Two days ago I attended the Rebelution conference in Portland, Oregon and thoroughly enjoyed it, was challenged by it and encouraged by it. I met Elaini, a young woman doing hard things for orphans in India (check out her blog here) and that was a true blessing. I also was able to speak to Brett Harris for a couple of minutes and just thank him for what they are doing and that was also quite nice. (Check out the Rebelution here)
I loved how very humble Alex and Brett are. They both know that everything that they have achieved has been through God’s provision and strength. They know that they are not super heroes and that each and that all “teens” are capable, through God’s power, to do just what they have done. This was so encouraging.
Something that really stuck with me was what they said about not letting ourselves get weighed down, stuck, by worry. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by what the future does, or doesn’t, hold and I find myself worrying almost constantly about one thing or another. What they said really helped to put things in perspective. It’s quite easy, especially as an almost-senior, to get caught up in asking questions such as, “What does God want me to be doing right now?” “How can I best be serving my family?” “Who am I going to marry?” “Who should I spend my time with?” or even simple things such as, “What should I say to this person?” and that’s not the point. God has everything under control and I have no right to doubt His power. Instead of asking questions like those that I just listed I should be asking, “am I serving Jesus Christ with all of my heart, soul, strength and might?” and, “Am I loving my neighbor as myself?” That really struck me and challenged me.
In just a few days I am (Lord willing) going to be speaking to about 180 people about Hope 2 Others, a ministry for the homeless that I’m involved in. I’ve spoken to more people than that about H2O before, but I didn’t have as much time to prepare as I have this time and I’ve had a lot of time to get nervous about it. I’ve been worrying about every single thing that could possibly (or couldn’t possibly) happen and it hasn’t been helping me, it has been paralyzing me, and I’ve been letting it do so.
When Alex Harris started talking about fear and worrying right away my mind went to this speaking engagement. Fear is something that I struggle with hugely, and I hate it. Nervousness, fear, insecurity, anxiety, whatever you want to call it, I know it quite well.
This past week God has been telling me in so many, many different ways that I have no need, and no right, really, to fear. I opened my Bible and few days ago and it fell open to Psalm 77 which, by the way, is a new favorite of mine. This psalm was written by Asaph who was struggling and suffering greatly when he wrote it. He felt that God had deserted him. Instead of giving in to these doubts, instead of worrying about the future, instead of having a private pity party for himself he praised the Lord. He remembered the many times when God had delivered His people and this knowledge was Asaph’s comfort.
I do not have one single legitimate reason to be nervous about this speaking engagement. I’ve told you about some of the many times when God has spoken through me, through my failures and helped me through them at past speech tournaments and speaking engagements (read about them here, here, here and here) and I didn’t even tell you the half of it. God has delivered me, spoken through me, and worked miracles through my weaknesses over and over and over and over and He has never failed me. I have every reason in the world to trust Him and not one single reason to worry.
On the ride home from the conference I read Psalm 127 and the first two verses popped out at me in a way that they never have before.
"Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.”
I can do nothing on my own. If I were to be speaking on my own I would have every reason to fear and worry. Honestly, if I were to be speaking on my own I would almost definitely throw up or pass out. But I don’t have to speak on my own, I have the King of heaven and earth on my side and I have no reason to fear.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
~2 Timothy 1:7
“Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”
~1 Peter 3:13-17
Over and out,