Sunday, March 28, 2010

Eliminating the Obstacle

When I walk into a crowded room, I see are people who are stronger than me, people who know more, speak articulately and look better, people who laugh freely with others, whose kids seem perfect, people who appear to have mastered the art of adulthood with style and grace. I take in the scene and feel like a little girl. How can a woman of my age still feel so small?

I read in God's Word I am to be a light. I am to go out into the world. I am to be His witness, His ambassador. I'm supposed to represent Christ to the masses. How am I supposed to do that when I feel so inadequate? What is my problem?!

I'm an introvert. Introverts possess many strengths including humility, thoughtfulness, good listening skills, an ability to access a situation accurately, but it is also easy as an introvert to step back, to guard myself. It's tempting to disengage from others and say nothing, making myself stoic and unapproachable.

If I let those weaknesses have their way with me, I am ineffective. My introverted ways are an obstacle to being what God has called me to be.

I can't be a writer if I'm afraid to say anything.

I can't lead Bible study by sitting in the corner soaking in the words of others.

I don't pass along the lessons God teaches by smiling politely and offering nothing.

I have to eliminate the obstacles, those things which cause me to cower from my responsibilities to God. I have to throw off that which hinders.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Hebrews 12:1
Victory doesn't happen overnight. It's a process. Over the years God has gently nudged me out of my comfort zone, teaching me to put aside my introverted tendencies. I keep the good that comes from them--the listening skills, the intuition, the empathy--and push aside the fear of sticking my neck out, the fear of exposing too much.

When I throw off my hindrances, Satan can't steal my confidence. He tries. He whispers in my ear all the time, "Why did you say that? You should have kept your big mouth shut. Who do you think you are? People aren't responding to you. You're better off letting someone else handle that."

But greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world. I must fight Satan. My weaknesses have accompanying strengths God expects me to use for His glory. How can I say no?

God's given us exactly what we need to accomplish His plans, yet Satan convinces us we are not capable. He either tempts us to ignore our gifts or leads us into sin, distracting us from the task at hand. We remain ineffective, carrying around guilt and a nagging sense we don't measure up. But it doesn't have to be this way.

We can fight. We can throw off that which hinders.

What is your obstacle? What's keeping you from running the race marked out for you?

I challenge you to identify it. Fight the fear. Use the power of the Holy Spirit within you to throw it off, to eliminate the obstacle. Be bold enough to be what God intended you to be. Just say no to that aggravating sinful habit. Step out of your comfort zone. Push yourself, trusting God to take you where He's called you. Ignore the flutters in your stomach, your pounding heart and do what God asks.

Throw off everything that hinders.

Eliminate the obstacle.

See what He makes in you.

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