There comes a time for all of us when we look around and feel totally unequipped for what we need to do next. I like to call it the classic “freak out moment”. You were doing good and feeling good, then you look up ahead and freak out, convinced you’re in over your head and can’t handle what will be required of you.
What do you do in your freak out moment? Do you allow all the worst case scenarios to play out in your mind and convince yourself of the ultimate defeat and failure ahead, rendering you incapable of what is required? Is that what you do? You back down? You cower? You give up? Then all you’re left to tell is the story of how it was too hard and too much for a girl like you?
Well maybe you don’t really know about a girl like you. Maybe you don’t really know what is possible. Maybe you don’t really know what could be if you made a different decision in your freak out moment. There is a different decision available for you here sister. But until you make that decision, you will never know just what could be on the other side of this moment of struggle.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost given up. Seriously, on a daily basis as I sit down to prepare for the next devotional to share, I have a little freak out moment. I hear the voice that tells me I’m not good enough. I hear the voice that tells me I can’t do this. That voice actually showed up for me 4 sentences ago and I almost hit delete. I almost surrendered to the struggle and let the negative voice defeat me. That voice was loud and proud this morning, maybe yours was too.
That voice also tells me I’m too sleepy, too busy, or some other barrage of hand crafted excuses that fit the feelings I have just perfectly. And here’s the thing, if I listen to the voices then I forfeit the reveal of what God had already made possible for me.
Honey, if you listen to the voices that tell you this is too hard for you and you’re not good enough for this, you will forfeit the reveal of what God has already made possible for you. Who are you to say you can’t do this … the spirit of God lives within you and his power is at work here. I’m pretty sure that is the only qualifying factor you need to prove actually, you can do this.
It’s funny how dreams look and feel a whole lot different when it comes time to actually step into them. You thought going back to school would be so rewarding, now here you are struggling your way through every darn class convinced you’re in way over your head.
You prayed for this position, you landed it, now you feel totally inadequate for the job, believing you don’t have what is required here. Now, you feel like a fraud. Chosen, but not qualified. Wishing you would have just stayed where you were because at least you knew you could do it.
All you ever wanted was to be a wife and mother. Uh oh, that doesn’t quite look the way you imagined does it? If you step back and listen to yourself for a moment you realize you’ve become that yelling, nagging crazy woman you swore you would never be. Dang it, you yell a lot. But you feel like no one listens unless you do. And this family of yours is just a whole other level of extreme needs and you were more so hoping for the less needy kind. You know, the husband who really gets you and the kids who are loving angels. You’re not so sure you can handle what you’ve got going on here at home.
We waited nearly a year after meeting our girls at a Mexican orphanage to actually bring them home. During that year I filled their closets with perfect clothes, painted their walls the perfect color of purple, collected barbies and baby dolls and placed them perfectly in baskets. Everything was set for the little princesses to come home and begin their new life where things would be perfect. You know where this story is going, right? We bring them home and they were unimpressed with the purple walls and barbies. Alexa only wanted to count her shoes and try each one on repeatedly, while Paola would run from the refrigerator to the pantry, taking an inventory of how long the food would last.
Day 2 comes and we have a full on meltdown while fixing hair. The language barrier was on full display as little Paola sits on the bathroom sink and starts screaming “deuce collitas!” I spring into Mommy mode, prepared for the moment of breakdown with the speech I had been rehearsing. “I’m your Mommy now. This is your home. It’s safe here. I won’t let anyone hurt you.” The screaming continues “deuce collitas” again and again. I hug her, she pushes me away. I start pointing to body parts asking if something hurts. “Does your tummy hurt? Are you hungry? Are you scared?”
No, still the screaming “deuce collitas!” Finally I call my neighbor who can speak Spanish and I explain we are having a meltdown and I don’t know what she is saying. She hears Paola screaming in the background, then says “Pamela, she wants 2 ponytails.”
Deuce collitas, two ponytails.
And now I freak out. I’m in over my head. I now have 2 children I can’t communicate with. I don’t know how to be a girl mom. I’m going to mess these children up. They should be in a home that speaks their language. I’m completely in over my head here and they’re not the sweet little princesses I imagined. In all honesty, I would have erased it all in that moment if I could have. I would have gone back and undone it.
I didn’t know what I was doing …. BUT GOD DID.
God continually calls us into deeper waters where we’re over our head. It’s out here where we come face to face with our inadequacies that we meet his complete adequacy. Who he is, is enough. What he can do is unlimited. And if he has called you out into deep waters where you feel you’re in over your head and having your freak out moment, that means you’re about to see what he can do here.
He made no mistake when he led you here. He wasn’t fooled into believing you’re someone you’re not. He knows exactly who you are. He knows your past. He knows your struggles. He knows your doubts and your fears. And maybe, just maybe he has brought you here to this moment where you’re freaking out, to show you exactly what he put within you.
Peter was on a boat in the middle of the night and sees Jesus come walking up on water. He boldly says “Jesus, tell me to come to you on the water.”
That’s like our moment of asking for the promotion. Praying for children. Signing up for college classes again. Deciding to move to a new city. Oh, it’s so exciting. God, make it happen! I’m ready!
But then, what happens? Jesus says yes, you’re stepping into that new position and it’s more drama than you bargained for … you’re now the mother of 3 little beasts who are never fully satisfied, always hungry but not hungry for what you serve, and fight nap time like the devil himself, and you’re locking yourself in the bathroom for a moment of peace … you’re the oldest student in the class and struggling hardcore with understanding what the heck you’re trying to learn … you’re in the new city and honestly, you hate it.
Jesus said yes, but now you’re sinking. This is your freak out moment. I take it back Jesus. I don’t want to be out here in the deep. Can we go back to the way it was before? Back where it was easier and more comfortable?
Isn’t that what happened to Peter? He was walking on water with Jesus, doing this super cool amazing thing, but then he freaked out.
Matthew 14: 30-31 “But when Peter saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
I wonder if Peter really had an invitation to walk on the water with Jesus the entire night? I wonder if Jesus had planned to take him to some great unknown destination? I wonder what other miraculous things Jesus was going to show Peter while walking on the water with him?
Just like I wonder what Jesus has for you beyond this difficulty you currently face. I wonder what power he wants to give you. I wonder what strength he has for you. I wonder what miracle he has waiting for you. Strength you didn’t know you had within you, courage you’ve never tapped into, talents yet to be discovered.
But there’s one thing that will stop you from experiencing it all … your doubt. It’s your freak out moment questioning if you’re good enough to actually do this. The doubt that tells you this is as far as you can go, so you back down, turn around, and quit.
God allows that. He would allow you to quit here. He would allow you to give up. He would allow you to go back to what you’ve always known and what you’ve always done. Just as he allowed Peter to get back in the boat and end his water walking adventures with Jesus, you could end this here. But what if you don’t … what if you dare to keep going? What if you dare to keep trusting God day by day where he is taking you deeper?
What if in your freak out moment you just stay focused on Jesus and keep moving with him?
No, you don’t know what the heck you’re doing here … but God does. Trust him. Don’t turn back.
Freak out moments are completely normal. But God has something for you here and the opportunity to take the next step is right in front of you. Go freaked out. Go scared. Go feeling inadequate and sinking. Jesus said to Peter “why did you doubt” and he’s asking you the same thing right now. Why are you doubting? Let’s keep going.