walk of faith

In case I feel incompetent again, I’ll remind myself this.

Maokong Gondola Taipei Taiwan (24)

I wasn’t created wonderfully
What made me think that
God’s gift to me is good
I browse the work of my hands
And my labor is in vain
These skills are stupid
It’s silly to say that
My flaws have a purpose
When I look in the mirror
I only see a big mess
Honestly, I won’t say that
I am worthy to be accepted
No more fooling myself

 

This feeling of faking my way to excellence, I loathe it.

I wake up and go about each day like it’s a Monday morning where the only thing that comes to mind is the pile of work waiting for me at my desk. I fight my way to accomplish something. The big picture seems overwhelming but things have to get done regardless of how long it takes for me to collect myself. I finish them nevertheless, yet oftentimes unsatisfied with how I did.

I keep exploring other opportunities. Out of ten applications, I would say it’s a miracle to receive one reply from a potential client. And even that miracle would turn out to be a rejection, telling me I’m not fit for the part or that they’d keep my application for future reference.

They mean the same thing, don’t they? Ultimately, what they’re saying is that I wasn’t chosen. They don’t want me.

I’ve been rejected many times. In the world of blogging, I would always be asked about the number of my followers on social media, the frequency of visitors to my website, the average likes I get on my posts, and so on. But you know what, I don’t get the opportunity on the basis of my platform’s effectiveness or influence. I get it by connections, or on very rare occasions, by people truly believing in why I write.

In the end, it’s hard to justify the value of what I do when one uses a totally different measurement system. I guess that’s just how the trade work.

Those moments shake my confidence. Even I am not fully convinced of my skills. Even I know the places where I am weak. I feel incompetent, stupid, and a newbie in almost everything. Perhaps I’m not good enough. The talent pool is huge and other people can play that role better.

The Bible recently reminded me to stop holding onto these paralyzing thoughts and start acting in faith. Yes, the reality is that there will always be someone more sophisticated, more experienced, and more equipped for the job. But here is what I learned, that when God gives you an opportunity to be fruitful, even when you’re the most unqualified person for it, always respond to His call with a resounding yes. We are never in a position to say no to God.

I’ve recently studied Exodus 1 through 4 and the timing of the message could not have been more perfect. Let me give you a brief story.

In the early chapters of Exodus, we learned that Moses was born at a time when the Pharaoh wanted all male Hebrew babies to die by abandoning them in the river after birth. The Hebrews were made into slaves by the Egyptians in those days because the Egyptians feared they would be outnumbered by the Hebrews and eventually conquer them. Killing the male babies was the Pharaoh’s effort to stop them from growing in number.

Then we go to Exodus 2:3-10 where we learn that Moses, a Hebrew by blood and was raised by her Hebrew mother, was later adopted as an Egyptian to the daughter of the Pharaoh. Moses identified himself as one of God’s people — the lowly Hebrews — yet he lived as an Egyptian with a noble reputation and a royal background. (Read the book of Exodus please!)

 

When God gives you an opportunity to be fruitful, even when you’re the most unqualified person for it, always respond to His call with a resounding yes. We are never in a position to say no to God.

 

Fast forward, Moses ran away from Egypt after attempting to help the Hebrews. The Hebrew men rejected him and the Pharaoh then learned what Moses did so he went after Moses to kill him. Moses ran away to another land and there he lived a quiet, unambitious life.

Now, it’s important to note that Moses wanted to deliver the Hebrews from the abuse of the Egyptians, but he was rejected by the people. If there is someone who knows what it feels like to be unchosen and unwanted, that is Moses. But God wasn’t done with him yet. The story gets more interesting in Exodus 3 where God appeared to him in a divine encounter: the burning bush. When the burning bush caught Moses’ attention (Exodus 3:4-6), God called him by his name and commissioned Moses to save the Hebrews and lead them out of Egypt (Exodus 3:7-10).

The thing is, Moses showed doubts and insecurities in pursuing what God had commanded. What should our response be at times like this?

Seek God-confidence, not self-confidence.

Moses had no confidence in himself. He asked God, “Who am I that I should do this?” (Exodus 3:11-12). I am sure we have all gone through a situation where we feel like “Why me, Lord? Of all people, I don’t think I can do this!” We tend to focus on ourselves and on what we can do before we have the confidence to go for it.

But we see here how God shifted Moses’ focus from his weakness to God’s unrelenting power. He didn’t entertain Moses’ expression of insecurity, but he assured him saying “I will certainly be with you.”

