Experiencing the freedom of intentionally adorning your mantle
Most recently I have been learning that, though I can never see it coming, there is an invisible barrier that I’ve allowed to stop me from intentionally walking in my full potential in God. It is not only a glass ceiling, but a glass box that hinders me from persevering as soon as I begin to gain purposeful momentum. God would place an idea in my heart for a play, a conference, or a new business venture and I would immediately become excited. High off of spiritual innovation and inspiration, I would watch the visions the Lord would show me and feel the fire of the Holy Spirit raging in my soul as a billowing hot furnace, showcasing God's anointed stamp of approval. But then, in an instant, once the vision was over and the flame returned to a flicker, I would find myself being overcome with either crippling doubt, gripping fear or even worse...a defeated apathy.
After the Lord gives you the vision for the business, the sermon, the book, the conference, the ministry- after He shows you the blueprint and allows His Spirit to confirm the validity of what you’ve seen- it is then time for you to put in the effort where your work is required. But for some reason, that is the moment where we often move the slowest (if we even move at all). I’m finding that -for me- there are three main reasons for my immobility;
- Fear- the easiest culprit to identify and the first tool that satan likes to use against us. The enemy knows that fear is crippling and can even become paralyzing. And whether the fear is of failing and being embarrassed or of succeeding and not being able to maintain it, the fear is debilitating all the same. Fear is the cement that grips our feet and causes us to sink into indecision and complacency. Fear is the natural response to change, a part of our Adamic nature that causes us to trust our instincts more than we trust the sovereignty of our Creator. Fear tells our members that it’s dangerous to move but faith must be the voice of wisdom that speaks the truth about how dangerous it is to stay stagnant.
And so I’m learning that God’s Golden Mend for the paralysis of fear is the Empowerment of Faith. Trusting that whatever plans, gifts or talents that God has placed in me will never fail, because God Himself never fails. His word never returns to Him void or unsuccessful (Isaiah 55:11) so that means that I will not return to Him void or unsuccessful unless I choose to. I am responsible for making sure that God receives His return on His investment in me...I am responsible because I am the only one that can hinder God’s plan for my life from coming to pass.
Toxic Inner Dialogue- This hindrance is even worse than the first because it usually has roots in childhood issues or deficiencies. For me, trauma after trauma and a limited amount of positive affirmation left me terribly unsure of myself and pessimistic about my future. I constantly wrestled with whether or not I was good enough, pretty enough, smart enough... enough enough. And in my teenage years and early twenties, my self-worth was almost non-existent. Though it was around that time that the Lord has made great strides in healing me and helping me to see the beauty in myself through His eyes, I still struggled internally with the way that I talked to myself and spoke of my own potential. Consequently, I became a perfectionist, requiring myself to operate at this overachieving level of productivity and berating myself if I didn’t adhere to my own unrealistic expectations. I beat myself up constantly and that makes it difficult for me to step up and do the big things that God is calling me to do. I worry that I will let myself--my biggest critic--down.
But I am learning, day by day, that God’s Golden Mend for the toxic self talk is emulating God’s nature towards me and mirroring His grace when I look in the mirror. God Himself, in the form of Jesus Christ, died brutally on the cross and rose again so that I might in the dispensation of grace. And if God Himself paid for my grace in His blood then who am I to be graceless to my own soul? Why hold myself in the bondage, withholding mercy, when it’s mercy and compassion that God Himself gives me new every morning (Lamentations 3:22). Additionally, if I can’t even give myself grace, how can I possibly show God’s grace to others? It is not God’s will for us hold ourselves in merciless mental bondage when His stripes were bore to heal the mind as well. There is freedom in grace. Freedom in knowing that even if I’m not perfect, I’m still worthy because God calls me so. It is okay to not get every little detail right, all of the time. It is okay to be forgetful at times. It is okay to make mistakes. All of these things are meant to be learned from and converted to future wisdom...not held over your head as a guillotine, swaying heavily as it gets closer and closer to the nape of your neck. That is how the anxiety of being a perfectionist feels. And I say no more.
- “That’s not my personality”- I shun away from doing things larger than my usual reference points because I convince myself that my personality type is an excuse not to do what God has equipped and assigned for me to do. I lie to myself and give myself permissions that will not hold up in God’s court of judgement because what He would never call me to do something that he hasn’t already written in my DNA. The only key needed to unlock what God has strategically placed in the swirls of my genetic code is His Spirit, an ear attentive to the sound of His voice and obedience to the directives that Voice speaks. God only gets the glory out of a thing when it’s only Him who could have done it. If I can only write well under the unction of the Holy Ghost, that's how God gets the glory. If I can only speak in front of large crowds when God heals my crippling social anxiety, that's how God gets the glory. And if God can take someone who gets panicky in crowds and desperately requires alone time to recharge, and use that person to preach the gospel to millions, hosting conferences and talk shows and authoring books and tackling ministry efforts that will resonate with soul even after hew life is spent...then that is how God gets the glory.
God’s Golden Mend here is this- I have to stop making excuses where God has already made supernatural provision. God doesn’t expect me to move mountains with my own strength because He knows that the weight and pressure of the act would be far too much for my mortal body to bear. There is much too much that God has placed in me. And though I may not be able to able to accomplish mighty and miraculous feats on my own...with God all things are possible