I have just joined a gym. For those of you who know me, I will just give you a moment to overcome the shock of that announcement. I know! I can’t believe it myself. The gym is not usually where you would find me and it certainly isn’t where I am most comfortable.

I have joined one of those gyms with a gazillion classes. At the moment I am trying them all. So far every class I have been to has been my first time attending. There is something incredibly daunting about walking into a gym class for the first time. Your mind races with questions; am I wearing the right thing? Did I bring the right equipment? Am I in the right class? Will I be able to keep up? Will I look like a complete idiot? And most importantly, where can I hide?

I have been in more than one class that has made me question my presence in the room. I have laid on a yoga mat trying to flex and bend and twist like the lady on the stage and wondered if I should just cut and run now before they notice I even turned up. I look around at some of the others in the room, they look like they know exactly what they are doing. I wonder if anyone else can tell I am completely out of my depth?

It’s that feeling of inadequacy right? Like you don’t belong in the room. That feeling of “I don’t think I have the thing that I think I am supposed to have and that it looks like everyone else has”.

There is someone in the bible that I want us to look at who I think felt that same pang of inadequacy at the task he faced. His name is Moses.

Moses was born into a Jewish family at a time in history when all the Jewish baby boys were being wiped out. So, to protect him, his mother hid him in some reeds along the river and he was found by Pharaoh’s daughter. He was raised in Pharaoh’s household as an Egyptian Prince. But God would have it that his real Mother would be his nursemaid. So you could say that his life started out a little complicated.

As an adult, he ends up murdering a man – his way of getting justice for a wrong he witnessed. He then flees to Midian where he settles, marries and becomes a shepherd. At this point I would imagine that he was thinking he had left his complicated and dysfunctional past behind…that is until a talking burning bush shows up!

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called out to him from the bush, “Moses, Moses!” “Here I am,” he answered. “Do not come closer,” he said. “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he continued, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God. Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people in Egypt, and have heard them crying out because of their oppressors. I know about their sufferings, and I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them from that land to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the territory of the Canaanites, Hethites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.  So because the Israelites’ cry for help has come to me, and I have also seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them, therefore, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh so that you may lead my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” But Moses asked God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” Exodus 3: 4 – 11 (CSB)

“Who am I?” I would put money on it that in that moment, Moses turned around to see if there was someone else standing behind him. Like surely that bush is talking to someone else!

Moses is having the same feeling I have every time I have to get up on a stage to speak. That same feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and have to stumble your way through another day raising your kids. That same feeling you have when you look at the situation at work that seems impossible to fix.

Ever felt like Moses?

When you are standing in front of the burning bush hoping that God is speaking to someone else, there are a few things I think you need to know!

1. God is not like us.

Moses says: “But who am I?” God’s reply? “I AM.”

God goes on to tell Moses that he will be with him. He tells him about the promise and the land flowing with milk and honey and the miracles and how he is going to set them free. God is saying to Moses, “I know you don’t have what it takes, but I do, because I am not like you”.

When we see inadequacies, God only sees opportunities for miracles.

God is not like us. He sees, thinks and behaves differently. We have limited perspective but He sees the beginning from the end.

We are limited to the here and the now but He holds eternity in His hands.

2. God is for us.

God’s promise to Moses when He says, “ I will certainly be with you”, is the very same promise He has for you and me.

Even after the snake trick, Moses still goes back to God and says, “But I don’t speak well, I am not eloquent in my speech and I stutter my words”. So, God allows Aaron to be Moses’ mouthpiece and speak on his behalf.

I think that Moses could have done what God was asking of him with or without Aaron. I don’t think Moses needed Aaron like he thought he did. God was big enough to overcome any speech impediment. But it was by God’s grace and mercy that he gave Aaron to Moses. God knew Moses didn’t need Aaron, but he allowed him to have him anyway.

Because that’s the kind of God he is. He is gracious and loving. He is filled with mercy and he is for us. He is constantly at work behind the scenes setting things up and working for us to get us to where he knows we need to be.

Eight years ago Steve and I moved to Whangarei. When we first moved we didn’t know anybody. In the first few months I went through a pretty lonely season. I missed my friends. The friends that knew me before I became their Pastor. Well about a month after we moved Steve got a call from an old friend to say they were moving up to Whangarei. I don’t know what I would have done without them during that time.

Now I know that God knew that we would have and could have done it, with or without friends. But at the time, friendship was what I desperately wanted. I think it was his grace and mercy over us that he gave us just what we thought we needed to help us through.

God knows what you need, but he also knows your heart’s desire. He is so for you that He will work behind the scenes to graciously set you up for a win.

3. God works progressively and incrementally.

Steve and I traveled to the United States last year. We started our trip in Alabama and then we needed to head to New York as we were speaking at a friend’s church on the Sunday. So, we arrive at the airport in Alabama for our 11am flight out to NY only to be told that we had missed our flight. Our flight time had been changed and we were not notified. The airline re-booked us on a flight through Dallas to NY. We get on the flight and land in Dallas only to find that our flight to New York has been cancelled. Stuck in a crowed airport surrounded by hundreds of angry New Yorkers trying to get home, we stand in line for hours to re-book our flight for the following day, which now has to go through Colorado to finally have us land in NY 24 hours behind schedule!

In every city with every flight I sat there thinking to myself – “I don’t want to be in Dallas, I don’t want to be in Colorado. Where I want to be is in New York.”

The thing about travel and about getting to a destination is that it doesn’t matter how much I want to be in NY. The only way I can get there is by going through Colorado. I may not want to be in Colorado but if I want to get to NY – then to Colorado I must go.

