God said, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you, Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.” --Jeremiah 1:4-10
We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, talented or fabulous?”
Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing
small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about
shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are
all meant to shine as children do. We were born to make manifest the
glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in
everyone. --Marianne Williamson
Sunday in worship, we heard read the words above from Jeremiah. They
are among the most personally meaningful verses to me in the whole of
the Bible. Perhaps like me you've found yourself in a situation in
which you feel completely and utterly inadequate. You just don't know
how to do what you are being asked to do. Or you don't think you can do
it. Sometimes we find ourselves in these positions because we sign-up
for something and then discover we are in way over our head. Other
times, we find ourselves thrust into a position (perhaps by God) when
we're being asked to do something or to speak or to act--and we are at
a loss about how to proceed.
This is a bit how I felt when I became a parent. Despite all the
preparation--parenting classes, books, the works--when the day finally
arrived and I actually was a parent, I found myself in new and
unfamiliar territory (and, as my kids grow older, I still frequently
do!). It took more than head knowledge for me to fulfill this new role
of parent. It took heart knowledge and intuition and trust that the God
who called me to parenthood would provide a way for me to live that
This may come as a surprise to some of you who join me in worship
most weeks, but I have never really viewed myself as a "preacher."
Getting up in front of people and speaking was way outside my comfort
zone. I would get terribly nervous--dry mouth and trembling hands. Now,
over time I've gotten a handle on it--mostly. But it was a bit rocky at
Which is why these words from Jeremiah are so meaningful to me.
They are a reminder that when I stand up to speak (whatever the
situation) and I am speaking from my most authentic self, God will
provide--words, if necessary, as well as the confidence I need. The
Bible in my office is always open to the first chapter of Jeremiah so
that, when I walk into our sanctuary to lead worship and preach, I can
read these empowering and confidence boosting words from God.
When you find yourself in a situation when you are called upon by
God to do something new or different or outside of your comfort zone,
remember Jeremiah. Recall God's promise "to be with you to deliver you."
Blessings on your week,
Prayer: Gracious God,
when I doubt my abilities and gifts, remind me of your empowering
Spirit that will guide and direct me. Amen.