Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve started a project that I feel completely unqualified to do. What is this project you ask? You’re reading it. Yep, it’s this blog. A few weeks ago I launched this puppy after months of getting it ready for that exact moment. That ultra scary instant when something pretty personal becomes very public.
I’m just now finding a minute to add another post because it’s been a little nutty around the Dahl household. I haven’t been able to do this sooner primarily because that crazy thing called the “summer transition” just happened. You know, that wacky three to four week time frame in May when your kids are finishing up school and your comfortable structured routine gets thrown on its head. Just looking at my Google calendar this past month makes my eyes cross. If I squint, it looks a lot like a colony of ants marching across it from all of the appointments, school concerts, and dance recitals that needed to be squeezed in before that last ding of the bell and my kids were released into the wild.
Needless to say, uninterrupted moments of quiet reflection have been in short supply in my world lately. But the more I kept thinking about my inability to whip out another post in a blink, the more I realized it wasn’t just because I was so busy. It was because I didn’t feel qualified.
With that little act of pressing “share” a few weeks ago, I stepped into the world of blogging. That big, daunting, scary world of information exchange. As soon as my #blogger was out there, I started getting likes from all kinds of other bloggers. This was fun at first because I enjoy seeing other people’s creative expressions and reading their stories and insights. But then I started careening down that slippery slope of, “Oh crap. Who am I to contribute to this world of perfect selfies, and fabulous recipes proven to make the reader a gourmet cook from the three random ingredients left in their pantry?” That is SO not me.
I am completely NOT qualified. I do not have extensive knowledge about clip-in hair extensions, where to invest your money to be the next Warren Buffett, or how to grow prize winning tomatoes next to your perfectly manicured herb garden. Nope. Definitely not this girl. And once again, that little voice of fear and self-doubt started to speak a tad bit louder. But thankfully, when I start toddering on that ledge and am just about ready to throw myself over, God always shows up with an outstretched hand and a loving “side-eye” that says, “Com’ on you goofball. Let me share something with you.”
What always comes next is His simple reminder that it’s not my job to be “qualified” for the task He wants me to do. All He asks is that I show up to work.
I remember a specific time when I was going through my cancer treatments a few years ago that He vividly demonstrated this point. Writing became a way to cope and process the emotions that I was experiencing while going through the trenches of my yuck. During that time I noticed how I would periodically get a gentle prompting from the Holy Spirit to write about something specific and then post it to my Facebook page.
Many times I wouldn’t feel like writing, but the urging was always very strong. Even then, I procrastinated putting the pen to paper, but when I finally did I often had no idea how to start. It was as though my mind was blank except for those couple of words or a topic that I felt I was supposed to write about. One specific time, I was sitting on the porch, very frustrated, with the empty screen of my ipad staring back at me. I started having this conversation with God….
Me: “God, I’ve got nothing. My mind is mush.”
Me: “Hello? Anyone there? Don’t you see me struggling down here?”
Me: (getting a bit annoyed at this point) “Yep. Still here, and nothing’s coming out. How am I supposed to write about what YOU told me to write about if you don’t give me some help here?”
Me: “Really? I can’t do this. I’m out.”
God: “Just start writing.”
Me: “Wait, what?”
God: “Just start writing.”
And that was it. Three quiet words I felt in my heart, “Just start writing.” So without much content to back it up, I simply did just that. What started as a few, (very labored), sentences of rambling began to take shape and the words started to flow with unexpected ease. After I finished, I read what came out and was amazed at what had developed in spite of my brain feeling completely void of anything worthwhile to say. The lesson I learned in this moment was HUGE.
God doesn’t call the EQUIPPED. He EQUIPS the called.
To be “equipped” means to “supply with the necessary items for a particular purpose” or “prepare (someone) mentally for a particular situation or task.” In that moment on my porch feeling like I didn’t have anything to say, God filled in the blanks. In my weakness and in my limited abilities, He equipped me with the words to write that post. That particular post got more comments and positive feedback than any other post I had written up until that point. And more importantly, many of the comments I received from the readers were ones letting me know how those words had helped them. That is what truly matters.
If you look at the Bible, there are so many stories about men and women that God called to a specific purpose that were not “qualified” for the job He laid out before them. Take a gander at Moses. God specifically called Moses to speak to Pharaoh, the most powerful ruler of the time, and to tell him to let the Israelite slaves go from captivity.
Moses was currently living a quiet and peaceful life as a shepherd minding his own business in the hills of Midian. And then God dropped a bomb of a plan on him through a burning bush and Moses pretty much freaked out. His mind went immediately to his inadequacies and perceived inability to do the job set before him. Speak to a ruler? And not only speak, but be confident, eloquent, and persuasive? Hold the phone! Moses even tells God, (in my words) “God, did you forget I have a speech impediment, and I spend my days with sheep? I am definitely not qualified!”
But God reassures Moses that He would be with him and provide all that he needed to carry out His plan. Oh, and did I mention that Moses had lived as a prince in Egypt for 40 years prior to becoming a shepherd? God already knew that these experiences, connections and basic knowledge of the Egyptian culture would help Moses be successful.
And because of all the weaknesses Moses had, God got all the glory! Trust me, He’s pretty smart. If He only called the equipped (the ones who had it all together and can seemingly do it all on their own) then there would be a messy grey area of who gets the credit.
Are you feeling “called” to do something big that you feel completely unqualified for? Or maybe it’s something seemingly small like praying with someone who is hurting. Perhaps you’ve never done that before, and you don’t think you’ll have the words to say, or the eloquent syntax you think is necessary for a “successful” prayer. Stop right there. You don’t need to worry about that part! God only wants you to show up to work! He will equip you with the tools or words that you need to fulfill His purposes.
My favorite part about all of this is that it takes the pressure off of you! You don’t have to perform and rock your dog and pony show. Just come to the table with what you’ve got and give the rest over to the Master Creator who will breathe His life into it.
One of my favorite Bible verses is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I love the Message translation that puts it this way, “Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” Yes! Insert clapping emoji here! Whatever ability, experience, or knowledge that you have, whether it be a lot or a little; wherever you are in your life or whatever your circumstances, God will help you through anything!
So please, please remember. God EQUIPS THE CALLED!
Now when I start having freak-out moments about my many weaknesses and inabilities, (which happens daily) I am learning to come to God with an entirely different attitude. Now when He prompts me to do something that feels totally out of my comfort zone I simply agree to show up for work. The rest is up to Him.
I can confidently say, “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING!” So don’t expect brilliant blogging dialogue regarding which iPhone is the best or how to fry bacon without creating a grease apocalypse on your stove. What you can expect is a chick who will be willing to share what’s on her heart and who is desperately praying that God will make it what He wants it to be.