Photo by Jenna Machum, sourced from CreationSwap.com.
I was shocked when God used me last week.
Last week’s post was, in my opinion, not that great. I wasn’t entirely sure what I didn’t like about it, but it annoyed me that I couldn’t find a theme verse to talk about what I’d learned that week.
Still, I wrote down what I’d learned and shot it off to cyberspace, praying for the best. Then I went away for the weekend.
During my weekend, some terrific stuff happened. I’m involved with a group called Project X, and we do youth outreaches in outback towns. The next event is happening in Roma in September, so we headed out there to do some groundwork.
The whole weekend was full of prayer, and for the first time in a good long while I felt like my presence mattered. Usually at things like this, I think, “If I wasn’t here, someone else could easily replace me. What I’m doing isn’t very vital to God’s kingdom.” My mission trip to India in 2012 was another example. It wasn’t till the end of the trip, when a few teammates told me specific ways I’d helped them, that I realized I brought something to the table.
But this weekend, I felt like God was saying, “You’re right, anybody could do this. I can give anyone the ability to do anything; it’s all from Me anyway. What’s important is that you are here. You have been obedient. And that pleases Me.”
It’s an entirely different thought process, and one I’m loving so far.
During the weekend we also discussed the role of the church and effectiveness in serving God. Those are all issues that have bothered me. I usually feel very ineffective in anything I do with God.
This is how the thought process worked: Yeah, I do some God-stuff, but none of it ever seems to work. I was a youth leader, but some of those kids backslid. We saw heaps of conversions in India, but that was probably all the hype of the event. My church is growing, but I’m only a tiny part of that. And I write a blog, but how much of an effect can a blog post really have on someone?
This sound silly to you yet? For the first time, it does to me too.
When I got home I saw my blog stats for the weekend. I try to not put too much stock in statistics (though I check them every day, so maybe I’m not doing so great at that …) but when I checked them this time I was floored. They were way higher than usual!
And even better than that, was the feedback that started popping up. A Facebook comment here, a Tumblr share there, and a really encouraging email from a lady I haven’t seen in years. They all had a similar theme:
This helped me. Thanks for your honesty. Don’t let discouragement get you down!
To every person who commented, shared or visited this blog, thanks. It was a big encouragement.
It all sparked a new thought: Maybe God CAN use my writing.
That was the first time I realized that I didn’t believe God could. The doubt had always been far more subtle than a conscious thought.
I write because I like it, and God has given me the gift, so I figure He wants me to use it. But a piece of doubt has been lodged in my brain all this time, telling me that writing is just something I enjoy, nothing more. It has no real value to God. After all, how much can a blog or a book really pull someone closer to God?
After getting such a boost of encouragement last week, I thought to myself, Maybe my decision to write isn’t just a selfish thing. Maybe God can use it, and He wants me to invest this time and effort into it. Maybe He has a plan to use it, whether it’s in a big or a small way.
Had you asked me last week if God wanted me to write, I would have said yes. But the doubt, wedged in my brain, would have poked me and whispered, “Selfish. Ineffective. Waste of time and money.”
And while I never would’ve thought those words consciously, I’d have felt their cold shadow pass over my soul.
But what does that doubt say about God? Do I really not believe that He’s powerful enough to use my writing? Last week was a great example that He can use whatever He wants. I wasn’t even happy with that post I wrote, yet it’s attracted the most encouraging response of anything I’ve done so far. It’s obviously not my mind-blowing genius accomplishing anything here. No, it’s God saying, “I can use the strong and the weak. The good blog posts and the not-as-good-as-you-wanted-it-to-be ones.”
This week’s been a big one. I have a whole attitude to change. I’m going to outline it, so that I can recall it easily next week when I begin to forget.
- Who am I to question where God asks me to work? As long as I’m obedient, it doesn’t matter if I’m not converting the millions of people I expected to be. I am working where God placed me. I cannot do any better than that.
- It doesn’t matter if I’m replaceable, or quiet, or freakishly brilliant, or anything. What matters is that I go where God says. I participate. Again, I’m obedient.
- Doubt can be so very, very subtle. And so very, very hurtful. Please God, keep showing me these splinters of doubt and tweezing all of them out!
But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice?
Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.”
1 Samuel 15:22 NLT
“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.”
2 John 1:6 NIV