Listen, there are some things that seem hard or frustrating, and we may not want to go through the hard and the frustrating. But the problem with a God who works progressively and incrementally is that he doesn’t care where you want to be, He takes you where He needs to take you to get you where you need to be.

At each step and stage God incrementally and progressively grows us, tests us, refines us, draws things out of us.

Leading the Israelites out of Egypt was only the beginning for Moses. But it was the first step on a journey of growth that would see him become one of Israel’s greatest leaders.

God has the ability and the willingness to take something ordinary and use it for the extraordinary.

Even if all you have is a stick.

When Moses returned to Egypt to follow God’s will, Exodus 4:20 says this:

“So Moses took his wife and Sons; put them on a donkey, and returned to the land of Egypt. And Moses took God’s staff in his hand. Exodus 4:20 (CSB)

I love that what was Moses’ became God’s when he finally surrendered it to the will of God. And that right there is the secret to it all.

Now, go out there and live like you believe it.

Have you noticed that when you go to a theme park they have conditions to some of the rides? There are certain qualities or lack there of, that you must ‘possess’ in order to be able to get on that ride. For example, pregnant women can’t go on most rides, people with heart problems or severe back issues can’t go on the rides. The major one you will be most familiar with though is height. For all major rides and rollercoasters you need to be a certain height in order to qualify to ride. The measuring stick stands at the entrance of every ride and if you don’t measure up, you don’t go in – no questions asked!!!

Some of you won’t know what it feels like to be on the shorter side of life, but if you do know then you will also know that Rainbows End (New Zealand’s only theme park) is not a place ‘Where The Fun Never Ends’ – because you don’t get to go on the rides of endless fun when you just don’t measure up. Disneyland is not ‘The Happiest Place on Earth‘ or the place where dreams come true because your dreams are crushed when you step up to that measuring stick and you don’t quite meet the mark!

For most of us the truth is that we spend a lot of our time wandering, not through a theme park, but through our very own lives, feeling like we don’t quite measure up. There can be this constant feeling that we are not quite hitting the mark, we are not achieving the standard, not meeting others or our own expectations. Ever felt like that?

There is a man in the bible named Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth was a man full of inadequacy. His story is found in 2 Samuel 9 where King David is looking for someone from the family of his good friend Jonathan that he can show kindness to. He finds Mephibosheth who was left crippled in his feet after being dropped by his nursemaid as a baby.D

We know that Mephibosheth was living in the house of Machir, son of Ammiel. He didn’t have a house of his own. In fact, the man whose house he was living in wasn’t even a relative, he was the chief of a tribe in service to both Saul and David. From this we can learn that he has a low station in life, much lower than you would think for a man whose grandfather used to be the king.

Then King David sent word and had him brought from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lo-debar. Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David and fell face down and lay himself down [in respect]. David said, “Mephibosheth.” And he answered, “Here is your servant!” David said to him, “Do not be afraid, for I will certainly show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul; and you shall always eat at my table.” Again Mephibosheth lay himself face down and said, “What is your servant, that you would be concerned for a dead dog like me?” 2 Samuel 9:5-8 (AMP)

Mephibosheth believed himself to be so low in station that he describes himself as a dead dog. He gets low, face down to the ground and begins to reveal by his own confession his feelings of worthlessness and insignificance.

What is he saying? He’s saying, “I don’t measure up, I don’t hit the mark, I’m inadequate to be standing in front of you, let alone eating at your table”. He took out his measuring stick and he said, I don’t measure up, I can’t possibly sit there, I can’t possible partake in that meal. I am not good enough, I come with limitations, I have got frailties and inadequacies.

But I love the King’s response;

Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and to all his house (family). You and your sons and your servants shall cultivate the land for him, and you shall bring in the produce, so that your master’s grandson may have food to eat; but Mephibosheth, your master’s grandson, shall always eat at my table.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. Then Ziba said to the king, “Your servant will do according to everything that my lord the king commands.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table as one of the king’s sons. Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Mica. And all who lived in Ziba’s house were servants to Mephibosheth. So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he always ate at the king’s table. And he was lame in both feet. 2 Samuel 9:9-13 (AMP)

This story paints for us a beautiful picture of the power of the King’s table to cover our inadequacies. Beneath the table he was still lame. These verses make that very clear – he always ate at the King’s table and he was lame in both feet (verse 13). He was inadequate, he missed the mark. But as he sat at the King’s table, the table covered all of that and he could sit there looking just like everyone else. Just as David’s kingly table covered Mephibosheth’s inequities, so God’s grace covers yours.

I believe that if we would allow ourselves to reposition where we do life, parenting and just plain ‘human-ing’ from, we could go from the measuring stick to the King’s Table.

Your limitation does not disqualify you, it simply qualifies you for His grace.

It gives you a seat at His table.

3 Things you need to know:

1. His Grace crowns us.

By His grace we are daughters of the King. He crowns us – and our identity (who we are) is found in that crown.

We don’t need to measure up, we simply need to crown up!

“It is only when you know whose you are, that you know who you are”. Lisa Bevere

“We must answer our inadequacy from our place of identity.” Charlotte Gambill

So when your inadequacy, your mistakes or your weaknesses try to tell you, “you aren’t pretty enough, smart enough, or worthy enough”, answer them from your place of identity in Christ; “I am the daughter of a king, adopted into his family through Christ, I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I am worth far more than rubies.”

Some of you need to hear this today: Don’t let your limitations define you. Let your limitless God define you.