The presence and promise of God should be enough for us to go. However, Moses was still troubled. God further revealed Himself to Moses and reassured him of what will happen in his journey to Egypt. He even promised that the Hebrews will heed Moses’ voice (Exodus 3:15-18), yet it seemed like he didn’t believe in God.

It could be that Moses felt his capability was only proportionate to his credentials. When he was a prince in Egypt, the Hebrews didn’t care when Moses tried to help them. Maybe he was thinking, “If these people didn’t listen to me when I was a somebody, how much more will they follow me now that I’m a nobody?”

Moses was still entrusting the success of his calling on himself and not on God alone. He was occupied trying to please man rather than pleasing God.

 

Believe that God can use you even with the little that you have, or the little that you can.

Moses asked God again, “Suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.”

It was as if Moses was saying, “What if it doesn’t happen that way, Lord?”

Again, God didn’t answer Moses directly just like when He responded to Moses’ first question. Instead, in Exodus 4:2-9, God used what Moses already had in his hands and He performed signs and wonders with them. He made Moses’ staff into a serpent and the water into blood.

Even after all that, Moses then again cried, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent!” (Exodus 4:10). God answered him again by shifting the focus from me, me, me to Lord, Lord, Lord. It didn’t matter to God if Moses was eloquent or not.  The question here is, will Moses obey despite his flaws?

 

The issue with us is not the lack of ability, but our lack of willingness.

 

Here’s a personal story I’d like to share. I remember a time when I was working in the tourism industry. A publicist told me he’d love to tag me along to several tourist destinations so that I can take landscape photos and have them featured on broadsheets. The first thing I said was, “I don’t have a high-quality camera for that! Even if I do, I don’t have the skills!”

Imagine if he didn’t talk me out of that excuse! I knew I could take good photos, but I felt like they were only good enough for my blog or my Instagram account. After all, I have completely forgotten the things I knew about manual photography. I felt like if I accepted his offer, I’ll be acting like a poser.

Lo and behold, a writer did use one of my photos for a lifestyle article about Cloud 9 boardwalk in Siargao. It was on the front page of the lifestyle section of a major broadsheet. When my manager at that time saw it, she said, “What a distasteful photo!”

At the time, I was an outsourced member of the marketing team and they wouldn’t call me by my name during my stay in the company. They only referred to me, using a cold tone, as the writer. It took me real guts to work there because obviously, the marketing manager’s hostility towards me. Reports say she hated anyone who didn’t go through the formal process of hiring. (I was hired because of a connection by the way.)

Now that you know about that, I am unsure if she said that intentionally to offend me (seeing that the photo was credited to me), or maybe she simply hated the photo without giving that remark much thought. Say, with the benefit of the doubt, she simply expressed her dislike towards the photo with no harm intended. It did shake my confidence, but then there were more people who told me the photos were captured well.

To put it simply, I thank God that He used what I already have, a.k.a. the humble camera and my amateur point-and-shoot abilities, to still enjoy where He called me. Many times I wanted to quit that job, but God brought me there. And while there were difficulties, God also brought me comfort. Because of my camera, I got to explore many beautiful places and I have met wonderful people.

 

Lastly, be willing to be used by God.

God gave Moses all the reassurance yet nothing was enough for him. Why? Because in the end, he was unwilling. In Exodus 4:13-17, he said “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.” So Moses finally showed the condition of his heart. He didn’t want anything to do with God’s purpose to save the Hebrews from the hands of the Egyptians. He chose to live a life defeated, only because he was rejected before.

God patiently dealt with Moses, but only when Moses revealed his unwillingness did God become angry (Exodus 4:14). Nonetheless, God met Moses where he was at. He called Aaron, Moses’ brother, to help him speak God’s word to the people.

If you will continue reading the story, you will discover that later Aaron became more of a burden for Moses. What this tells me is that God’s way is still the best way. If we insist on what we want, in the end, we will have to pay for the consequence.

The issue with us is not the lack of ability, but our lack of willingness. When we listen to our doubts, it hinders us from going after God’s voice. We magnify our insecurities and think they’re bigger than God. That’s a lie.

If you think God chooses you for His work because you’re the best and the most qualified, then you’re absolutely wrong. Take a closer look at the accounts in the Bible, and you will see God commonly uses people who are the least deserving, or the least capable. He wants us to rely on Him, and not on our strength or our understanding.

Do you think you’re incapable? That may be true, but so what? God is able. Do you think you’re inadequate? No problem. God is more than enough. Do you feel unrefined? Then allow God to mold you.

Now go back to the beginning of this article, and read that little poem backward. c:

 

Wonderfilled Journal Louise

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