When I was 7 years old, my parents bought me a guitar, a music book complete with arrangements for Hot Cross Buns and A Bicycle Built for Two, and music lessons. Captivated by the guitar’s glorious strum, shaping chords did not come naturally for me. Awkwardly I’d press my fingers on the specified strings willing the bones in my arm and fingers to lengthen. Then curling my other arm over the musical object, I would strum. No matter how hard I tried, the sound that filled the room sounded more like a dying cat than it did an instrument.
In those years of guitar lessons, I became an expert at excuses. I’m too tired to practice. I’m too shy to perform. My hands aren’t big enough, the music is not simple enough, I have too much homework, my guitar doesn’t work right, I’m just not good enough. This habit of making excuses became a foundation of belief that would begin to define me. I was not a guitar player. I was made for something other than music.
And then something happened, almost two years ago, an opportunity arose at church to play guitar in the Worship Band. But I can’t really play guitar. More excuses filled the gap of many months before I had the courage to prove my inadequacy to the Worship Leader. A few months later, I was placed on the monthly rotation. I was a guitar player. Only a few months after that did I lead worship for the first time at a LeadHer Live Event and fell in love with the art of authentic worship and embraced my calling to lead worship. Ask me today if I’m a guitar player, and I will confidently tell you YES!
As our LeadHer Chapters this month discuss the topic of Search Me Prayers, I was reminded of how much energy I spent into worrying and denying my calling. On my knees, the words that spilled from my lips and covered the pages of my journal were not of celebration, gratitude or surrender but of fear. Fear and more excuses.
I’m not good enough. I’m not talented enough. I don’t have enough time. I’m not in the right season of life. I’m not the right age. I’m a girl. I’m not who you want!
When I sat back to evaluate where these excuses were coming from, I was appalled. The evidence with which I presented before God as an appeal to reconsider this calling was based on lies that I had been told or insecurities that developed in me after failure. God does not make mistakes in who He calls, and He doesn’t need proof that He made the right decision. He only asks for our obedience.
The heartbreaking thing about excuses is that when we convince ourselves that they are in fact truth, we begin to believe them as truth. The Bible is a direct response to any lie we may face because it is full of stories where God asked the unfit, unqualified and unexpected to serve.
- Moses was not a good speaker. Yet, together with Aaron, he appealed to the Pharaoh to set their people free. Exodus 3-12.
- Mary was just a teenager. Yet, she found favor with God and was entrusted to be the mother of God incarnate, Jesus Christ. Luke 1:26-38.
- Abraham was in his old age. Yet, God found Abraham righteous and allowed Him to be the Father of many nations. Genesis 17.
- Mary Magdalene was a woman with a troubled past. Yet, Jesus called her to follow Him and allowed her to become one of the first witness of His Resurrection and the first messenger of His Gospel.
- Paul’s past record was filled with speaking out against and murdering Christians. Yet, God called him to take the Gospel to the Gentiles and the majority of the New Testament is made up of his letters.
- Peter was a fisherman.
- Rahab was a prostitute.
- The Samaritan woman was a gentile and a woman.
- David was a murderer and an adulterer.
- Jonathan’s father was actively living in disobedience to God.
- Joseph was a slave and was wrongly accused.
- Matthew was a tax collector.
- Job lost everything.
- Adam and Eve committed the first sin.
- Moses ran away.
If excuses had prevailed over obedience in any of these stories, what would our Bible look like? There are more stories of God doing the impossible in the most unlikely of people than of God using people that perfectly fit every qualification.
When asking God to Search You, don’t stop at behavior, look at the mindsets and convictions that have gotten in the way of your ability to say yes. We are able to exceed the limitations on us when we entrust and surrender our lives to God. Whether it’s a call on your life that you’re terrified to say yes to, or in the absence of hearing or knowing what that call is, I challenge you to get on your knees, pour over these stories in Scripture and ask God to search you for the excuses that you have allowed to define you. Surrender those excuses and boldly say YES!