2. His grace calls us.

I get the feeling Mephibosheth would have had pretty low expectations for his future before that powerful invitation. His disability would have, by culture’s standards, sat him out of the race. He was of no standing in society that benefited him enough to live in his own home – he lived off the charity of someone else. He was the last of his family and his family land and inheritances were, at that time, all taken from him. These set backs all meant something pretty significant in the day and culture of his time.

Some commentaries even say that prior to this invitation he would have been hiding from David, afraid that David would come after him perceiving him a threat to his throne because of his claim through his Father (Jonathan) and Grandfather (Saul).

Culture hid him but grace called him. 

The funny thing is that the very reason he hid was the very reason his was called. His family connection was the reason he was called upon to sit at the royal table.

He wasn’t called because of anything he did or didn’t do. He wasn’t called because he had done something to earn his place at the table. He certainly didn’t work his way into that position of honour.

Some of you need to understand today that you are not called by worth you are called by birth.

His grace doesn’t call you because you have it all together and you are fully competent and can do all of the right things. God simply calls you because of the family name you receive when you are born again in him.

3. His grace carries us.

The beautiful thing about grace is that if grace calls you, it will carry you.

Remember the passage of scripture that underpins More Than?

but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My loving kindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (AMP)

In your situation, parenting, job, marriage, health, finance…

His grace is sufficient – it’s enough – it’s all you need. It will carry you!

If He has called you to it, He will carry you through it.

I did an interesting exercise a few weeks ago when I was doing my research for this piece of writing. I looked up the word inadequate in the Thesaurus. I looked up the antonyms and the synonyms. And what I found was just beautiful – who knew that God could speak His word through a thesaurus!

When I looked at the list of antonyms (those are the words that carry the opposite meaning to the word – in our case – the word ‘inadequate’). This was the very list I found:

ABLE

ABUNDANT

ENOUGH

FINISHED

FULL

PERFECT

STRONG

SUFFICIENT

Every one of those words has been made possible for you through Christ.

Now, go out there and live like you believe it!

You are doing a great job!

That is all good in theory isn’t it? It’s easy for me to say right? It’s easy for me to say when I don’t know what really goes on behind the closed doors of your house. It’s easy for me to say when your head hits the pillow every night wondering if what you did or didn’t do today has messed your kid up.

I can’t help but think that maybe all of us feel that way. Maybe every mother doubts herself. Maybe every mother has no idea what she is doing and is just trying to get through each day without screwing it up too badly! I know I often feel like that.

I also can’t help but recognise that that kind of life is tiring. It’s tiring to continually doubt, continually question and continually strive.

Do you know the biggest lesson I think every mother needs to learn?

Rest.

That word feels like a bit of a swear word at times but let me explain how I came to discover the principle of rest.

It was a lesson I didn’t want and I certainly didn’t think I needed. I went into this lesson kicking and screaming.

You see, I am one of those people who thrives on pressure. I like having a full schedule and running from one thing to the next. I learnt how to multitask and have lots of plates spinning at the same time – it was my normal. I didn’t need rest.

When I had my two babies I didn’t even really stop to take maternity leave. I had my 12 weeks at home but while I was at home, I kept working. I ran a women’s conference when my youngest, Rocky, was 6 weeks old (I look back now and think I must have been crazy!!!) But it didn’t bother me. I just did what I knew, what I had always done.

Mentally I was charging, but my physical body told a different story.

My body had simply never recovered from pregnancy and child birth. As a result I ended up with a chronic infection that I couldn’t get rid of for five years. I went to a naturopath, doctors, specialists. I was on medication, supplements and diet restrictions.

I got to the point where I was tired. Really tired. All the time, eyes burning, brain foggy, can’t-sleep-it-off kind of tired.

My “high-capacity” thinking was telling me I was coping but my body was screaming at me for rest.

I didn’t need more medication or a magic pill. I didn’t need a new fad diet or a different supplement – I needed REST.

I’m not sure if you have ever reached the point of exhaustion before. But to me it felt like I was pouring water into a bucket filled with holes. I was busy working hard to fill my bucket but whenever the time came to give out to those around me I came up empty. I simply had nothing left to give.

And so I began my season of forced rest. Here is what I came to understand:

From a Sabbath Day to a Sabbath Life

In Leviticus God spends lots of time teaching Moses and the Israelites what type of people they will be. He wants to set them apart and make them into a new nation. So he sets them up with some particular instructions about how they are to live. One of the things he considered to be of utmost importance was what they called Holy Days. These were the days they were to keep sacred.

“This is to be a permanent statute for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month you are to practice self-denial and do no work, both the native and the alien who resides among you. Atonement will be made for you on this day to cleanse you, and you will be clean from all your sins before the Lord. It is a Sabbath of complete rest for you, and you must practice self-denial; it is a permanent statute. The priest who is anointed and ordained[e to serve as high priest in place of his father will make atonement. He will put on the linen garments, the holy garments, and make atonement for the most holy place. He will make atonement for the tent of meeting and the altar and will make atonement for the priests and all the people of the assembly. This is to be a permanent statute for you, to make atonement for the Israelites once a year because of all their sins.” Leviticus 16: 29 – 34 (CSB)

So let’s take a note of what is happening here. On the day when a Priest has to bring atonement for the sins of the people, God is saying to Israel – you need to stop working. It’s important that we recognise here the relationship between resting from work and atonement.

Let’s now head across to the new testament where Hebrews speaks about the idea that Jesus is now our High Priest.

