During my first year attending middle school summer camp as a youth coach several years ago, I was volunteered by my fellow coach, Debbie, to give the opening prayer for the evening session of the entire assembly. Now, I am good with speaking in front of an audience normally. But, as it got closer to the time for the prayer, the enormity of the number of people in the audience started placing doubt and fear, as well as nervousness, in my mind. You see, summer camp was made up of about 800 students and adults. I had spoken before smaller numbers before, but this was my biggest audience ever. So, while waiting backstage to pray, I found myself praying to God about praying to Him! What should I say? What if I miss something? What if I start rambling? Shortly, members of the worship band came by and struck up separate conversations with me, along with various staff members and folks taking part in the skits and programs that were supposed to happen during this session. Everyone was giving me kudos for being there with all three of my own kids, as well as being a youth coach, bringing our church kids to the camp. Through all of this, fear was still in the back of my mind, but I was past the point of backing out. The next thing I knew, the host was leading me on stage with him and I was introduced to the audience. At that moment, I realized the ultimate truth. This now was not about me, but it was all about Him. I asked the audience to join me in prayer. I don’t remember what I prayed about specifically, but I knew I asked for God to be with this assembly, the students, the adults, and all of the speakers. About two and a half minutes later, I was backstage again and heading to be with my group.
You see, as I stated, the turning point for me in this story came when I made the experience about Him instead of me. As soon as I was able to turn it all over to God and make Him my focal point, Fear left instantly. We all have things in our lives that will either make us doubt our own abilities, or distract us from going down the path we need to be traveling. Those things include fear, doubt, busyness, fame, greed, selfishness, jealousy, anger, self-praise, pride, personal desires and several other things I’m sure you can personally name. But God tells us to put Him first, to trust in Him, and to make His ways our ways. Proverbs 3:5-6 states “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” I also came across this in Psalm 56:1-4, which offers some ultimate hope and reassurance. “O God, have mercy on me, for people are hounding me. My foes attack me all day long. I am constantly hounded by those who slander me, and many are boldly attacking me. But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?” Wow, I trust in God, so why should I fear? What can those of this earth do to me?
I always hear people telling me that I do too much, regardless of what activity I might be doing at the time. If I am involved in a community activity, I am there for the community. If it is an activity for my kids, I am there for the kids and to support those leading the activity. If I am at church, everything I do is not for me to seek credit, to try to show off or be visible. I am there for Him, to put my agenda aside and to totally focus on Him. Proverbs 16:3 says it simply, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Paul applauded the churches of Macedonia in 2 Corinthians 8 by telling how they went above and beyond expectations by first giving themselves to God and the disciples, as God had wanted them to do (verse 5). You see, when we learn to get past ourselves, to change our agenda, we can exceed our own limitations and go further than expected.
So, what is my point? Stop living on your own merits. Stop making everything about you. Stop living as if everything is a first world problem that is crushing your world. Make it all about Him in everything you do and say. Give Him the glory and honor Him by following His lead and guidance. Submit yourself to the will of the Father. He will take you past yourself. He will take you past your self-imposed limitations. He will take you to His goal of accomplishment rather to your edge of fear and defeat.