I didn’t realize it until I got home, but I needed to cry.
In his defense, God did try to warn me.
In my morning devotional (Jesus Calling)
the verse was out of Matthew 28
and when I went to biblegateway.com
to look it up…the very first thing I saw
was the reading for today: Matthew 28.
The specific verse in question?
The one where Jesus returns after his
crucifixion and say, “Do not be afraid.”
I wrote it on my wrist in dark ink so
it wouldn’t wash off so easily. I knew I would
need the reminder at some point today and I
wanted to be ready.
Who knew that I’d be tested so soon after?
I was supposed to present that training
to the assembled staff today. Last night,
I was so nervous that I called a co-worker
and asked if I could read part of it to him.
The potential to piss people off was high, yet I knew,
without doubt, that this was the message God wanted
me to deliver. But it’s for situations such as this
that they came up with the notion of “shooting
the messenger.” I was certain I would take some
When I walked out of the house it was still dark
so I didn’t see the spider web inasmuch as I felt it
cling to my face. (Do not be afraid). It wasn’t a cane
spider (they don’t make webs), so I persevered to my car.
That the passenger door didn’t immediately open
didn’t surprise me. It’s been doing that a lot lately.
I shrugged it off, got in my car, turned the key and… nothing.
Ok. First a weird shudder, the lights came on,
and THEN nothing. My brand new car wouldn’t
start the very morning I had a big presentation
to give at work. (Do not be afraid). It was 6:25.
I wasn’t scheduled to present until 9. (Breathe)
Car trouble has been known to activate my
Bipolar super powers.
“God, if you want me to give this presentation,
you’re gonna haveta start my car.”
It started, but the MIL light wouldn’t go off.
And even though I didn’t know what that was...
I didn’t think it safe to try to drive it
all the way upcountry on the winding road
and risk an immediate and untimely death
in a fiery car crash… so I drove to the dealer (unafraid)
I also called the only person I knew
for a fact would be going my way —
that staff member I’d had the conflict with
and had to confront earlier in the week.
I hadn’t seen her since our talk, so it seemed
like God wanted a follow up.
She gladly came to pick me up and we got a
chance to talk some more. She got me to work
with plenty of time to prepare for my talk.
As on Sunday, I cannot reconstruct exactly what I said.
Instead of notes hastily scrawled on my hand,
I had an outline and roughly stuck to it, but when
I’m in my element like that the words just come. Any fear
that I may have felt before getting up there vanished
when I started speaking because THAT is what God
made me to do. Bipolar Girl is so in her element speaking
to groups. And before anybody remarks on my total
lack of humility… It’s what I trained for
and false modesty stinks
just as much as obnoxious pride.
I killed it.
The audience that I feared might get hostile
was hanging on to my every word. I had them
interested and engaged for the entire 45 minutes
of my talk. And though it was a heavy topic
and I was essentially rebuking them, my God-given
humour kicked in and I had people laughing
and nodding in agreement.
The true test came when I sat down.
My hands weren’t shaking. I’d asked a friend to pray
that they wouldn’t and since it was clear that I hadn’t made
a room full of my colleagues hate me, there was no need
for nervous hand tremblings. I had said what God placed
on my heart to say and people heard me.
The response I got was overwhelming really.
The Big Boss wants me to go to Oahu and give my talk
to our sister site there. He also asked if I would be willing
to travel to our corporate headquarters on the mainland and give my talk.
One of my co-workers said that it was the best message that
he had heard in some time. The praise was as humbling
as it was effusive.
And that’s when I knew that I had passed the final test.
Before I knew Jesus I took all the credit for my speaking
and writing ability. It was all about me and all for me.
My head swelled with pride… the kind that made me think
that I was the queen of the world with no need for a King.
In my pride I fully rejected God in favor of following my own plan.
So I have always had a small, but ever present fear, that any kind
of success in writing or public speaking would go to my
head and cause me to forget about God as if he’d
handed off the baton to me and now it was my turn
to be in charge of my life again.
“Pride comes before destruction. A haughty spirit before a fall.”
When I fell, I fell hard and it hurt.
How to handle today??
Turns out people were talking about my presentation all day.
A guy who missed it came to see me in my classroom
and was gushing about how everybody was telling him
that he’d missed out on hearing me speak. He said one
staffer had tears in her eyes as she recounted how my talk
impacted her. Another staff member said that there was
something in what I said that would speak to everybody
in the room.
With that kind of praise…
how do you not get a head five sizes
You remember who gave you the gift
and then you get back to his business.
I put my notes away and got back to work.
I finished my day and my coworker drove me to the dealer
where I picked up my car. I went to Whole Foods and bought
dinner and then came home. I was watching the “Gilmore Girls”
reboot on Netflix when I started to cry. I hadn’t even realized
that I needed to cry, but there I was… crying after the best
professional day that I’ve ever had in my life.
God had called me to speak
the truth in love and then
He told me not to be afraid.
I stepped out in faith
using the gifts my God gave me…
and he let me toss in some humour
to do it… and I think I got to see
the beginnings of a wall
come crashing down.
I feel like God was telling me
that I no longer have to fear failure
or success. I just have to stay humble,
submitted, and obedient and He will
do all of the heavy lifting.
Personally, I think it’s lame when
people perform and, when complimented,
say, “Oh, it wasn’t me, it was God.”
No. It was you using the gifts God gave
you to His glory.
Say, “Thank you” and
stow the false modesty.
Since the response I got was SO
far removed from the one that I was
expecting… I see my success today
as answered prayer.
God did what he had intended to do.
That he decided to do it through me
was cherry, but I didn’t want it to go
to my head. And THAT’S why I cried.
The next thing I know I was in the kitchen
singing my lungs out to God praising him
Because there was so very much for which
I had to be thankful.
Today was February 17th
and God told me not to be afraid
and, for once, I wasn’t.