 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with hands (only a model of the true one) but into heaven itself, so that he might now appear in the presence of God for us. He did not do this to offer himself many times, as the high priest enters the sanctuary yearly with the blood of another. Otherwise, he would have had to suffer many times since the foundation of the world. But now he has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment— so also Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but[bto bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Hebrews 9: 24-28 (CSB)

Let’s just recap for a second, because if you are going to truly get rest you need to understand this truth.

Jesus is now our high priest – he makes atonement for us. And his atonement did what the day of atonement could not do. Jesus made a permanent atonement – ONCE, FOR ALL.

Which means that the permanent statute God instituted for his people about resting from their own work on that day of atonement has been replaced by a new permanent statute.

Therefore, a Sabbath rest remains for God’s people. For the person who has entered his rest has rested from his own works, just as God did from his. Hebrews 4: 9-10 (CSB)

Are you getting this? We go from a sabbath day (resting from all work on a day of atonement), to a sabbath life (resting from all striving to receive the great gift of atonement).

Rest means to cease from our own work and celebrate his finished work.

Soul Living to Spirit Leading

In Leviticus it also tells us that rest/Sabbath looks like a “practice of self-denial”. When I looked that up I found that in other translations it includes the phrase: “Afflict your soul”. Well what on earth does that mean?

When we are speaking about your soul we are speaking about your mind, will, and emotions. It’s the “self” part of you. Your appetites and your passions.

Now the problem with our soul is that it causes us to be driven by these very things – we can too often be driven by our own emotions, ambitions, our will and our appetite. And that will always lead us to a place of striving. Driven by appetite and ambition.

But a true rest (or honouring of the sabbath) means to afflict you soul. Which means to oppress, deny, fast or humble those parts of your being. It means that we are no longer soul driven. We are not driven by our own desires and appetites.

True rest means allowing ourselves to be led by the spirit, not driven by the soul.

It means we transition from soul living to spirit living.

Soul living is led by me and it never achieves what the appetite of the soul wants it to achieve. Soul living is exhausting and weary.

Spirit living is led by the spirit and it is at rest from working, achieving, striving. It doesn’t attempt to achieve anything through it’s own strength and it’s own might.

Spirit living severs the connection between what I do and who I am.

Spirit living knows that who I am is connected more with who He is and His finished work on the cross.

Here is what I have discovered: If we want to be Spirit led we need more time in his word and more time in his presence. Our spirit needs to be given a louder voice than our soul.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 The Message (MSG)

Now, go out there and live like you believe it.

Before you go! Let’s talk practicalities.

Here are some questions I think would benefit you to ask yourself:

  1. Do I have a Sabbath? A day when I don’t do anything that feels like work. (By the way, you need one of these weekly. )
  2. What am I doing currently that is draining me? (Putting holes in my bucket). It could be things outside of my gifting or just something/someone asking more of me that I have to give.
  3. What am I not currently doing that fills me?
  4. Do I have margin – room to breathe, room for the unexpected? Or am I living so close to the edge that anything could send me over?
  5. What do I need to ensure I am doing regularly to keep my margin plentiful?
    • set an earlier bedtime?
    • limit screen time, especially before bed?
    • Time alone/time for you?
    • Time having fun/relaxing/laughing/enjoying?
    • Time with God?
    • Time in the fresh air?
  6. Here is a big one: What am I currently saying yes to that I should be saying no to? Remember every time I say yes to one thing I am saying no to something else.

Let me take you back to the previous entry when I introduced you to King Saul. A man who began his journey with great promise and ended it consumed by jealousy and riddled with insecurity.

If you haven’t read Part one of this entry, I would encourage you to do so. We talked about what insecurity looks like;

  • Insecurity is threatened by others.
  • Insecurity struggles to trust.
  • Insecurity fights for position.

Saul’s insecurity became his undoing. I do not believe that Saul achieved all that God had planned for him. Saul stopped short of all of his potential, not because he didn’t have it in him. He stopped short because he didn’t have wholeness.

When we read the story of Saul we learn that there was a brokenness in him. And when he was placed under the pressure of leadership that brokenness began to show itself in anger, jealousy, paranoia.

I don’t want to be like Saul, so I have had to ask myself the question; how do I fight the insecurity battle and win? How do we overcome it and live to see the fullness of God’s promises over our lives?

Overcoming Insecurity

1. Celebrate others.

Saul’s Son Jonathan was quite the opposite of his Father. Jonathan loved David (the object of Saul’s jealousy and the trigger for his insecurity) and time and time again Jonathan promoted David above himself, celebrating David’s future Kingship.

Jonathan was, by birth, the rightful heir to Saul’s throne. He was the crown prince and anyone would have thought it completely normal and justified for Jonathan to see David as his rival. He has every reason to dislike David.

But Jonathan does something for David in 1 Samual 18 that communicates to him, “I am going to see you, not as my rival, but as my friend”.

In verse 3 Jonathan gave David his royal robe. Giving him his robe was an act that signified that Jonathan recognised that while he himself may have been Saul’s choice for King, David was God’s choice. A robe representing his Kingship, his mantle, handed over in an act that says – “I recognise the call that is on your life. It’s not the same call that’s on mine and I’m ok with that.”

Jonathan also gave David his sword. Now, it is interesting to note here, that only the King and crown prince were allowed by the Philistines to possess a sword in Israel at this time. Jonathan gives David his sword! That’s powerful!!! Jonathan saw the call of God on David’s life and he rejoiced in his success. What a significant moment!

We overcome insecurity by encouraging people. Speak positively to them and about them to others. Champion them. Speak to the call that is on their life.

