Write down for the coming generation what the Lord has done, so that people not yet born will praise him. (Ps. 102:18 GNT)
I’m always looking for ways to encourage people to tell the stories that matter most. As a writing instructor, I’ve often observed the need for others to tell their stories.
Passing along our faith and family stories helps us make sense of some of the crucial issues that we face in life. When Christians begin telling the stories that matter most, lives change and hearts heal.
But fear silences the voices of many Christians, preventing them from telling their stories. And if you’ve considered writing for publication for any length of time at all, you’ve probably faced the emotion of fear in your work. Many obstacles keep us from telling our stories—personal insecurities, writer’s block, or a variety of excuses.
Excuses. I can think of so many examples through the years when I just sat back and waited on someone else to do something that I knew I needed to do myself. And I can always come up with an excuse about why I can’t do something.
Before my own children became independent, I often reminded them, “Delayed obedience is disobedience.” I never wanted Adam and Tara to be afraid of me, but I knew delayed obedience might be dangerous and harmful at times. But even though my instructions were motivated out of my love and concern for them, they often resisted. Yet I persisted in my discipline. I prayed that they would learn obedience as children, so they would obey God and their God-given authorities as adults.
I even offer myself excuses now, when I don’t want to do something, like making my bed. What does it matter if my husband Dan does that? It’s his bed, too! And our unmade bed obviously bothers him more than it does me anyway.
But what about the things that God calls me to do? What kind of excuses do I use to attempt to justify my disobedience?
- That’s not my “gift.”
- I’m not trained to do that.
- What do I have to say?
- I’m not a “good” speaker (writer, teacher, blogger … whatever).
Insecurities. As I searched the Bible to try to find some answers to my problem of fear, I discovered that I was in good company.
In fact, when God called Moses to lead His people out of bondage, “ … Moses protested to God, ‘Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?’” (Ex. 3:11 NLT).
Moses knew that this assignment was way out of his area of expertise and experience. And Moses knew that he couldn’t do this impossible task in his own strength or with his limited wisdom. But his awareness of his own limitations proved to be one of Moses’ greatest leadership qualities. It forced him to become totally dependent upon God.
Do you think that God was shocked by Moses’ questions and concerns? I don’t.
Promises. In fact, God responded to Moses with the assurance of His presence, not His judgment. “God answered, ‘I will be with you’” (3:12).
I don’t believe that my questions surprise God, either. God still promises to always be with us today. “… And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mt. 28:20).
And He also promises to provide all that we need to do what He calls us to do.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished … ” (Phil. 1:6).
What’s keeping you from telling the stories that matter most to you?
YouTube/JoshWilsonVEVO (“I Refuse”)