Do one thing every day that scares you. That Eleanor Roosevelt was a wise lady. This quote kept ringing in my head on repeat over the past week. I was asked to speak at Chapters, the young adults gathering at my church. As you know, I'm a writer. I'm not a speaker. The idea scared me. Sharing my story one-on-one over coffee? Pouring out my heart on paper or in words on a screen? No problem. I love that. Speaking in front of a whole room of twentysomethings? Terrifying.
For when I am weak, then I am strong. Paul was a really wise man, too. A friend shared with me this week how meaningful this verse has been to her lately. Like she told me, we expect to read this verse and read "for when I am weak, He is strong." But in our weakness, then we are strong.
Sitting on a stool in front of a room of more young adults than I could count, I couldn't get these two lines out of my head. I had written my story out (seven typed pages of my thoughts and verses and quotes), I had rehearsed, I had called friends to run it by them so they could give me feedback...I was anxious and nervous. This isn't my cup of tea, this isn't my forte.
But when I am weak, I am strong. When I step out of my comfort zone into the places where He is calling me, He will make me brave. Even when my hands are shaking and my face is flushed and my stomach is churning, He can use my words.
Hannah Brencher tweeted yesterday, "If you don't think God can work in spite of how you're feeling then you aren't giving him nearly enough credit."
The talk I gave wasn't about me. It wasn't about my story or my experiences or my accomplishments. That talk was about sharing God's goodness, faithfulness and love. That talk was about sharing what I know to be true-- that God redeemed my brokenness, that Christ is our cornerstone, that life is better when lived together in authentic community.
Even though what I was feeling was nervousness and uncertainty, I knew God was still at work. In the twenty minutes I was speaking, I could feel that. I felt His peace and His presence. I knew that this thing that had seemed so scary to me was something that God was using to work in my heart.
We sing You make me brave. We sing You called me out beyond the shore into the waves and You make me brave. The shore, the solid land where I felt safe, would have been sitting in my chair at my table in the audience listening to a preacher share a talk-- confident with their words, comfortable on that stage. But He called me out beyond that shore into the waves. He called me to the place where I couldn't trust my own strength. He called me to step out in faith into an area of weakness, and in that, He made me brave. He made me strong.
I've said throughout every Story Seeker conversation and coffee date this summer that every single time I tell my testimony and my story, I feel God putting more of the broken pieces of my heart back together. I feel Him healing me more and more every time I put words to my story and speak them out loud.
When we keep things quiet, when we hide things away in dark places, those things become like monsters in our closet. We become afraid. These things start to have power over us. We live in fear that if we ever were to open that door, they surely would overtake us and attack us. But when we call these things by name, when we speak of them out in the open, when we tell others what these things are and how they've affected us, we find we have power over them. Light always overcomes darkness. When we shine a light on the things that have hurt us or changed us or broken us or tried us, it exposes what is true and overcomes what seems dark.
When we are weak, then we are strong. When we do the things that scare us, when we step beyond the shore into the waves, He makes us brave. He has overcome the world and He has made us conquerors.
You can find more Friday Freewrite posts here!