It seems that anytime I am about to start a new adventure or respond to a new opportunity, I go through the most debilitating warfare of feeling as if I am simply unable to do what is required of me; insecurities, doubt, and intimidation try to reign. There are times that I literally feel like running away but never quite sure where to go! I read a statement in some article years ago that went something like this, …wherever you go, there you are. So forget running away, your insecurities will be there when you arrive. The voices we hear when the enemy is trying to undermine our calling comes through loud and clear. We ‘all’ hear voices at one time or another. I hate that and I have to fight it off and persevere in the knowledge that it is God who calls and equips. “…I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry…” ( I Timothy 1:12)
Understanding the purpose behind this kind of warfare helps. The harassment of the enemy comes for one main reason…to keep you and I from impacting the people God has called us to influence; to neutralize that influence and to render us impotent. The enemy is not a bit threatened by our sermonizing or our oft quoted platitudes as long as we never step beyond that into ministry that plows the soil of people’s lives so that they may receive the seed of God’s word. It is His truth that transforms lives.
A vital aspect of influential ministry is the ability to take the shattered pieces of our lives and offer them as emblems of the staying power of God. I’ve probably said this before but indulge me. It is not our gifts that qualify us but rather our scars! Henri Nouwen addresses some necessary attributes for leaders of tomorrow in his little book, The Wounded Healer: “It is a painful fact indeed… how poorly prepared most Christian leaders prove to be when they are invited to be spiritual leaders in the true sense…They have become unfamiliar with, and even somewhat afraid of, the deep and significant movements of the spirit…The man who can articulate the movements of his inner life...is able to create space for Him whose heart is greater than his, whose eyes see more than his, and whose hands can heal more than his.”
What we have to offer to others ( and what the enemy wants to disrupt) is our ability to articulate with those who are afraid, the things we have seen, heard, touched, and overcome. We must be willing to put our own ‘tried’ faith at the disposal of those who need our help.
When the enemy comes and sits on our shoulder and shouts into our ears that ‘we are unable’…shake yourself, flick that demon off and show your scars!
I remember several years ago stopping by to see Mrs. Freda Lindsay, co-founder of Christ for the Nations. She was 95 years old at the time and we had become good friends through the years. She has always encouraged me and supported me in ministry…she liked it that I was loud enough for people to hear!
She said there were always people coming to see her lately ‘snapping pictures!’ However, she didn’t hesitate when I asked for another picture to be ‘snapped.’
She is a woman I greatly admire and respect because she has survived more than most of us will ever even face. I respect survivors. I trust people with scars.
Some life lessons I learned from Mrs. Lindsay:
-When you don’t feel good, don’t stay in your pajamas. Get up and get dressed; don’t let the devil know how you feel.
-When you are confronted with a battle, enter into warfare immediately. Many battles are lost in the first few minutes because we wait too long to engage and we allow the enemy to gain ground.
-Read what your critics say and then, ‘get over it.‘
-When some diabolical warfare attacks you don’t waste time trying to figure it out, just acknowledge that it is ‘pure devil.‘
-Don’t get caught up in every new thing that comes to the Body of Christ; maintain your foundation.
-To keep yourself from ever falling, read your bible through every year…three chapters a day and five on Sunday.
I told her many times that I want to be just like her when I grow up!
mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. (merriam/webster dictionary)
Courage…the strength that makes us move forward when our feet want to retreat. (susan bozarth)
Courage…the ability to face the unknown with tear-stained cheeks but head erect. (susan bozarth)
"Courage rises when the cause is greater than the circumstances." (winston churchill)
"Courage is not the absence of fear nor the guarantee there are no risks." (winston churchill)
"Life is expanded in proportion to courage." (unknown author)
"Courage is fear that has said its prayers." (unknown author)
"Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway." (John Wayne)
“Be strong and of good courage…” (joshua 1:6)
“Only be strong and very courageous…” (joshua 1:7)
“Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (joshua 1:9)
"Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened." (Billy Graham)
I just wanted to ‘encourage’ you to look upon yesterday as a victory, face today with faith and tomorrow with courage.
You may or may not need this book, but I guarantee you know someone who does. If misfortune in life is trying to destroy you or someone you know, I have wonderful news for you: this book will help you keep living.