When I was in high school, I tried out for the track team. Unfortunately, I was much faster and more agile in my mind than I was in real life. After acing the relay race and the long distance run, I thought I had a chance to garner that coveted position on the Forrest High School running team. However, my dreams were dashed when the coach put something that looked like a saw horse about every fifteen feet apart right in the middle of the track.
I wasn’t completely ignorant. I knew what they were – obstacles I had to hurdle if I wanted to be on the team. But I also knew my pint-sized legs didn’t measure up to the 33 inch high jump.
The path of a leading lady is chock-full of hurdles. Some test our strength, some test our endurance and others test our character. In today’s post, we’ll look at some very real and common obstacles each of us must hurdle if we’re going to be the leading ladies God has called us to be.
Feeling Inadequate – Hurdles, by their very nature, often make us feel like we don’t measure up. I remember when the Lord led me to organize a women’s ministry event. I had every thing organized, but when it came to the details of decorating and developing a menu I was totally ill-equipped. A domestic diva, I am not. I realize there are times when I’m not capable of accomplishing what others do so easily and it often makes me feel “less than.” Like I don’t measure up.
God often calls us to accomplish that which is far beyond our own abilities. If our hurdles were only ankle high, we wouldn’t see His hand so clearly lifting us beyond them. We wouldn’t see the need to strengthen certain areas of our lives in preparation for God’s call. Yes, we are all inadequate. But admitting it and wallowing it are two entirely different things. Admitting it is a catalyst to call on God’s intervention; wallowing in it is an incentive to make excuses.
If you feel inadequate, that’s good. But Christ has given us precious promises of victory over ourselves. We are “hyper-nikes” – more than conquerors (Rom 8:28). He has promised that we can do all things through Him (Phil 4:13). So, while you may always feel inadequate, know that you are uniquely made and distintly called for such a time as this…for such an event as this…for such a calling as this. Our inadequacy only validates His strength at work in us. “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Cor 12:9
Fear – Someone recently commented on my life as a missionary. I couldn’t help but laugh when she said, “You must be brave.” I am far from brave, I’m really just an adventurous sissy. I love missions but I hate to fly. I love to speak, but hate to be in front of people. I love to write, but hate the idea that others will critique it. The list goes on and on. Some people are just naturally brave and then there’s the rest of us. Some people fear failure, while others fear success. Some fear looking foolish while other fear looking arrogant. Where fear resides, faith does not; where faith resides, fear can not. Fear is often the obstacle that requires the biggest leap of faith.
If you’re like me, you long to fearlessly live every moment for the glory of God. That’s where trusting God comes in. No matter what I’m called to do – no matter how afraid I am – it’s important to remember God has not given me the spirit of fear (2 Tim 1:7). Perfect love – God’s love – casts out fear (1 John 4:18). One of the Lord’s most mentioned commands is “fear not.” Knowing that should help us to say “yes” to every grand adventure God calls us to.
Not being a history guru, I readily admit the first place I heard the following quote was on “Princess Diaries.” But I have to tell you, it has made a lasting impact. Perhaps it will do the same for you. The next time you’re heart is trapped by fear, remember this… “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” Ambrose Redmoon Certainly, God’s glory is more important than any fear we may face.
Comparing Ourselves With Other Leading Ladies – Not long after I began teaching, someone called me and asked me to speak at their Ladies’ Retreat. I was honored, humbled and scared all at the same time. After my co-teacher heard my exciting news she quickly commenced to deflate my balloon with questions like, “You?!!!” “Did you call them and ask them to let you speak?!!!” “Why didn’t they ask me?!!!” Talk about feeling deflated!
I had always looked up to her. Wanted to be like her. She was so organized and perfect. She was like Kay Arthur and I seemed to fall somewhere between Lucy and Ethel. Always goofy yet still trying to keep others from going down the wrong road. Her words fell like boulders on my shoulders and stuck like super glue to my heart. How could I ever have the confidence to pull off that retreat?
But God has a way of reminding us that we are just as much a masterpiece as the next girl. In fact, I think it was that very same week that someone came up to me and told me the Lord had used me to speak to her heart about something she had not shared with anyone. It was then that I decided that I may not ever be “So & So” but I was just as fearfully and wonderfully made as she was. God had laid my name on those ladies hearts, not hers. It was His call on my life and I would be used to impact people she would never reach.
God calls each of us to minister in different capacities – in different ways – to different groups of people – in different arenas of life. We can’t compare ourselves to each other without feeling inadequate. There’s always someone better, smarter and prettier than we are. All we can do is the best we can do in the sphere of influence God has given us. I can only be who I am. I can only become who I was created to be. The same is true for you.
“For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 2 Cor 10:12
Discouragment – Sticks and stones may not brake our bones, but names can really hurt us. We all face discouragement. It’s one of the obstacles that skin more than our knees. If we’re not careful, discouragment can leave scars on our hearts. Sometimes it comes in the form of hurtful words; other times it comes from our own failure; there are even times when we are discouraged by what we percieve to be true when it really isn’t. Times we “think” we’ve let someone down or when we “feel” we have failed someone or when we “believe” we blew an opportunity.
Discouragement prevents us from moving forward because we’re fixed on the rearview mirror of our lives. When we feel discouraged we can only evaluate the source, make any needed application and move on in victory. We’re all a work in progress. No one has it all together. In fact, I love how the Message Version words Phil 3:13-14, “I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”
Pride – Once a leading lady begins thinking she’s all that and a bag of chips, she has set herself up to continually fall over her own ego. There’s no room for pride in the Kingdom of God. Honestly! We have nothing apart from Christ. We are nothing without Him. We have nothing to offer anyone apart from what He has given us.
Pride is just as debilitating as discouragement. However, we are only ones who are responsible for thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought. Humility is the only effective exercise we can employ that will help us leap over the hurdle of an inflamed ego. Be careful to never allow yourself to become your own obstacle. Remember…”Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18
Refueling – Many times we overextend ourselves and find we are trying to pour from an empty vessel. We can’t be the leading ladies God created us to be without refreshing ourselves in His Word and in His presence. There is no substitute for-nor is there a greater need than spending time with God. Living water doesn’t flow from a dry stream. Fruit is not produced in parched soil.
There is no hurdle so high as the one we try to climb on our own. Yet, there is no obstacle we can’t overcome when God lift’s us by His grace. It is in His presence where we will find fulness of joy. Psalm 16:11 God doesn’t call us to do this thing called life alone. He desires our presence. Should we not desire His more.
All our springs are in Him. That means our life flows from Him. Acts 17:28 says it this way, “For in him we live and move and have our being.” He is not a part of my life. He is my life. And what I pour into others can only be productive when what I am pouring is an overflow of what I have received from the Living God.
Obstacles are really only opportunities to glorify God and display His gracious hand working in simple lives. But we have to strengthen ourselves and know how to handle the hurdles we face on a daily basis. Then we will be the leading ladies that can turn our families, our communities and this world upside down.
By the way…I didn’t make the track team in high school. Instead, I ended up with gravel ladened bloodied knees. I am, however, on the greatest team of all – God’s team. And I didn’t even have to try out! 🙂
What are some obstacles you face as a leading lady? What can you add to this post?