursuing her dreams. Our class was all about creativity and she left a lot of time to ask questions and so I asked her how she dealt with striving and what she did when she found herself comparing to other people around her. Her answer has really stuck out to me as she said she has to really "put her blinders on" and held her hands up to her eyes. That she had to stop looking around at all that others are doing, if that meant getting off social media for a while, so be it. She had to stop thinking of how she couldn't become what so and so was, or do what so and so was doing and be focused enough to listen to the Lord and obey Him.
I think we can all relate to this struggle. I know I can, I know I am. I so struggle with wanting to pursue passions and then wondering if I am too late in the game? Do I have what it takes to accomplish such tasks and I am joining a competition that I want no part in? Leaning into my own strengths, abilities or even knowledge or place of learning God has brought me to leaves me shaking in my boots. But this is just the thing, it has little to do with us when we are really wanting to do something for God right?
I was listening to a talk this morning where she said, "Nothing in me, everything in Him".
It's just the same as Peter walking on the water to Jesus, really. Think about it, Jesus tells him to come out to him and the guy just jumps out there on the water. He is doing really well but then I think the thought occors to him, "wait, what am I doing? I can't do this" and the sinking begins. Had he stayed focused on Jesus the whole time, maybe that wouldn't have happened. It was because of his self doubt that he began to sink. It was Jesus' power that was allowing him to walk on the water but it was he that had to take the steps.
That is us, that is me. We want to do something bold and faith making for the Lord. We might even get out of the boat and start trying to move towards his calling. But then, for me, for you, it could be looking around and seeing..."oh but she already does that, and so well." "There are so many people who already seem to be doing that, I won't bother." "What am I doing? Who do I think I am? Why would God want to use me in this? I certainly can't do this" and these are the things that bring us to doubt. To start second guessing that Jesus has ever called to us to "step out in faith" at all. Perhaps He says to us "why did you doubt?"
The truth is, we aren't brilliant enough, creative enough, savvy enough to do or be what God is calling us to. That is just the way He likes it. But, living by faith is not knowing how, but getting out there and trying anyways.
Did Peter have all the facts of how that water was going to hold up his weight before he tried?
Did he have assurance that because Jesus could do it that he could as well?
Sometimes we are waiting for God to prove it to us that we can do it, and He is waiting for us to try in faith. We call ourselves believers but maybe we should call ourselves proofers. Ha. Lest we have forgotten what faith is all about, it's being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. On top of that it is impossible to please God without faith.
I tend to want to wait for that sure feeling. This overwhelming confidence that this is actually going somewhere or God is for sure going to use it in some way. I want to be sure that I am not making a fool of myself or I will for sure not fail. But that is just not the way it will ever be. We can't know, we have to put our blinders on.
We get that saying "put our blinders on" from horses and their blinders, I assume. I looked up why horses wear blinders and here was this little anecdote...
"Some say that blinders were invented when a preacher had a wager with one of his friends. The preacher bet that his horse could walk up the stairs in his home, which the horse did with no problem at all. But, when he tried to coax the horse down again, it wouldn’t budge! So, the preacher covered the horses head and lead him down. He realized that covering all or part of the horse’s vision could encourage the horse to take chances it would not normally take."
This is what we must do as well. We have to stay focused on the Lord, block out some of our side vision. Whatever that means for you. If that is someone that you are having a hard time with, if that is watching other bloggers or friends that seem to be more successful or where you want to be. This could be with life dreams or goals, this could be with personal every day accomplishments, how you want to be as a wife, mother, friend, anything.
We are too consumed with what our friends (or even strangers) have done, how we will never measure up, so why bother at all? I doubt this is what God wants for us. He has an immeasurable supply of creativity, words, books, dances, paintings, photos, businesses, Bible studies, races, events, etc. As long as we are being faithful to who He has made us to be, know we are not trying to prove our worth or be someone else, resting in His grace and trusting His provision we can step in faith and take risks that we might not take if we didn't keep our eyes on Him.
What is He asking you to do? What is the dream in your heart? Is someone else already accomplishing or accomplished that and therefore feel like it's worthless or pointless? Do you feel compelled for a certain group of people, to a particular art form, to a work place or ministry? What makes you come alive and what is stopping you from stepping towards it?
I have always loved this quote by Theodore Roosevelt.
Let's be like Peter and jump out on the water. Not the ones that are paralyzed by the fear of failure, of competition, of losing or sinking. Let's please God by having faith that as we listen to Him and watch Him and wait on Him that He will sanctify our hearts, our callings, or gifts and we can step towards them with all our hearts.
, by Ashley Jackson