The first time I spoke to a crowd of people was a terrifying experience in my life. I was a part of a homeschool conference. Being a part of the leadership team, we discussed many areas that needed oversight to ensure this convention would be a success.
I could have taken a behind the scenes role: registration, food prep, setting up rooms, greeting, and the like. I was comfortable with any one of those (minus the food prep). But God kept pulling on my heart to speak a hard and a hopeful message to parents about filling the hole in their homeschool.
It was going to be a strong word that would uproot, and possibly tear down idols in their teaching curriculum. It would be a word that destroyed and demolished well-laid plans. It would reorient their whole focus in rearing their children for God’s success, not man’s. It would also be a promise from God to build and plant; to help these parents know how to use their homeschool to raise children who loved God with all their heart, mind, and soul.
During prayer one morning and reading Jeremiah chapter one over and over, I felt the firm tug that speaking was God’s plan and to not do so would be disobedience to His call.
Did I wrestle with this calling? You bet I did! Right up to the point I gave my talk, I wanted to quit. I wanted to vomit (I may have, I can’t remember). I wanted to pull out of this commitment and pass the baton to someone else. But in all this wrestling, I promised God I would obey Him, even if I looked like a fool!
I gave the message. The minute I opened my mouth, all my nervousness beforehand was gone! (A miracle!) God infused me with peace, purpose, and power. I prepared for 30 parents to attend and ended up having 65. Assistants were frantically making extra copies of the handouts. Some people were standing in the back because there were no more chairs.
The fruit of this step of faith was not the many who attended or even the fact that I gave the talk, it was the testimonies afterward that helped me see that God indeed followed through with His plan to “uproot and tear down, to destroy and demolish, to build and to plant.”
The Holy Spirit filled my mouth that day with God’s words. My obedience to Him paved the way for His work to be accomplished in the heart of these parents.
God, first worked with me; He uprooted and tore down my fear. He destroyed and demolished my need to please people, and He built and planted trust in His will to be lived out in me.
This process of uprooting, tearing, destroying, demolishing and building and planting is necessary for our faith in God to be strong. Not only was this message being lived through me, but it was also living through the hearers in that room.
One man and his wife came to me and said, “We were planning this incredible academic year of learning for our kids, then we listened to you. We realized we made no room for Jesus and His word. We are now readjusting our plan to make sure He is first.” Countless others came to me after I spoke and shared similar stories.
I couldn’t help but wonder, “If I had disobeyed by doing nothing, could I have easily paved a different path for these families?” (For no decision is a path paved.)
What about you? Is there something God is calling you to do? Maybe you are afraid?
Is it painful to take that first step? I understand!
Note that there is a painful process but also a promise for you. We learn this from reading Jeremiah and God’s conversation:
“Then the Lord reached out His hand, touched my mouth, and told me: I have now filled your mouth with My words. See I have appointed you today over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and demolish, to build and plant. Then the word of the Lord came to me, asking, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I replied, “I see a branch of an almond tree.” The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I watch over My word to accomplish it” (Jeremiah 1:9-12).
What can we learn from Jeremiah’s story? How can we take our next step in trusting God’s will for our life? Consider these few:
- TRUST that God equips the called. We see that God provided for Jeremiah, hence, “I have now filled your mouth with My words.” Whatever your calling, God will give you all you need to do the job.
- FOLLOW the plan that God creates while depending on His power. Jeremiah obeyed. Did he wrestle with God’s plan? Oh yes! We read the struggle earlier in the passage: “But Jeremiah protested, ‘Oh no, Lord, God! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am only a youth.” Jeremiah saw only his ability when He needed to see God’s. God righted his focus: “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth,’ for you will go to everyone I send you to and speak whatever I tell you. Do not be afraid of anyone for I will be with you to deliver you.’” With every calling from God, He supplies the power to see it through.
- LEAN into God’s course of development. If we persevere through God’s curriculum of faith, we see fruit. While not comfortable, if we stay the course, we discover a liberty that we never knew possible. Fully surrendering to God’s course of development has taught me that all things are indeed possible with God!
- BELIEVE that God will never abandon His mission in you. He is with you every step of the way, never leaving, nor slumbering; He goes before you, conquering every obstacle that threatens His word.
Since that first time I spoke, God has given me ample opportunity to talk to groups of people. Have I been nervous? Oh yes! In a way, this nervousness keeps me reliant on His strength and power rather than mine. But each time I have stepped up in faith, I have seen God do more to grow me and others in our walk with Him. This, my friends, is the win!
“Now, get ready. Stand up and tell them everything that I command you. Do not be intimidated by them or I will cause you to cower before them. Today, I am the One who has made you a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls against the whole land – against kings of Judah its officials, its priests, and the population. They will fight against you but never prevail over you, since I AM WITH YOU TO RESCUE YOU” (Jeremiah 1:17-19).