2. Trust that you are called.

Jonathan was able to celebrate David’s call to Kingship because he was secure in his own call to son-ship and friendship. They were anointed for different callings. Neither was more important than the other, both were necessary, both were needed.

Know what you are called to and trust God with it.

Just because you haven’t seen it in yourself, doesn’t mean it isn’t in you.

Your confidence should be based on God’s decision to pick you. He called YOU! He has chosen YOU!

The difference between David and Saul was that David trusted in God’s promises. David had already been anointed King – he didn’t need to steal it, fight for it, or prove his worthiness to anyone else. He knew his promise, he knew his inheritance and he stood firm in it.

Interestingly, Saul was anointed just the same as David. Saul was anointed by the same prophet for the same call, perhaps even with the same bottle of oil. Yet because Saul lacked trust in the call, he thought he had to fight for his position and not rest in his calling.

There is no rest in insecurity – only striving. Rest comes, when trust comes.

3. Let there be a heart transformation.

Getting to your promise is less about what you do and more about who you become.

God doesn’t just want to get you to the end destination, He wants to get you there whole.

My husband, Steve, loves taking on a physical challenge. Last year he completed The Tough Mudder. 21km of mud, ice, heights, electric shocks and all sorts of other things. Despite my genuine belief that you would have to be a little on the crazy side to sign up for such an event, what I love about it is that it’s a challenge that is more about the journey as a team than it is about completing it as the best and fastest. You might have people on your team who could run the whole thing and ace it in a matter of minutes, but arrive at the finish line incomplete because they left their team behind.

What I love about this challenge is that it’s not about finishing fast – it’s about finishing whole.

It’s not about being the best, it’s about journeying well.

God ultimately chose David over Saul – why? David’s sins were surely greater? So why would God choose him over Saul?

It was about the wholeness of their hearts.

David is described as “a man after God’s own heart”. That tells me he is a man willing to have his heart tested and his character challenged. It tells me that he was less interested in knowing about God and more interested in really knowing God. It tells me that he was willing to let God and others see his imperfections and journey back to wholeness.

I have read and studied the journey of Saul and the dynamic between Saul, Jonathan and David a number of times.  And I have often wondered how their story might have been different if Saul had realised that his legacy could have been far greater, his reach far more, and his Kingship more effective had he been able to overcome his insecurity to champion and invest in David.

I wonder how much greater King David might have been had Saul taught him out of the wisdom and knowledge he had gained rather than try to break down what God was clearly wanting to build up.

I don’t want to be like Saul. I don’t want to stop short of all God has for me.

I wonder how much of God’s greatness over our lives we are yet to experience because there is a brokenness lying dormant that we need to be delivered of.

Could it be that there is something of influence and greatness in you that God wants to call out? But we have to be willing to deal with some brokenness in order to run in the way he destined us to.

Now, let’s go out there and live like we believe it!

Come with me as I tell you a somewhat cautionary tale of wars and battles, victories and defeats, love and loss. This is the tale of a once-great king named Saul.

Saul was anointed as the first ever King over Israel. Prior to this Israel was led by a leader, a priest or a judge who would hear from God and then speak to the people – God was their King. But Israel complained to God and asked Him for an earthly King and so Saul was chosen and anointed to be Israel’s very first King.

What a call!!! What a purpose. This is huge. And by all appearances he was the best man for the job.

There was a prominent man of Benjamin named Kish son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, son of a Benjaminite.  He had a son named Saul, an impressive young man. There was no one more impressive among the Israelites than he. He stood a head taller than anyone else. 1 Samuel 9:1-2 (CSB)

Sounds like the perfect choice for a King right?

Saul’s legacy could have been that of a great King!

But it wasn’t, he isn’t remembered that way. Instead, Saul is remembered for his anger, jealousy, irrational thinking, paranoia and overreaction.

After Saul became King he won battle after battle. He fought bravely and lead armies to victories. Then in walks David, who as a young boy has been anointed as the next King of Israel. God’s choice to lead his people. Saul likes David so he invites him into his household. David became successful in everything he put his hand to.

David marched out with the army and was successful in everything Saul sent him to do. Saul put him in command of the fighting men, which pleased all the people and Saul’s servants as well. As the troops were coming back, when David was returning from killing the Philistine, the women came out from all the cities of Israel to meet King Saul, singing and dancing with tambourines, with shouts of joy, and with three-stringed instruments. As they danced, the women sang: Saul has killed his thousands, but David his tens of thousands. Saul was furious and resented this song. “They credited tens of thousands to David,” he complained, “but they only credited me with thousands. What more can he have but the kingdom?” So Saul watched David jealously from that day forward.1 Samuel 18: 5 -9 (CSB)

So this begins Saul’s downward spiral. Jealousy and paranoia lead him on a chase for David’s blood. Saul attempts to take David’s life numerous times. He is consumed by it and it becomes his undoing.

Saul looked all together on the outside but on the inside, he was broken.

So, what was Saul’s brokenness? Lets go back to when we first met Saul in 1 Samuel 9.

We first meet Saul not long before the prophet Samuel anoints him as Israel’s King. When Samuel tells him what is about to happen listen to Saul’s response.

 Saul responded, “Am I not a Benjaminite from the smallest of Israel’s tribes and isn’t my clan the least important of all the clans of the Benjaminite tribe? So why have you said something like this to me?”1 Samuel 9: 21 (CSB)

The next day Samuel anoints him as King.

Right here in Saul’s own words we see the root of all the jealousy, all the anger, all the pride, all the ambition.

