When I was a little girl I was painfully shy. I learned to overcome that as I got older, because otherwise I wouldn’t have had many friends. I even taught myself to act “outgoing” and friendly. Because relationships with other people are the most important part of living this life. So I trained myself not to be shy anymore.
But even now, I’m still an introvert. People still scare me. I have conversations with a lot of people every single day, and it exhausts me. I worry about not knowing what to say. I worry about being likable. I worry about offending or annoying people. I worry that people will ask me to do something for them, and maybe it’s something I don’t want to do. I often think it would be a whole lot easier if I just lived way out in the woods with my little family, away from everyone else.
God created me for His glory. Which means He wants others to see Him living in me. He wants me to reflect His love and His character. So that others will want to know Him too. If I lived way out in the woods there wouldn’t be anyone to see Him living in me. I wouldn’t be able to do what He calls us to do, which is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) And so, I keep facing all the people. Every day.
And it’s so rewarding. Don’t get me wrong. I love all of you. The people I have in my life are such a blessing. I love to be your friend. I love to be your Bible study leader, preschool teacher, Sunday school teacher, worship team member, fellow parent at my kids’ school, etc. The greatest joys in my life are all of you people. But you still scare me.
This past week wore me out a little bit. Leading a women’s Bible study at church requires a lot of courage and a need for wisdom. I also went to court with a friend to testify on her behalf in a custody trial. And all of this took so much courage. And made me so tired. And so one morning, as I was reading my Bible, I just felt overwhelmed. I started to pray and tell God I felt so worn out. And so scared of all these people. I got on my knees and cried while I was talking to Him. I prayed, “This feels like too much for me. These people scare me. I’m just a little girl out in a big world.”
I immediately felt God telling me, “You’re not a little girl. You’re a warrior.”
I suddenly remembered one of my favorite passages in the Bible. The armor of God. I used to read it every single day to protect myself from temptation and attacks from the enemy. By doing that, I eventually memorized it.
“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. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
God reminded me that He equips me to face the battles of this life. And He calls me again and again to have courage. The best book I have ever read is called Anything by Jennie Allen.
That book changed my faith and my life more than any other, besides the Bible itself. Jennie writes about surrendering our lives to our God, who wants us to recklessly and courageously follow Him at all costs. “…God can use me to recklessly save, recklessly heal, recklessly love. Father Kaj Munk put it so clearly: ‘What therefore, is our task today? Should I answer Faith, hope, and love? That sounds beautiful. But I would say- courage. No, even that is not challenging enough to be the whole truth. Our task today is recklessness.’ …We give our lives to him and he gives our lives away. Nothing on earth is more fun and more full than being distributed by an all-knowing, compassionate God who knows exactly where our ridiculously blessed lives would be best spent.”
I don’t want to do what’s easy, which would be to avoid people, or hide in the woods. I want to serve God recklessly, with courage.
One of my favorite parts of The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy is when Eowyn dresses in armor to go to battle with the men. None of her fellow soldiers realize a woman is going to fight in battle right beside them. She is beautiful and also fearsome and courageous.
She takes Merry the Hobbit on her horse with her, and as they are about to race into battle against the gruesome, evil army of orcs, she whispers, “Courage, Merry. Courage for our friends.” And they charge ahead, all of them knowing that they might die, but knowing they are fighting evil, and that it’s worth dying for. Man, that scene gets me every time! I often think of myself as being like her, fighting a battle for Jesus Christ, a battle to save the hearts of people who don’t know Him. And it’s worth risking everything for.
When God whispered to my heart, “You’re not a little girl. You’re a warrior,” I thought of the armor of God that He equips me with, and I thought of Eowyn. I want to be beautiful and also fearsome and courageous. So I will continue to face people. I will continue to stand in front of people and feel exposed as I lead a Bible study or sing on the worship team at church. I will continue to pour my heart into this blog, leaving myself vulnerable to criticism. Because I am fighting to draw others closer to Jesus. It’s a battle worth dying for. And I will cling to the words God spoke to me: “You’re a warrior.”
My friend, God is calling you to be the same. Fight for Him. Give Him your life and just see what He will do with it. It’s the most beautiful journey you will ever be on. And it takes much courage. But that’s expected.