We received the shocking news via a text on my son’s phone, “Osama is dead.”
The attacks of 9/11 began a battle that is intense and ongoing. We had always had enemies, but that one day has changed everything. We’re now constantly vigilant for an enemy that hates us, operates undercover and wants to keep us off-balance and afraid.
Taking those first steps into my calling as a speaker began a similar battle in my spiritual life. These years of growing into the vision that God planted have been the most intense personal struggle that I’ve ever experienced. As I work with my Next Step Speaker Services clients, I’m finding that there’s a truly a war being waged against women called to speak His Word. Here are a couple of things to remember as you fight:
1. We have to recognize that war has been declared. I often think back to the terrible days before my first She Speaks. Signing up for the conference had been a tremendous leap of faith and a tentative step toward whispering, “I’m a speaker.” In the weeks before the conference, I faced a growing fear, and I made a huge mistake. I didn’t recognize the enemy. The thoughts of “What am I doing? I’m going to get there and be embarassed. Everyone is going to be better than me. They’re going to tell me that I’m not cut out for this. Who am I to think that I can do this?” ran through my head and pierced my heart unchecked. By the time I walked into Embassy Suites, I was completely sleep deprived, exhausted and physically sick. (Note: Within 5 minutes of walking into the conference, I realized that I had made a serious error. It was the most nurturing, encouraging place that I could have imagined. My dream was treat with tenderness and respect. I was affirmed beyond my imagination!)
Everyone deals with the voice that whispers, “You have nothing to teach your audience. You’re too simple, too boring, too, too, too.” “Who do you think you are anyway?” “It’s all been said and you have nothing to add.”
Just don’t forget that it’s the Enemy. You’re in a battle. It’s not just your own thoughts. Satan would love to intimidate you into sitting down and shutting up. That’s his plan. Recognize Satan for who he is–the father of lies, the one who has come to steal, kill and destroy, the challenger of our God’s authority and hater of His people.
2. We have to armor up and stand. I almost folded before that first She Speaks, because I missed out on using the protection that’s been given to me. Ephesians 6: 10-14 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”
We have an enemy that hates us, operates undercover and wants to keep us off-balance and afraid, but God has given us armor for the fight so that we can stand. He’s also given us His presence for comfort, encouragment and direction. Let’s appropriate those gifts instead of dying as we try to fight in our own strength.
You’re not alone in this battle, sister. I want you to know that not only is it normal to struggle with negativity, discouragement and doubt but it’s part of the deal. We don’t have to wallow there, though, when we reconize the enemy for who he is and fight.
Next week I’m going to announce a new service for those of you headed to She Speaks. My desire is to help you fight the pre-conference battle and give you encouragement so that you can go in ready to experience everything God has for you there!