There was a time when I thought God couldn't possibly use me. Between my rough childhood, my shameful past, and my miserable marriage, I could not imagine a less likely candidate.
My heart urged me to believe God, and to run with passion the race I sensed Him calling me toward. But at the same time, vestiges from my past would flash in my mind, or I'd react wrong because I wasn't completely healed (are any of us?), or a relational conflict would hit me, and then doubt would reign supreme. The conflict tore at me. One day I'd feel confident of my calling, the next day, I felt utterly disqualified.
But I failed to factor in four important things:
1. God's love and grace never fail. God’s love transforms us, and His grace qualifies and enables us to do what we could never do apart from Him. Even on days we get knocked down, God's love enables us and compels us to keep believing and His grace keeps us moving forward.
2. God's gifts and callings are irrevocable. God knew the hurts we would endure, the mistakes we would make. He knows our shortcomings. But His specific calling on our lives does not disintegrate the moment we fail, because His word assures us otherwise (see Romans 11:29). This does not give us license to sin, or excuse us from pursuing godly character. On the contrary, it should instill a desire to become more Christ-like.
3. He uses our scars. Romans 8:28 reminds us that God works all things out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Our unique hurts enable us to share God's comfort, truth, and healing to others who have experienced the same wounds. God never wastes our pain.
4. It's a process. None of us are perfect. None of us have arrived. And we all mess up. But as we make the choice to continue moving forward in God’s strength (see Ephesians 6:10)
we develop godly character, spiritual muscle, and perseverance.
Years ago I read a powerful, inspiring book called Eric Liddell: Something Greater Than Gold , about a gifted young Scotsman who trained to run in the 1924 Olympics. In my favorite chapter, Eric is running his event and on the final lap another runner knocks him down. Assuming he is disqualified from the race, Eric lies on the ground on the sidelines, anguished at the loss of his shot at an Olympic gold medal.
When he finally dares to look up, Eric sees his coach frantically motioning for him to get up and get back into the race. Stunned, Eric realizes he is not disqualified after all. Jumping up, he determines to run his best race, in spite of the lost time. The audience roars as Eric begins passing the other runners, and to everyone's surprise, he wins the gold.
My sweet sisters, the enemy would love for us to believe that we are disqualified and our race is over. But getting knocked down does not disqualify us. If we will dare to look up, our Ultimate Coach--Jesus-- is fervently cheering us on. He sees our efforts, He's encouraging us to stay in the race, and He cannot wait for us to cross the finish line. So brush yourself off, trust Him to fill you with His strength, and run your race.
Not in your own strength, for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you—energizing and creating in you the power and desire—both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. (Philippians 2:13)
The WINNER of a free, signed copy of my book, Prayers For a Woman’s Soul, is Hilda Quintanilla. Congratulations! Please email me your mailing address by May 28th.
I’d love to know about the race you are running—what you’re currently pressing towards. Leave me a comment and I will pray for you this week!