When I signed up to attend In(RL) my thinking was, being cluelessly called to women's ministry, that it would be helpful to get to know some ladies who've gone ahead of me. Rub shoulders a bit and maybe I could learn something from these women with more experience than I. God had other ideas.
Instead I crashed head-on into my fears and insecurities. Smacked me upside the head and sent me into a tailspin like I haven't experienced in years. Now, before I go further let me say that on the off-chance that any of the sweet ladies who attended In(RL) with me happen to read this, this has nothing to do with you! Everyone was warm and gracious and I'm so sorry I let my insecurities get the best of me. Again. Moving on.
I'm not going to get into all the nitty-gritty details of what made me this way. Let's just say that I do not remember a time in my life where I felt good enough. I have no traumatic experiences to pull out of my hat to explain my insecurities, no childhood abuse or devastating loss. Yet I have an inferiority complex like nobody's business and I've been rocking that thing since kindergarten. Yes, I remember feeling this way as early as kindergarten. I don't remember too much before that.
I'm going to stop right there and say, God is doing amazing things in my life. He has been present in ways I have never known before, even back when I spent a summer in missions and thought I could not feel closer to Him. He has been lifting me out of the muck and mire and showering me clean with his love. I am finally beginning to understand what it means to believe the Bible, to believe God.
But it's a process. Yesterday reminded me of that. I left the gathering shaken to the core from the full force of coming face to face with my fears. I realized God did not send me there to learn about women's ministry but to learn about me. We need to face our fears in order to kick them to the curb and more than likely they'll need to be kicked to the curb more than once.
It's a beautiful thing to hear the voice of God saying I am not that girl. There is freedom and joy and utter, absolute peace in feeling God's hand on my shoulder. That is what makes it possible for me to face the fear and insecurity and fight another day. It makes it possible for me to take that next step out of my comfort zone, and the next, and the next. It makes it possible for me to believe what God says about me. To believe God...what a beautiful thing.
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name;
you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep you away.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."