We see that Saul is riddled with insecurity.

“Am I not…” “But I’m only…” “The smallest tribe…” “The least important.”

God saw something in Saul that Saul didn’t see in himself.

And so, Saul answered the call of God with inadequacy – he did not think he was capable of doing what God was asking him to do.

How often do you feel like that? I know I have. Let’s be honest – I still do!

I have learnt that the issues that we struggle with in our early days often present themselves when we step into leadership.

I recently watched some YouTube clips of an hydraulic press squashing a bunch of different items (don’t ask me how I found myself down that YouTube rabbit-hole!). From vaseline, and coke bottles, to toys, perfume, and fruit. It didn’t matter what it was, the outcome was the same. When squashed, what was inside, came out.

The same principle is true for you and I, if you come under pressure, what is in you will come out of you. When placed under pressure Saul’s insecurity and inadequacy began to show.

Saul was riddled with insecurity. Not unlike many of us.

So, what does insecurity look like?

1.  Insecurity is threatened by others’ success.

Saul was not able to celebrate in David’s successes because he was not secure in his own call.

I remember after I finished my teaching degree and was applying for jobs. I sent out and applied for about 15 different positions and got declined every single time. Just as I was giving up hope, my good friend who had gone through the whole of uni with me, called me to tell me the good news – she had received a job offer! So you can imagine my response? “Congratulations! I’m sooooo happy for you. Whaaahooo.” Can you detect there may have been some jealousy and sarcasm in my tone that day? Come on, we all do it. Right?!?

You are waiting for your miracle, your promotion, your answer. In the mean time everyone else is getting theirs.

Insecurity will always try to tell you that someone else’s promotion equals a subtraction from yours.

The truth (that Saul missed) is that David’s military success only added strength to Saul’s position in the kingdom.

2. Insecurity struggles to trust.

There is this crazy moment in 1 Samuel 24 where David and his men are on the run from Saul and they are hiding in a cave. Saul just happens to come into the cave to go to the bathroom without realising that his self-made enemy is hiding in the recesses of that very same cave. While sparing his life, David sneaks up and cuts off the corner of Saul’s robe. Saul had no idea that David was even there. Later David goes to Saul and shows him the fabric and says, “I had the opportunity to kill you but I didn’t because I am still loyal to you.” (Paraphrased)

Even after David’s show of loyalty, Saul still doesn’t trust him and pursues David once again.

Insecurity struggles to trust because it sees everyone as rivals and adversaries.

3. Insecurity fights for position.

Insecurity says, I have to fight to get my place and I have fight to keep my place. Insecurity says, I have to look out for me because no one else is going to. Insecurity says, it’s me against the world.

Insecurity fails to see that you aren’t in your spot because of anything you have done – you are there but by the grace of God. And if it is by the grace of God then you don’t need to fight for it because nothing you do can get it in the first place.

Just like God called and anointed Saul – God has called you and anointed you!

For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (AMP)

We need to understand this truth:

The key to seeing that purpose and promise play out is not in your potential, it’s not in your gifting, it isn’t in your ability, or your talent – it is your wholeness.

We have to understand that the enemy will do everything to keep our brokenness dormant so that he can avoid us becoming delivered from it.

God’s plan for your life is too important for you to get trapped in insecurity. Lets be people who are willing to fight this battle well.

Now, go out there and live like you believe it.

I have separated this post into two parts as there is just too much to talk about. Part two coming very soon, including some tips on overcoming insecurity.

Before there was Sunday, there was Friday.

Do you remember what it was like growing up as a child in those pre and early school years? For most children life starts out pretty optimistic. They have a positive view of the world. Kids are full of hope and big dreams. They are going to be a princess or a superhero, a professional football player or a policeman! They walk around most of the time, believing that “everyone loves me and anything is possible!”. And why wouldn’t they?

Our eldest son, Judah, has always been super optimistic about the world around him. He sees the best in everything and everyone. He lived, for most of his early years, in his imagination. He believed he had laser eyes and could fly – like he really believed he could!

With that in mind, Judah loved the Narnia movies. After watching The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe we had to have many sword fights where the loser would be brought back to life by using the “Healing Cordial” that Lucy gets given by Father Christmas. Just a little drop and away we go! The fight continues.

Well, one day, when I was hugely pregnant with our second boy, Rocky, we discovered a mouse in our house. Now this mouse used to give me nightmares and Steve was instructed to get rid of it any which way he could. But we just could not catch this mouse. So we had to resort to the tried and true snap and trap, old school mouse trap. Well it only took a day or two and Steve entered the garage to see poor little mousy was no more. However, before he could close the garage door and discretely dispose of him, Judah walks in behind him to see the mouse.

You should have seen the look on his face. Then with child-like faith he says, “But we will just give him healing cordial aye?” And there it was, the conversation we knew we would one day have to have. The one where we explain to him that healing cordial wasn’t going to work this time.

Let’s be honest, we all face moments like this.

It’s as though we have gone round the back of Disneyland and seen Mickey with his head off, having an argument with Donald.

It’s the moments in life that threatened to rock our faith. It’s the moments when our childhood faith is tested by real life adult happenings. It’s the moments when we begin to question things, when we no longer have all the answers and uncertainty creeps in.

It’s those moments where we feel like giving up, like we are just not sure how we are going to get through. We don’t see the light at the end and right now the pain we feel seems like too much to bear.

Have you ever had those kinds of moments? When you literally shake your fist at the heavens and scream “WHY? WHY GOD WHY?”

