I’m a gutsy girl, most of the time. I love a good challenge and even a dare, but the other day when I was on a conference call with friends, who are a safe space for me and for others, I held back. I had something to say and I didn’t.
The introvert in me won. I believed the conversation didn’t need my side-story and that my role was simply showing up for friends.
But later I began to really see my hesitation for what it was. All those things that drove me crazy about myself decades ago were less of a thing now. And, here’s why. I was hardwired a certain way by God to function and to fellowship with him and others.
I didn’t have a disorder because I was shy in certain settings; I had a decision to make. Do I feel the need to blend in with the crowd in a moment where God is asking me to stand out and step up?
My only question in those moments is this: Am I obedient even when it scares me? Is it fear-based hiding, or rather a moment where God is asking me to take a supportive role that I absolutely love?
Supporting is fine. Running and hiding, not so much. I’m working on it.
Here’s the truth. We can blend in and take a supportive, servant-hearted role and that is noble and a very big deal. And, we can lead and stretch beyond ourselves and depend on the Holy Spirit when we are fearful. It all depends on the circumstance and we can ask God to show us where we fit in a moment without limiting ourselves in the future to take on a different role.
When I began a study on Deborah for the series that I am doing in youth ministry I was convinced this message, and heroic story, was all about Deborah. The judge, the wise prophetess who spoke and people listening to her in a time women weren’t key leaders and valued. But, there was this one guy who stood out to me in a way that he hadn’t before when I have read about Deborah. As much as we all want to be the hero of our own stories, some of us are more timid and afraid of our own shadows.
Maybe it was abuse or insecurity that lead you to believe that you couldn’t be the powerhouse in your life and story. You felt safer being the sidekick in someone else’s story and be supportive and happy to remain in the shadows of another girl’s cape.
You thought you couldn’t be Super girl and Captain Awkward at the same time. But, I’m thinking we can be both, and together we get the privilege of taking turns and showing up for our people.
The enemy of our souls wants to rob us of our power to be the solution in our homes and world by telling us we are a problem. That we are too shy, too loud, or all over the map at times.
I spent a majority of my life thinking that something was wrong with me and it became a stronghold in my life because I believed it to be true. But, not anymore.
Before I get into the story of Deborah in Judges, I want to lay the groundwork by telling you the keys to her effectiveness.
- She had a spiritual commitment and walk with God.
- She demonstrates the possibilities for any woman/man who will allow the spirit to FILL & FORM their life.
- She is an example of a leader who shaped the world around her and made it better.
Judges 4:4-14New International Version (NIV)
4 Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading[a] Israel at that time. 5 She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided. 6 She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. 7 I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’”
8 Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”
- Barak’s hesitation to go to battle without Deborah showed his lack of trust in God. Because of this, his glory went to a woman, according to Deborah’s prophetic word. BUT, Barak is still mentioned as one of the heroes of the faith. (Hebrews 11:32)
32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning;[e] they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
Everything in Hebrews 11 points to this, God is a fan of using flawed people for his glory. They were not perfect people; they were obedient people.
We can still be afraid, but go forward in our lives with faith.
- Here is the truth about human nature, crazy is better in crowds. We find it easier to “do” something if we have someone by our sides doing the same exact thing. We often desire company when we want to be brave.
Barak made a choice to surround himself with someone with more faith than he had. You can call him weak if you want to, but I think in his fear he sought out wisdom and bravery from Deborah. He knew she was a woman with a direct line to God and he trusted that. She responded with this in verse 9:
9 “Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh.
*The Lord is not intimidated by the things that are coming against you.
He is bigger than your fear, foes, and the odds stacked against you.
I pray that your answer is bravery and obedience to the Lord, and whatever that may look like. Even when you are scared, surround yourself with strong, godly influences.
Even when you are leading others and feel like you are dragging them behind you, continue to lead the scared ones and don’t make light of them needing you to be strong for them. Just showing up looks like bravery to them, so celebrate that.
Certain things may scare you, that’s okay. But, I think you can still be the hero of your story and still be a helpful sidekick when your friends desperately need you to show up for them. But, whatever you do…don’t hide. Don’t wait until you are “less messy” to lead others or show up in life.
You really can be Super Girl and Captain Awkward and do awesome things for God.
So much love to you,