Last night, I received this text message from my best friend: “I am OFFICIALLY done being a student after 22 years.” I am EXTREMELY proud of her! 22 years of school beginning with kindergarten and all the way through to graduating with her bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing and Advertising Management. She has had several obstacles to overcome through the years ranging from more personal family matters to making poor choices as a high school senior, almost inhibiting her from graduating high school. She faced several job changes including being laid off and had even changed her mind about her career path early on in her college years. I am certain that any of those hurdles could have detoured anyone from continuing on their course. At age 28, she is officially a Portland State University graduate. If there were any that doubted she would make it, she has proven otherwise.
At first, I thought I would be writing to you today about daring to dream and bringing your dream to life. As is common practice when I have a subject I want to write about, I searched the topical index in my NIV Women’s Devotional Bible and looked for “finishing,” “achievement,” and “completion.” I gazed longer under the C’s and was pleasantly surprised to find “confidence.” On page #701, was a devotional that doesn’t talk about bringing your dream to life, but rather, trusting in the only One who can fulfill His calling through you:
Read: Psalm 71:1-24
“For You have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on You.” Psalm 71:5-6
Related Readings: Exodus 3:1-15; Joshua 1:1-9; Luke 1:26-38; 2 Corinthians 3:46; 2 Timothy 1:7-12
What do you rely on to give you confidence? Your skills, your degrees, your accomplishments? What about when you sense a call to do a task for which you feel unqualified? Have you ever found yourself wondering, “Who am I to ________ [lead this group, start this ministry, supervise these employees, organize this fundraiser, teach these children…]?” Have you ever thought, “You picked the wrong woman for this job, Lord”?
If we rely on ourselves we will not be qualified for that which God calls us. In fact, throughout Scripture we see that God often chose people who felt unqualified for the tasks God laid before them: Abraham, Sarah, Moses, David, Esther and Mary all felt unequal to the task. But if God can use a roaming Bedouin to birth a nation, a stuttering speaker to confront Egypt’s pharaoh, a shepherd boy to lead a nation, an exiled Jewish girl to rescue her people and a timid teenager to bear the Son of God, then God can use us! The critical question isn’t, “Can I do this?” The better question is, “Can God do this through me?” The answer is a resounding “Yes!”
When the psalmist asked God to be a refuge and rescuer in Psalm 71, he boldly proclaimed his dependence upon the Sovereign Lord. The psalmist knew that every breath he had taken had occurred because God had given it. Throughout his lifetime he had been dependent on God.
When we feel weak-kneed and lack confidence, we are most open to relying on God. The Bible gives us affirmation of God’s strength in the face of our limited ability: “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). “Nothing is too hard for [the Lord]” (Jeremiah 32:17). “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Nothing silences the voice of timidity as powerfully as the voice of Scripture.
So if you find yourself in a new situation today, make sure you don’t rely on your own limited talents or skills, but that you place your unshakable confidence in the limitless God.
1) On what or on who do you tend to rely when feeling out of your comfort zone?
2) Is there an area in your life in which God might be calling you to move out in faith? What fears do you have about that situation?
3) How does the psalmist’s reliance on God in Psalm 71 encourage you and renew your confidence in God’s ability to help you?
Emma is even amazed at her achievement and wonders how she got through 22 years of schooling. Well, with God’s help, she did. And I, too, have a vision that has been looming in my mind for the last five years and often wonder if it will come to pass. But I am reminded today that it’s “not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6). I hope that you receive this message and are encouraged!
Wherever you are, God bless you, precious friends!