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 was calling me to believe God, 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 to a situation and feel ashamed, or a relational conflict would hit me, and then doubt would reign supreme. The constant doubt 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 never fails. It's His love in us that qualifies us, transforms us, and works in and through us. Even in our hardest moments, God's love lifts us, enables us and compels us to keep running.

2. God's gifts and callings are irrevocable. God knew the hurts I would endure and the mistakes I would make. He knows my shortcomings. But His specific calling on my life (and yours) does not disintegrate the moment we fail or doubt. 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 so we can pursue our race with confidence.

3. He uses our scars. Our past is not a bashing tool in the enemy's hand. Our unique experiences, coupled with God's healing power and grace, equip us to minister God's comfort, truth, and healing to others who have experienced the same wounds. God never wastes our pain.

4. It's a process. We are all in the process of becoming more like Jesus. As we press forward, it is wise to remember that God's not finished with us yet, and He will complete the good work He has begun in us.

Years ago I read a powerfully 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 when 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 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. Being knocked down does not disqualify us. We simply must choose to get back up and keep running our race.

"Let no one defraud you by acting as an umpire and declaring you unworthy
and disqualifying you for the prize..." Colossians 2:18

"I press on toward the goal to win the supreme and heavenly prize to which God
in Christ Jesus is calling us upward." Philippians 3:14

* * * * * * *

The winners of a signed copy Lynn Cowell's new book, His Revolutionary Love, are:

1. kmigs - no blog

Please e-mail me your snail-mail address so we can send your new book to you!


pinkdaisyjane said...

Thank you for this encouragement. Always need to hear this message.

Ann Wilds said...

What a wonderful message. The enemy would love to knock us down and keep us there. But if we rise back up, God will use our every pain for good.

Jill Beran said...

Julie, This is a wonderful post...feelings I've felt as well and reminders I need all too often!! Thankful you didn't just enjoy that story about Eric, but our living it as well!! Keep pressing on, the trophy we're striving for is way better than an Olympic medal!!! Blessings, Jill


Such practical truth, Julie. Thanks for the reminder.

I am cheering for you, too, friend.


achildoftheking said...

Fabulous wisdom. I really needed this today, Julie. Thank You, Lord!

Diane said...

A freind of mine feels he's disqualified because of something he did and now lives with shame. I am so mad that the devil took him out but am praying that he looks up and sees the race is not finished yet. Awesome post! :O)

Mining for Diamonds said...

Ahhh, Eric Liddel. "When I run, I feel His pleasure." One of my favorite movie quotes. Don't know if he really said that, though!

Great post! I feel disqualified myself more often than I let on. Insecurity seems like a constant companion sometimes. But it's good to know that God does not see us the same way we see ourselves!!

David Rupert said...

I carry a great deal of baggage that remind me of actions -- both real and imagined -- that disqualify me from being a good husband, good father and Christ-follower. So this post, especially, hit me and moved me.

Karen said...

Julie, I love your new blog! It's great! Good words for many, even if the past has not been as hard, Satan always attacks with those feelings. Thanks for that.

Congrats to the winners.

Cheryl Barker said...

So thankful He uses our scars and so good to remember that we are all in process. Wonderful message, Julie.

Love the new look of your blog! Your tag line shows me that our hearts' desires for our writing is very similar. God's continued blessings to you!

Caroline said...

This definitely resonates with me: "One day I'd feel confident of my calling, the next day, I felt utterly disqualified."

Really great (and needed) post, Julie. This topic has been on my heart often lately,

Journal Swag said...

Wonderful post.


Ann Kroeker said...

As a runner--er, jogger--I really appreciated the Eric Liddell story...a reminder to get up and run hard even when we're knocked to the ground and think all is lost.

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