Competition among women can be a bit of a Decepticon. (Can you tell I'm an only girl and mom to boys? Transformer metaphors, roll out!) It can morph into so many different things, enticing us to play the one-up game, but what about when we refuse to play at all? Instead of rising up with an "Oh, yeah?!?! I can do that, too," we shrink back with a, "I can't do it like that, so I won't even try." Benched. Out of the game, on the sideline, watching everyone else do their thing.
I've been known to put myself on the bench a time or two. Upon embarking on a new possible God dream, I found myself defeated before I even started. In the name of "research," I had researched myself right out of any thought that I could possibly do what God might ask of me. Someone's already doing that. Someone's doing that better than me. I don't have what it takes. Why me? I shifted my focus from the burning bush of His Words to someone else's gifts and accomplishments piled on top of my own shortcomings.
Like Moses, Like Me
All this came to a pinnacle when I was reading about Moses in Exodus 1-5 and his deep insecurities and hesitations. I couldn't help but hear the Lord graciously point out some blaring similarities.... I had shifted my focus off of Him. I felt like I didn't have the skills necessary. Someone else did. In pride, I gave myself too much credit, to make it work, or cause it to fail. I doubted His sovereignty. I couldn't quite be convinced of His power and presence with me.
Unexpected Grace Response
So what does He say when we respond (or lack of response) to His call out of our comparison and insecurity? Here are 3 things that jumped out at me from Exodus 4. I AM says...
- What's in your hand? (vs 2)
- I will be with your weakness (vs 12)
- I will teach you (vs 12)
My favorite part about this is God's pointed grace response away from Moses' excuse. He begins to call out the God-esteem in Moses instead of building his self-esteem. There's no, "Oh no, Moses. You do have it all together. You're amazing. [pat pat]" God does not patronize us. When we come to him with excuses saying "I have this issue," or "They're better than me," He responds with "I AM. I will... in you." Instead of flattering us, He just points out His great power at work in us, both to will and do for His good pleasure.
Scaffolded into the Hall of Faith
I know we're giving Moses a hard time, but if we look at the whole shebang, he's a faith hero! By faith, he obeyed. Because he went for it, standing before a king who knew his dirty past, feeling unskilled in the very task at hand, He stands tall in the Hall of Faith (Hebrews 11). Throughout his story, he improves, even talking to Pharaoh himself at times. In teaching, we have this thing called scaffolding. As a teacher we offer just the right amount of support so that confidence is built until we gradually release the student to succeed. I'll do it for you , then we'll do it together, then you'll shine. God scaffolded Moses, giving him the support and help along the way. God scaffolds our dusty frame too, but in our case, it's not so we can be independent of Him. It's to foster greater dependency and trust in Him.
So clearly, God made it good in spite of Moses' issues. No doubt. But I wonder if Moses missed out on some things.... Yes, he experienced the Red Sea external kind of miracles, but I wonder if much of the miracle was surface deep. By allowing Aaron to speak for him, did he miss out on the miracle of God's approval in spite of his weakness? Did he miss out on the fullness of an internal healing miracle in his heart, his past, and his thinking. I don't know. While I want to link arms with people who are better than me, I don't want an Aaron to speak for me--a healthy FOMO (fear of missing out), if you will. Even if I'm shaky up to the proverbial mic, I want to feel the fullness of His Voice in my lungs--the liquid gold of His grace flowing through my imperfections. (To read more about His liquid gold and boasting in our weakness, check out Colette's blog here.)
God's Choice, My Choice
The truth is, there will always be someone better than me. God chooses me, and I choose to obey. That makes a destiny. Isn't that a grace breath to your winded striving? You can stop the contending, and rest in the truth that it was never about your gift and "what it takes," but more about to Whom you belong and His choosing of you. God simply asks us to offer what we have in our hands--gifts, talents, people, experiences--in full surrender, without selling ourselves short. Consider Moses. Could he have possibly sold himself short? As Colette pointed out to me in her glorious accent, "Here's a verse and a little food for thought..."
The World Needs You
Is there someone you have allowed to banish you to the bench? The world does not need another Beth Moore, another Joanna Gaines, or Serena Williams. The world needs you. Your gift. Holy Spirit ablaze in you. Christ in you, the hope of glory! God has uniquely designed a game and position for you to play in your very. own. game. In fact, I think we are all someone else's Beth Moore. Let's fully embrace our game, the talent in our hand, and the ones He's entrusted to us.
The bench was never designed to be a place to camp out. If you're resting, great. But don't forget that the bench is not your fortress. You were meant to be right in the middle of His action. And in the middle, we'll fix our eyes on our Great Example, Jesus Christ, who does not shrink back when other things continue to compete for our soul. He presses in and pursues us with His Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth. So if He presses in, let's follow suit after Him. Get up off that bench and play til you feel better!
Join the Conversation
I'd love to hear about the unique item God's put in your hands and your particular game to play. Remember, there is no such thing as empty hands and insignificant games. For example...
For me, my items are full heart and keyboard and my game is this blog.
How about you?