On Good Friday I am often drawn to think about the disciples. Because I think that Friday would have been one of those moments for them.

I think that even though he told them this would happen and even though they knew the prophesies, I don’t think anything could have prepared them for their loss.

He was their Saviour, He was their Healer, their Redeemer, their Leader, their Teacher. He was their friend. And on that Friday their pain, discouragement, disappointment and grief would have been overwhelming.

And then they faced Saturday, where I am sure all of their doubts and all of their questions and all of their uncertainties would have been surfacing and wrestling for attention.

On that Saturday, they didn’t have the benefit of hindsight that we have today. We have read the end of the story, we know the punchline, we know that in two days, Sunday is coming.

But sometimes, the Fridays and the Saturdays in our lives can become so all consuming and so overwhelming that Sunday just seems too far off.

And so the question is, where is God in my Friday or my Saturday?

Three things I hope will be helpful to you:

1. God is at work in you.

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4

It is in the most difficult seasons of my life that I have built the most strength, patience, character and resilience.

God is always more interested in your character than your comfort because he knows that the Fridays and the Saturdays in our lives build character in you that the comfort-zone never could.

Your BEING will always trump your DOING because God is more interested in the process than the progress.

2. God is at work for you.

We recently bumped into a lady that my husband’s family knew many years ago. She began asking Steve what he was up to now and he went on to tell her that he was now leading a large and growing church in our area. She was absolutely blown away, and said: “I can’t believe that you were one of the little baby twins that I used to pray over every week”.

You see, Steve is a twin, and one day his mum was at the supermarket and was having a really tough day. A lady, also just at the supermarket, approached her and said, “Excuse me, but you look like you could do with some help”. She introduced herself and offered her time. So from that day on she would come over every week and just help. She would do laundry and groceries and cooking and nappy changing. And she would pray…over the two little boys who lay sleeping in their cots. Little did she know the journey that would take them on.

After our recent encounter with her I said to Steve that what amazes me about his story was that even though he found faith at 18 years old, God was never absent from his life. From the time he was a baby through his primary and high school years, there were moments like this one where you can clearly see God at work in the background. Strategically orchestrating moments and encounters which have all culminated in making him who he is today.

I don’t know how absent you feel God is in your circumstance but can I reassure you, He is working in the background, behind the scenes to orchestrate moments and encounters that will one day be revealed to you.

3. God is at work through you.

It is your biggest mess that becomes your greatest message.

When the trial becomes the triumph it is less about the circumstance and more about the God who overcame in the circumstance.

There is a passage about another dead man in the bible, named Lazarus. When Lazarus first became ill, his sisters Mary and Martha sent a message to Jesus – “the one you love is sick”. But Jesus didn’t come, Lazarus died, and it wasn’t until four days later that Jesus showed up. (Ever felt like Jesus is a little slow on the uptake?)

Jesus had stayed outside the village, at the place where Martha met him. When the people who were at the house consoling Mary saw her leave so hastily, they assumed she was going to Lazarus’s grave to weep. So they followed her there. When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him,[c] and he was deeply troubled. 3“Where have you put him?” he asked them. They told him, “Lord, come and see.” Then Jesus wept. The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!” 3But some said, “This man healed a blind man. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?” Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them. But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.” Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 4And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!” John 11: 30-44

What I have learnt about going through difficult journeys is that God doesn’t want us to travel them alone. He actually wants us to take others on the journey, that they too may see the miracle.

Sometimes, God asks that we just wait a little longer for our miracle, for our answer, for our resolution. That we might share the journey with someone else. That someone else might see the miracle. That others would see his power working through you.

You can be assured that no matter the circumstance, God is always at work.

Now, go out there and live like you believe it!

The Gap.

I read the other day that insecurity is “the gap between who i am and who I want to be”. But I think that statement simply describes life’s natural journey.

I would, instead, say, “Insecurity is the chasm between who I think I am and who I think I ought to be”.

The battle of insecurity. Something I have had to journey on more than one occasion.

The Promise

In order to understand what I am going to say next we first must understand that God gave a major promise to a man in the Bible named Abram (Genesis 12:1-3). He gave him the promise of a nation. Of many, many descendants. But what we learn about Abram’s story is that it doesn’t happen right away. Abram, at this point, doesn’t even have one descendant, let alone many. But God’s promise still stands. God continues to promise Abram descendants that will outnumber the stars!

Ok, so we are familiar with the promise?

Now I want to introduce you to Abram’s wife Sarai. Sarai is beautiful and Abram loves Sarai. But the thing that Sarai becomes most famous for is the fact that right into her old age Sarai is barren.

We need to understand that in the culture that Sarai was born into her barrenness would have affected her immensely – and not just on the inside. It would have affected her security and significance. It would have brought into question her social status. To bear a child (and more importantly, a son), a legitimate child to be the heir to all of your family inheritance, to carry on the family legacy, history and name – this would have been her primary call, her primary purpose.

But for many years Sarai walked around with the knowledge that she could not do what she knew she needed to do. The shame that would have brought her would have been tremendous.

Sarai knew what it was to feel insecure. Sarai knew that gap between who she thought she was and who she thought she ought to be.

So we pick up our story again in Genesis 16 – where we are about to meet our next character.

