April 30, 2010

Smooth Speech and Sun-Kissed

(I originally published this over a year ago, but it's a lesson that can be learned again. For me at least.)

A couple of days ago the Lord really opened my eyes and showed me how different I often view and judge people and circumstances from Him. He brought the story of Moses to mind and I couldn't help but relate with Moses on several different levels. Many of you are familiar with Moses' incredible successes, but his beginnings are sometimes overlooked. I don't want to start at the very beginning, but at the part where God tells Moses that He's chosen him to go before Pharaoh to demand for the release of His people. It picks up in Exodus 3. Stick with me here.

The Lord tells Moses that He is sending Him to Pharaoh to bring His people out of Egypt. Moses responds, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt" (vs. 11)? The Lord responds, "Certainly I will be with you" (vs. 12, emphasis mine). They have this sort of exchange a few more times - Moses keeps reminding the Lord that he's totally and completely unqualified and God keeps telling Him, I am with you, I will be with you. In other words, I'm not sending you anywhere that I am not already, and I will do it, you just be my instrument. Moses responds, "What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say? For they may say, 'The Lord has not appeared to you' " (4:1). Okay seriously, stick with me because we're getting to the crux of it.

The Lord went even further to prove to Moses that not only would He be with him, but that Moses would go with His power too. So He tells Moses to throw his staff on the ground, and what happened? It became a snake. And what did Moses do? He fled. He flew like the dickens. We're getting to know Moses' personality a little bit better. He's bleeding insecurity and unbelief, and even in face of God's power, he tucks tail and runs. He's an anxiety attack waiting for a good place to happen.

But here is where the story really struck me just a couple days ago. I tend to judge people by their outer charisma. Sure, I definitely consider their heart for the Lord, but ultimately I deem them worthy or not of notable Christian service by whether or not they could win a Mr/Miss Congeniality contest. Work with youth? Umm, I'm not quite sure that you're bubbly enough. Get the picture? Yeah, it's sick.

But this is exactly what Moses did too. Look a little bit later in the story. The Lord continues to perform miraculous signs to Moses, just Him and Moses. And you know what Moses says, "Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue" (4:10). The Lord responds, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord" (vs. 11)?

In other words, Moses was reminding God that he was the least qualified, that there had to be somebody better for the job that could at least compose a sentence without it dripping with insecurity and doubt. Maybe Aaron, Moses' brother? Surely he has smooth speech (vs. 14) and I know he's at least 6', and he's got that sun-kissed look, with wavy hair and commanding eyes, and I know he gets his teeth whitened, and he always has the best joke, and he's the best public speaker I've ever heard. I mean, women swoon and men punch his shoulder and crowd around him.

Okay, I'm exaggerating, but get the picture? Moses was trying to tell God that what He was really looking for was the most qualified, but God was looking for somebody who would be obedient and who would ultimately reflect all the glory back to Him. Because, let's face it, anybody who knew Moses before and saw what he did after was thinking, God, I know you did that, because I knew that guy and there ain't no way he could've done that by hisself.

We should be about whom God calls, not about our stringent guidelines for who makes the cut.

Remember that story in Judges 7 when the Lord reduces Gideon's army from 32,000 to 300? Why did He do that? "The Lord said to Gideon, 'The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into your hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, 'My own power has delivered me.' ' " (7:2, emphasis mine) I believe that we see all throughout Scripture that God chooses the least and the worst and the most unqualified so that everyone would know that His power and His might did it, not ours. And that's true today. We don't need the most charismatic Mr. Personality leader you've ever seen in your life. We need who God calls. Whether he be timid like Moses or bold like Aaron, as long as God has called him. Or her.

April 28, 2010

Under Construction

I'm looking to revamp my blog, make it a little more classy.

Not sure if the ice cream cone and muffin are pulling that off.

Anywho.

Bear (bare?) with me. No wait, don't "bare' with me. I know it's 2010. But still.

April 26, 2010

Insecure

It has been WAY too long since I've posted. And I'm not really sure why, because I've had lots of things to say. I think I've just been lazy about making myself sit down and write.

I'm reading So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore. In fact, I'm about to start a book study of it at our church. It's been super eye-opening to read.

I'm not an insecure person by nature, but I do have insecure moments.

An example that I was thinking about this morning is being a mom.

The first six weeks of Micah's life were the hardest I've ever experienced. And the first two were even harder. I literally thought at times that I couldn't do it. I was completely sleep deprived and I felt like I didn't know what I was doing. I was in a 60 foot pool and my floaties had deflated.

When my mom left after his first week, I was devastated. I felt like the one person who knew what they were doing had left!

Everything that I had heard from moms was running like a mantra through my head - "The moment I saw him, my heart exploded with love... Motherhood comes absolutely naturally... I never felt a tinge of depression or the postpartum blues... You get used to the lack of sleep... It gets easier... They're totally worth it... You won't be able to imagine life without them..."

But (and this is where insecurity took a foothold), all of those things weren't true for me! But I was so afraid that if I told somebody they would think I was a horrible mother! I was insecure in my new role and didn't want someone else to validate it.

My heart didn't explode with love the moment I saw him (although it since has millions of times). Motherhood didn't come completely naturally. I experienced intense postpartum baby blues, to the point where I thought I was going crazy. I was NOT getting used to the lack of sleep; the first two weeks it didn't feel like it was getting any easier (although it's exponentially easier now). To be brutally honest, I was so numb from the lack of sleep and emotionally crazed (or so it felt like) from the blues, that I very easily could remember life before him, and even missed it. Now, I can't imagine life without him; I miss him when I haven't seen him in 45 minutes.

But my love and affection for him had to grow, it didn't happen the moment he entered the world. But I didn't feel like I could talk to anyone about these things. I felt alone, and like everyone else had it together except for me.

Every night I pressed myself as close to Matt as I could, as if by doing so, I could transfer some of the pain.

Finally, on day 15 of my baby boy's life, I had lunch with a friend and she shared with me how hard the blues were for her and how it took several weeks to feel a connection to her son, and it was as if somebody had given me life-giving oxygen! I wasn't alone!

And literally, the next morning, the physical cloud and weight that I had carried around for two weeks had lifted. Completely lifted, and to this day I have not felt those burdened feelings.

We often hear the verse quoted, "The effective prayer of a righteous man avails much." But that's just the second part of the verse. The first part says, "Confess your sins to one another and pray for each other, that you may be healed." James 5:16

What I was experiencing wasn't sin, but I did need to stop shouldering it alone and let somebody in, because there's healing in community and transparency.

Beth Moore made the point in this book that we often have an immediate image of the insecure person: they're mousy, timid, weak, and fragile. But she said that that's just one spectrum of insecurity. Insecurity often shows itself by overcompensation. The perfectionist that seems to have it all together at all times and never has a moment of weakness actually is working extremely hard to project that image, because she's not secure enough to simply be herself, in all of her strengths and weaknesses.

There's a clear difference between the gentle, humble and quietly confident woman and the overbearing, proud, always-has-to-make-a-point-of-her-strengths woman. And we know it. And the one that we're drawn to is the former. And that's the one I want to be.