I’m not a big fan of being nervous. I usually mess stuff up when I’m nervous, make goofy mistakes & generally present myself poorly. I was on an important phone conversation earlier this week & I found myself getting nervous, stuttering, stumbling & sounding less than brainy
So what to do about being nervous? Here are a few helpful ideas:
*prepare ahead of time – usually my biggest downfall
*pray and ask God to give you peace
*stay focused on what’s immediate, not getting overwhelmed by what’s massive
*trust that God is bigger than your humanity & flaws – message out a mess, testimony from a test & redemption from rubble 🙂
I hate the word “fail” – it almost makes me have a visceral gagging reaction, borderline puking. Thankfully, if I take a minute to pause, evaluate and collect myself, I don’t puke. But if I’m not careful, I can easily throw things into the “failure” column and in a nanosecond find myself back to mental wrestling mat, almost down for the count. As God & I were talking about this whole failure thing this morning, I was reminded about how Jesus looked hanging on the cross, beat to a bloody pulp and possibly personifying the ultimate failure. He was betrayed by his friends, completely helpless, physcially obliterated and even yelling at God, “Why have You forsaken Me?!??”
Hanging on the cross, Jesus looked more like a failure than anything I’ve ever experienced & yet from God’s perspective, perhaps Jesus had never been more successful in His earthly existence, up to that point. Let’s be careful that we don’t frame failure in the context of defeat, permanent or hopeless. Jesus rose from the dead and living in our hearts, we have resurrection potential every day.
Be sure to pass this along to anyone you know who is struggling with seeming defeat or failure 🙂
“Eveybody likes you, Sarah!” That’s what my dad would always say when I’d come home from school, complaining that no one liked me. Now that I think about it, the truth is somewhere between the 2 extremes: everyone & no one. Rejection is tricky, but all of us have to manage it at various times & in varying degrees. Here are some thoughts that I hope you’ll find helpful:
rejection is universal: everyone gets rejected at some point (some of those points are linear, connecting the dots & some are hops & skips)
being rejected isn’t as important as what you do with it
is there a reason for you being rejected? Do you need to make some adjustments?
forgiveness redeems rejection & transforms it to something of great value (consider Joseph & his brothers who sold him into slavery in Genesis)
God never rejects you – you are accepted among the beloved – Eph 1:6
In Jesus’ life, His crucifixion (the ultimate rejection) came immediately on the heels of Palm Sunday
As a quick reminder, Jesus told a parable once about a fig tree that hadn’t produced fruit for 2 years. The owner of the orchard wanted to chop down the tree but the gardener asked the owner to give him 1 more year to do some intense work to get this tree to be fruitful. Part of the gardeners plan was to throw lots of fertilizer (also known as crap) around the roots of the tree.
In my mind, none of like fertilizer or crap. It’s smelly, gross, repulsive & thoroughly distasteful. Nevertheless, what is most repulsive to us can have the highest powerful of redemption in the right hands. In God’s hand, fertilizer is the stuff of resurrection. So perhaps there is such a thing as holy crap ,)
I read this morning about how king David in the Bible took a census at the end of his reign that was displeasing to God. The result of God’s displeasure with David was the death of 70,000 people. There was about to be more deaths but God stopped the carnage at the threshing floor of Araunah. David bought this threshing floor & it later became the place where the first permanent temple in Israel was built.
Our places of disastrous failure can be used by God for Their (Trinity) greatest dwelling place. In my mind, the key to redeeming the failures & shortcomings in our lives is through repenting & acknowledging our need for a greater inclusion of God’s presence into our lives. We need God in our decisions, daily living & throughout all of our lives 🙂
I recently made a lemon cake for one of my kid’s birthdays & it didn’t turn out well. Of course, some of the failure was my fault because I didn’t totally follow the directions (the cake didn’t come out of the pan very well). Thankfully, the flavor was ok, but I was still not very happy with the overall outcome – a cake mistake.
When I was thinking about mistakes, I was reading this morning about how God has fearfully & wonderfully made us. When I thought about this, it began to sink into my thinking about how God doesn’t bake or make mistakes. When God does work, His work work is done perfectly, without failures or flaws. Now I’m not saying that we don’t make mistakes but I am saying that we must understand that God has made us & we are not mistakes or failures. Thankfully, God redeems our mistakes but God did not make a mistake when God made you 🙂
One of movies that always makes me laugh is Miss Congeniality – there are some parts that are obviously cheesy & sketchy, but the whole tom-girl, secret agent competing in a beauty pageant plot makes me laugh ALOT!!!! And back in the Bible days, there was also a beauty pageant that had lots of drama, danger & suspense – the story of Esther.
Over the last few days I’ve been reading Esther & I’m always impressed with Mordecai, Esther’s surrogate parent. I admire his integrity, honor, courage & character in the face of great anger, animosity & even violent intent from Hamaan, the evil villain. But here’s what has caught my eye this time: despite Hamaan’s best efforts, Mordecai was given honor even at the expense of Hamaan’s position. There’s one point where Hamaan was conspiring to hang Mordecai & when he came to express his desire to the king, the king asked Hamaan’s opinion on how to best honor someone. After giving the king all of the ways that Hamaan wanted to be honored, the king told Hamaan to go out & implement Hamaan’s ideas with Mordecai. Hamaan wound up leading the horse that Mordecai rode on, crying out that Mordecai was an example of how the king honored those whom the king favored.
Don’t you know that Hamaan was more than humiliated by having to publicly honor Mordecai, whom he hated with murderous intent?!
So here’s my take away: maintain your integrity, grace & poise regardless of your enemies & God can take something very evil & dangerous & make it into a blessing in your life 🙂
Everyone has weak spots. Some of these would include: addictions, gossip, self-image, insecurity, arrogance, fear, relational challenges, finance management, etc. If you’re like me, we try to do different things to manage our weak spots – we try to educate ourselves out of them, we try to hide or accessorize our weak spots, we try to avoid situations where our weak spots would be harmful, sometimes we try to ignore these weak spots, etc.
When I think about Peter in the Bible, he definitely had his share of weak spots – I think probably his most glaring weakness was his mouth. He would often speak up & say stupid things. But with Peter, we also evidence of the power of redemption in relation to our weak spots. Here are some examples:
walking on the water – no one else in the boat spoke up asking to come to Jesus, but Peter with his big mouth & impulsive behavior was the only disciple to ever walk on water
confessing Jesus to be the Christ – Peter was the 1st disciple to take this plunge & step out to declare the reality of who Jesus is. “You are the Christ”
Day of Pentecost – Peter was the disciple who did the outrageous sermon at Pentecost when approximately 3,000 people became followers of Jesus
So here’s my encouragement: give Jesus your weak spots & trust that He will redeem them to be used by Him in many powerful ways!