Abram’s wife Sarai had not borne any children for him, but she owned an Egyptian slave named Hagar. Sarai said to Abram, “Since the Lord has prevented me from bearing children, go to my slave; perhaps through her I can build a family.” And Abram agreed to what Sarai said.[ So Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar, her Egyptian slave, and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife for him. This happened after Abram had lived in the land of Canaan ten years. Genesis 16: 1-4 (CSB)

In walks Hagar. Here is what we know about Hagar: She is a servant, an Egyptian servant. She has an incredibly low social status. She is pretty much invisible to the world. In fact throughout the story Abram and Sarai both call her “slave girl” – she doesn’t even have a name! By all accounts she is a nobody.

And here in this passage we see she is being used as a surrogate for Sarai. This was a common practise in those days. Near Eastern laws had provisions in them for dealing with issues such as barrenness by using maidservants in this way.

Hagar also knew what it was to have the gap of insecurity work its way into her life. The gap between her perceived reality and what she thought was the dream.

 He slept with  Hagar, and she became pregnant. When she saw that she was pregnant, her mistress became contemptible to her.  Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for my suffering! I put my slave in your arms,[and when she saw that she was pregnant, I became contemptible to her. May the Lord judge between me and you.” Abram replied to Sarai, “Here, your slave is in your hands; do whatever you want with her.” Then Sarai mistreated her so much that she ran away from her.
Genesis 16:5-6 (CSB)

Here is the first moment where we see both Sarai and Hagar’s insecurity open the door for competition and comparison to begin making appearances in their lives.

The Lie

Isn’t it so true that, at any wedding, when the bouquet toss happens all of the friends in the room suddenly become rivals. All of the single girls step up and a fierce competition begins to see who will get that bouquet. Normal social etiquette goes out the window for these few moments and pushing, shoving and hair-pulling become acceptable.

Listen, life deals out its’ fair share of bouquet tosses. I’ve seen it!

Those who were once our friends all of a sudden become our rivals. Those who were once our supporters, providers and our security (like Sarai to Hagar). Those who were once our helpers, partners, our wingmen (like Hagar would have been to Sarai), all of a sudden become our rivals and our competition.

Today, I want to expose the lie that we believe when we enter a bouquet toss. The battle over the bouquet carries with it the lie that we must all battle over the same promise (in this case, marriage). And if she gets it, I miss out.

Sarai and Hagar believed the lie that there was only one promise for one of them.

Competition, comparison and insecurity all believe the lie that there is only one promise for one of us and she gets it then I miss out.

Competition will tell you that it is you against the world – that there isn’t enough sun for everyone, and that others are a threat to your sun!

The Truth

Supporting another’s success won’t ever dampen your own.

What Sarai and Hagar needed to understand was that God had an individual promise for Sarai and an individual promise for Hagar. The promise made to Abram and Sarai was not the only promise God made to this mixed up, dysfunctional family.

Take a look at Genesis 16:9-13. Hagar has run away to the wilderness and as she sits by a spring an Angel of the Lord appears to her (did you get that? An ANGEL).

The angel of the Lord said to her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her authority.”  The angel of the Lord said to her, “I will greatly multiply your offspring, and they will be too many to count.”  The angel of the Lord said to her, “You have conceived and will have a son. You will name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard your cry of affliction. This man will be like a wild donkey. His hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him; he will settle near all his relatives.” So she named the Lord who spoke to her: “You are El-roi,”[f]for she said, “In this place, have I actually seen the one who sees me?” Genesis 16:9-13 (CSB).

Let me tell you what makes this passage very significant and what makes Hagar more significant than she will ever know.

She is in the wilderness. Remember, she is by all accounts, a nobody. She is single, young, female and a slave. And yet – she is visited by an ANGEL OF THE LORD!!!! Do you know how outrageous that is?

Let me emphasise it a little more. Check this out:

This moment made Hagar the first woman EVER to be visited by a divine messenger. This moment made Hagar the first woman to be given a promise of inheritance. This moment made Hagar the first woman to have a conversation with God! And get this…this moment made Hagar the only person in ALL SCRIPTURE to use the name “El-Roi” to describe God. Which means “the God who SEES me”.

God hasn’t just got a dream, promise, call or purpose for one of us. He has got a promise for all of us.

The God of Sarai and Abram is also the God of Hagar and Ishmael.

And don’t even get me started on Sarai.

Then God said to Abraham, “Regarding Sarai, your wife—her name will no
longer be Sarai. From now on her name will be Sarah.[a]And I will bless her and give you a son from her! Yes, I will bless her richly, and she will become the mother of many nations. Kings of nations will be among her descendants.” Genesis 17: 15-16 (NLT)

God changed Sarai’s name.

She went from Sarai – which is derived from the same root meaning as Israel, meaning: “She that strives”, to being called Sarah – meaning Princess, Noble woman and royal standing!

When you go from striving in your comparison and competition to simply standing in your royal nobility you kick insecurity right out the door.

Where insecurity strives, identity simply stands!

Sarah viewed Hagar and her son as a threat to her own son’s inheritance. And Hagar saw Sarah as the reminder of the promise she thought she was owed but could never have.

What they didn’t realise is that God had given Hagar and Ishmael a promise too.

But God replied, “No—Sarah, your wife, will give birth to a son for you. You will name him Isaac,  and I will confirm my covenant with him and his descendants as an everlasting covenant.  As for Ishmael, I will bless him also, just as you have asked. I will make him extremely fruitful and multiply his descendants. He will become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. Genesis 17: 19-20 (NLT)

Neither realised how significant they were because they were too busy looking at someone else’s promise. They both had a promise! And neither one took away from the other.

If I was Oprah Winfrey, I’d say it like this:

You get a promise! And you get a promise! And you get a promise! And you get a promise!!! Everybody gets a promise!!!!

Now, go out there and live like you believe it.