I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Friend to Friend
It was my first large speaking engagement back in the ‘90s. Why I said yes was beyond me. I had never stood up in front of more than a handful of women at my Bible study or our church’s women’s retreat. Even then, I didn’t have to use a microphone. And now, five hundred expectant women were going to be staring me in the face. To top it all off, the theme was Unshakable Confidence in Christ. Laughable.
Two weeks before the event, I attended a luncheon where my mentor, Mary Marshall Young, was going to be sharing a short devotion. It was in a very prestigious part of town that I did not frequent. One of those gatherings where the women’s purses and shoes matched . . . I mean made out of the same material. I was so uncomfortable as I slid onto my toile-covered chair and placed my Walmart purse under the table. And where was Mary Marshall anyway? I wondered. Oh, my word, she waved at me from another table across the room and left me to swim in the mermaid-infested waters alone.
The other ladies at the table all knew each other and began bantering back and forth. One just about swooned as she said, “What did you think about the speaker at our church’s last women’s event? Wasn’t he wonderful?”
“Oh, yes,” her friend replied. “He was so powerfully anointed! One of the best speakers I have ever heard. What a testimony!”
“I cried all the way through his story,” another chimed in. “Oh, how God worked mightily in his family.”
“And then Pastor invited him to speak on Sunday morning! I don’t think we’ll ever have a speaker as good as that one again.”
They went on-and-on describing this amazing man of God with words like anointed, formidable, dynamic, electric, and articulate.
“Where do you ladies attend church?” I asked, trying to contribute to the conversation.
When they answered, my little tea sandwich lodged in my throat and my heart flip-flopped in my chest. This was the same church where I was booked to speak in two weeks! To these same women!
I never mentioned to the ladies that I was going to be the speaker for their next women’s night out, because at that moment, I wasn’t so sure I would be. I have no idea what Mary Marshal said in her devotion. All I wanted to do was grab my Walmart purse and escape the scene.
Lickety-split, I power-walked to my car as fast as I could without looking like I was running. With my face set like flint, I drove over to that church. All the while, Satan was whispering in my ear. “Who do you think you are, going to speak at that church? Did you hear the caliber of people they bring in? That man came all the way from across the country. You are just coming from across town. What could you possibly have to say to these women that would make any difference. If I were you, I’d bow out now before you embarrass yourself.”
And you know what? Even though I knew it was the devil, I believed him. After all, what he was saying made a lot more sense than the “My New Identity in Christ” list posted on my refrigerator door.
“Excuse me,” I asked the church receptionist. “I’d like to purchase a tape of the speaker you had for your last women’s event.”
“Oh sure, honey. He was really great.”
“Yes, I heard.”
“Here you go,” she said. “That will be five dollars.”
I went out to the car, popped the tape in the console, pressed play, and braced myself for an hour of power.
I heard nothing.
Pressed fast forward. Pressed play. There was nothing.
Flipped the tape over. Pressed play. There was nothing.
Pressed fast forward on side two. Pressed play. There was nothing.
The tape was blank.
Then God began speaking to my heart.
Sharon, you do not need to hear what my servant said to these people two weeks ago. The tape is blank because I do not want you to compare yourself to anyone else. It doesn’t matter what he said. I gave him a message. I will give you a message. I can speak through a prophet, I can speak through a fisherman, and I can speak through a donkey.
Who are you “performing” for, my child, them or Me? Do not compare yourself to anyone. You are my child and I am asking you to speak to an audience of One.
I didn’t bother getting my money back for the defective tape. It was exactly what I needed to hear.
So next time Satan taunted me with the words, “Who do you think you are?” here was my reply:
I am the bride of Christ.
I am a co-heir with Christ.
I am a chosen, holy, dearly loved child of God.
I am more than a conqueror through Christ.
I am a temple of God. His Spirit lives in me.
I am blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies.
I have the power of the Holy Spirit in me and working through me to do all things God has called me to do.
And who are you?
Today, if the devil dares to tell you that you are not enough, simply remind him of who you are and who he is…a defeated toothless lion that all growl.
Heavenly Father, sometimes I listen to the devil. I know I shouldn’t, but when he tells me I’m not good enough, my heart wavers. Help me to defeat the devil’s lies with Your truth. Help me to live bold and believe that I am who You say that I am.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Look up the following verses and note how Gideon reacted when God called to a mighty task. Judges 6:11-23
What did the angel call Gideon?
How did Gideon see himself?
What does God call you?
How do you see yourself?
Who is right?
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