In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.
Valentines Day fell on a Sunday this year. How can you not use that to speak on love, relationships or marriage? As a pastor, you just can’t let that opportunity slide by and not take advantage! If you’ve ever attended a youth group in your life, or sent your kid, you know February is “love month,” as most churches discuss dating, love and sex with their teens. I sure have. (But I didn’t this year! I’m waiting for summer so I can use the “Summer Nights” song from Grease as my theme!).
Sunday, February 14th was my turn to preach at church, and though we were in a “First Things First” series, I called a time-out to take advantage of Valentines Day falling on a Sunday. How could I not?
I knew I was supposed to speak on marriage. That was pretty clear to me. As I studied and poured over notes and articles and Scripture, my specific direction in marriage was also made very clear. I spent hours researching, studying, prepping, reading and preparing my heart. I was super excited. But I was also super intimidated.
You see, I’ve only been married 3 years and 5 months. I’m preaching to people who’ve been married far longer than I have. Twice as long, ten times as long, even 15 times longer. At some point in my preparation, the thought creeped in: who am I to give marriage advice?
Now I know I’m called and anointed to preach. I know the Lord put something specific on my heart. Yet I struggled with this message on marriage. Over and over that thought played through my mind: who am I to speak on marriage to people married far longer than I?
I battled the doubt, confessed God’s Word and promises and continuously reminded myself that I’m called, anointed, appointed and qualified. I basically used every word there was to build myself up!
By Thursday I was feeling good. Howver, after going over my message out loud (I do this several times before I preach) on Friday, the doubt and insecurity had returned. I tried ignoring it. I even thought of giving a “disclaimer” before my message so people would take me seriously.
Come Saturday, the doubt was still present, but I continued to prep my heart like I would with any message. I was starting to feel more confidant, ready and able.
Sunday morning arrived, and I felt more nervous than ever. I literally texted a friend who I knew wouldn’t just say she was praying for me, she’d actually do it. It was my last ditch effort to build myself up in my most holy faith.
I walked onto the stage Sunday morning in fear and trepidation. This was crazy! God called me to preach His Word, yet here I was, anxious about it because of the topic. (And yes, of course it’s happened before!) I preached with confidence that Valentines Sunday morning, despite how I felt. I gave that sermon my all, though my head still wondered, what are people thinking? Can they even take this message seriously since it’s coming from little old 3 years and 5 months married me?
Despite my doubts and insecurities, I preached the message God gave me. This is what I have been called to do. This was what was put on my heart. This was what people needed to hear. So I did it. I moved forward in what God asked of me.
Ever been there? Doubts, fears, insecurities and uncertainty try to derail us on this journey called life. I encounter it; you encounter it; we all face it at some point. We can succumb, or we can move forward in faith and courage.
For me, it was preaching a message; at least this time around. What is it for you? Maybe it’s speaking up about your faith; praying for someone; sharing Biblical wisdom; venturing into a new work position or hobby. Whatever is it, we can be brave; we can step out; we can trust God’s leading. Because He’s a good Father Who is with us and for us and gives us strength.