I was reading some chapters in Isaiah and came across a handful of verses that spoke volumes to me. I wondered why I had not really noticed them before, but being that the She Speaks Conference is this week, I think God was just giving me a little extra fuel for the week. So I wanted to share it with you!
Six hundred women from all over the country, and typically a few other countries as well, will be traveling to Concord, NC, this week to attend She Speaks (and 200 sweet women are on the waiting list in the hopes of coming next year!)
Based on my own experience of the first time I attended the conference six years ago, I can imagine that every one of those women is beginning to feel overwhelmed with excitement, anticipation and wonder – but also, feeling burdened with insecurities, doubts and fears.
There are many women who are probably wondering why in the world they ever signed up for such a conference, and why did they ever think that God could use them in a special way.
There are women who are so stressed about what they are going to wear for their speaker presentations or publisher appointments, that they can hardly sleep at night, and every bodily flaw they have seems to be magnified in the mirror.
Some women may even be considering backing out at the last minute, as a result of the enemy filling their head with so many lies of discouragement and unworthiness.
And I dare say, that every one is experiencing a dose of spiritual warfare, which is causing so many hurdles to jump, that the spiritiual gusto for some to actually go to the conference may have waned.
Trust me – I know – been there, done that – on all of the above.
Thus the reason these verses spoke to my heart on this particular week. My memory was taken back to a place and time where I recalled my own fears and countless questions for why God was calling me to change direction in my life. And these fears creep into our hearts whether we are attending She Speaks, or whether we are just feeling called to step out in faith in big or small ways. Change is scary.
So today, lets focus on why we should keep pushing forward, when every rational thought that we have seems to be telling us to halt, back it on up, and stay in the safe zone.
Isaiah 45:3 says, “And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness—secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord,the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.”
Wow – God knows my name. He knows your name. In fact, He knows everyones name! It just felt good to be reminded that God knows my name. I am not just a face in the crowd to Him, but a person He knows, by name.
And He not only knows our name – He loves us, by name. Isaiah 46:4b says “…. I made you, and I will care for you.”
But the main verses I want you to tuck into your mind today are from Isaiah 45:4-6:
“And why have I called you for this work? Why did I call you by name when you did not know me? It is for the sake of Jacob my servant,Israel my chosen one. I am the Lord; there is no other God. I have equipped you for battle,though you don’t even know me,so all the world from east to west will know there is no other God. I am the Lord, and there is no other.”
Why does God call us to do something for His kingdom? Why does He call us to make sacrifices, to put aside our own agendas, to push through feelings of insecurities, to make changes in our lives? Why?
He called us, because we are His chosen ones. We are His Israel.
He called us, because after all, He equipped us for battle and wants us to use that gift for His glory. By virtue of loving us and knowing our names, He equips us to fight that battle for righteousness, in an world where intentional righteousness seems to be a thing of the past.
He called us, so that all the world from east to west would know that He is the only One true God. So that we could spread the Word that there is no other God but Him.
That is why He called us. Not because we have anything to offer that is better than someone else. Not because we are talented, gifted, attractive, skilled, experienced, educated, fashionable, etc.; and certainly not because He thought we were capable.
He calls us so that we will make Him known, through His strength and power, and nothing of our own doing. It is as simple as that – but oh, how we try to make that calling on our hearts so complicated at times.
We often wonder why God would call us to a task or a ministry or change in direction or decisions in life, that we feel completely inadequate for and maybe, that we might even disagree with. These types of thoughts are why the next verses hold such important truths.
Isaiah 45:9-10 “What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator.Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying,‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim,‘How clumsy can you be?’ How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father,‘Why was I born?’ or if it said to its mother,‘Why did you make me this way?’”
I chuckled when I read those verses, because those hypothetical questions seem ridiculous. A pot would never question its potter, or criticize how it was formed. A baby could not question its reason for existence, or wonder how it was formed.
In the same way, how laughable to wonder if maybe God made a mistake by calling us to serve Him in a certain way. How silly to consider the possibility that just maybe, God did not realize our feelings of doubt, our low self esteem, our past sin or experiences, or our inability to serve in ways that feel just a tad too transparent, or uncomfortable?
How ridiculous that we question God about His plans for us, or that we question whether or not He really calls us to serve Him in ways that will stretch our faith.
How ridiculous for us to wonder that if God put a dream or idea in our heart, that He would not equip us to carry it out in our life? But we all do it!
I have had those thoughts in the past, more than once I might add. I fully believe in Gods sovereignty, but I have at times wondered if God might have overlooked some of my flaws, when He called me into ministry, and thought to myself, “what was HE thinking?!
He was thinking, that we are the clay, He is the potter.
We are the child, He is the Father.
And when He calls us to take a leap of faith, to make His name known above all other names, He expects us to accept that He has spoken. In fact, Isaiah 45:13 says this in the last sentence in that verse, “I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”
Now who can argue with that?!
Friends, whatever God is calling you to do, I want to encourage you to keep pushing forward, and dont let those invisible enemies keep you spiritually or physically paralyzed. God doesnt expect perfection or performance, just prayer and perseverance.
I love this little acronym, which says P.U.S.H. –
So push past doubts, pray through insecurities, and watch God work – through you. And remember – God doesnt call those who are qualified, He qualifies those whom He calls.