I used to work in a small sandwich shop near campus right after Peter and I got married. I still had a few years of college left (I was only twenty!) and he was working full time at a church in the next town over.
I loved that job. I learned how to run a cash register, how to fill the pop machine, how to make chicken salad, and how to lock up at the end of the day. I was always striking up interesting conversations and I was given unlimited access to all the yummy baked goods in the glass case.
But there was this one little thing. I couldn’t keep all the specialty coffees straight in my head. Latte? Cappuccino? Americano? It was all just a jumbled mess to me.
So I did what any smart, capable college student would do: I always made a mocha.
I KNOW. It’s so embarrassing.
No matter what the drink order was, I’d steam the milk, add some chocolate and pour it together with coffee. Then I’d cross my fingers, hoping the loads of whipped cream on top would cover a multitude of sins.
There’s a real temptation to let fear rule our thoughts and our actions. Instead of doing what God is calling us to, we shrink back, unsure our ourselves and our surroundings.
I didn’t memorize how to make all of the coffees because I was so afraid of getting it wrong, so I didn’t do it at all. And yes, I know it makes absolutely no sense. But isn’t that how we live life sometimes? Afraid the end product isn’t going to be satisfactory, we give up before we even start. We start to believe the lies before we even give God a chance to whisper to us who we really are. We get tricked into thinking we surely aren’t capable and we certainly aren’t willing to risk our comfortable lives.
What would happen if we quit believing the lies?
I was a junior in high school when I felt God was calling me into a life of ministry. I heard His voice in a bilingual church service in Mexico. Eagerly I went to the front of the church. College applications had been pouring in, leaving me frustrated at my lack of direction. But that night, He whispered to me and I was ready to obey.
There were so many of us at the altar that night and I struggled to find a spot to kneel. The pastors and leaders were going from person to person, surrounding and praying for each one. I kept waiting for my turn, to feel the hands on my back and the confirmation that what I had heard God speak to my heart was true.
But it never happened. Somehow I was skipped over.
The prayer time ended and everyone returned to their seats.
I was left feeling so much confusion and doubt. Why had I been left out? Had I heard God wrong? Was I trying to hear something that He was not saying?
And that’s how I ended up at the little sandwich shop, too afraid to make anything but mochas, too afraid to do what God was calling me to do.
I’d gotten stuck believing the lies that I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t creative enough, wasn’t capable enough.
But you are the ones chosen by God,
chosen for the high calling of priestly work,
chosen to be a holy people,
God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him,
to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—
from nothing to something,
from rejected to accepted.
1 Peter 2:9-10 (The Message)
We place far too much energy focusing on the dark instead of the light. We too easily see what we are not, completely missing the marvelous truth of who we ARE. Chosen by God, belonging to God, fully capable to do what He has called us to do, even when the world tells us otherwise. The voice who whispers, “What right do you have to be here?” is not the voice we should be listening to. The difference is night and day.
I don’t need any human permission to live the life I am being called to live. Instead, Jesus invites us to be who He created us to be— something special, something extra, something beyond our wildest dreams. At first I missed it and I wasted a lot of time believing the lies. I’m so thankful for a God who doesn’t give up, who pursues us and calls us back to Him. The more we listen for His voice, the more we hear Him, the more we live in the glorious freedom of doing what we were created to do.
May you today refuse to shrink back. May you find the courage to stand up to the whispered lies. May you feel your soul humming and stirring— awakening to the invitation of Jesus. He calls you from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. May you quit living afraid of getting it wrong and instead live wildly this one live you’ve been given.