As I sit to begin writing, I feel a familiar feeling beginning to wash over me. You know the one? The one that starts in the pit of your belly, feeling like a thousand butterflies have taken up residence in your chest, that spreads, numbing your legs and leaving you feeling slightly nauseous. Some call it fear. Some call it anxiety. I call it overwhelming and incredibly annoying!
Ever since I was a little girl, my parents used to read to me two passages from the bible: Psalm 139: 13 – 14 (“For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made”); and Jeremiah 29:11 (“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”). It is well engrained that God created me, and he created me for a purpose. But I don’t think I can honestly say I’ve actively sought to “release the potential”. Fear has prevented me from following the quiet, gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit, and I’ve just shoved the thoughts in a small box with a tight lid. But like most things that are shoved away, eventually they burst back out again making a bigger scene than before.
So, following on from a few conversations, I am stepping out of the safe background, into the light of being seen, in order to be obedient to what I believe God is asking me to do. And it terrifies me. But, it’s all about baby steps, right. And there are only 3 steps I believe need to be taken on the journey to releasing potential:
- Stepping in to the unknown: the unknown is always a little bit terrifying because, well, it’s the unknown. It requires a letting go of control, and leaves you feeling vulnerable and exposed. You could either be on the right path and be successful in your endeavours…or you could massively (and publicly) fail. However, 2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God never gave you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love and self-control”. This verse gives me comfort because it reminds me that the Holy Spirit is with me. Fear is not something I have been given by God, and therefore is not something I should be owning, nor should it be stopping me from being who I was created to be.
We are also reminded in Proverbs 3:5 – 6 that we should “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, submit to him and he will make your paths straight”. Whilst I might not know what lays ahead, nor whether I am even on the right path, God does. I need to let go of the control and trust in Him, and the path ahead of me will become clear.
- Stepping out of my comfort zone: It’s nice in our comfort zone. It’s familiar. It’s safe. We know what might happen and how it might affect us. As a fully-fledged introvert, flying under the radar is a warm and safe place for me to be. But I don’t really believe that is where I am supposed to be. Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”. We are called to “do good works”, to do, not to sit, or to hide. To Do. God has already prepared the way for us, he knows what we need. Sure, we’re not promised it will be a comfortable ride, but it won’t be lonely, because he is with us. Philippians 4:13 reminds us that “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength”.
- Stepping through the doubt: the self-doubt, the questioning of “am I enough” – am I good enough, and I qualified enough, those feelings are so loud whenever something new is about to begin. The joy is the bible specifically tells us that we have been given gifts by God and we should use them. God promises to go with us, and we already know he has prepared the way. In Romans 12:6 -7 we’re told that “we have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is in prophesy, then prophesy in accordance with your faith. If it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach…”
1 Peter 4:10 – 11 says “Each of you should use whatever gifts you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms…If anyone serves, the should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised…”.
So the question of “am I qualified” is answered in these passages with a big, fat massive YES! You are qualified by the very nature that God has given you a gift. We can hone our gifts, and grow them simply by using them. Otherwise, they end up stuffed back in the cupboard along with the random Christmas jumper your nanna knitted for you!
After all that, am I still terrified to do what I know I should? Yes. But much like a diver standing at the top of a reeeeallly high diving board, I just need to take a deep breath and let myself fall forward.
Maybe I was meant to write blogs. Maybe I wasn’t. But if I want to find out exactly who God created me to be, then I’ve got to push some doors (or post some thoughts!). I’ll never get there if I sit still.