Why did I have such a distinct conviction that God didn’t approve of my change? Well, because He didn’t. And, it wasn’t because those who were saying I was proud were wrong. Truth is, I was proud and I needed to change. They were right in correcting me and teaching me. Too many people were saying the same thing. They couldn’t all be wrong, while I was the only one right. So, I set out to change. But, I went about it in the wrong way.
‘I told myself every time someone would tell me that I was proud, or something similar, I would use that opportunity to rebuke myself. I would break myself down.’
And, that’s exactly what I did. I broke myself down and did it so well, I couldn’t put myself back together again afterwards. Soon, thoughts like, ‘I don’t deserve this’, ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘Who am I?’ and many other similar thoughts were natural to me. I didn’t believe in myself anymore. Of course, those thoughts were not from God. And, because of such thoughts, I lost more opportunities than I can count – opportunities to do what God called me to do, save those around me, beginning with myself.
God gave me an opportunity to preach His Word, and all the while I told myself that I didn’t deserve that opportunity. There were other Women of God better suited than me, who had more experience than I did, and so, because I failed to believe in Him and in myself, God took that opportunity away. Many others went down the drain in a similar way. I lost friendships that would have added to my life, because I told myself, she deserves a better friend than me. Who am I to be her friend? What could I possibly add in her life? I’m not good enough. I hesitated to speak to women around me in the church, because I thought, I have nothing to give to them. Let others who know better help them. God gave me an opportunity to be part of a Women’s programme, and all the while I kept thinking, someone better should be here in my place. I don’t speak well enough, I’m not good enough. These are but a few examples of the many opportunities I let slip out of my hands. Yet, every so often I would pray, ‘God use my life.’ How ironic!
For you to imagine how little I believed in myself, when we were given opportunity in church to hold hands with the people next to us and to pray for them and bless them, I’d believe without any shadow of a doubt that God was using their prayer to bless me, but I would have trouble believing that He would accept my prayer on their behalf. ‘I mean,’ I would think to myself, ‘I am full of so many mistakes. Why would God use me to bless anyone?’ That’s how little I thought of myself. That’s how much I broke myself down.
To be honest, it pains me to admit this to you. It pains me to open myself up this way and admit my vulnerability. It pains me that now you know how much I used to struggle with my confidence. I want nothing more than to hide this and keep it to myself. I want nothing more than for this to remain in my little corner of the world, in the privacy of my own thoughts. But, I couldn’t lose yet another opportunity to reach out and save a soul. Even as I write this, the very demeaning thoughts come to my mind. ‘Who are you to think you can help anyone? What makes you think anyone is going to read this? Who cares what you have to say?’ But, being the work in progress I am, I now refuse to be dominated by these thoughts. Instead, they revolt me. Instead, I rebuke them. Instead, I am now dominated by the Word of my Lord:
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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD…" (Jeremiah 29:11-14).
Any thought that comes to break you down doesn’t come from God. He plans to prosper you. He plans not to harm you. He plans to multiply you and give you a future. He plans to listen to and answer your prayers. He plans to be found by you, not to keep you at a distance. These are the thoughts that now carry me. Let these be the thoughts that carry you! You may not have much to believe in yourself. But, believe in the One who chose you. He knows you; nothing about you is hidden from Him. Yet He still chose you. Allow Him to fulfil His plans through you!