Tuesday, August 4, 2015

How to Walk in Your Calling When Your Confidence is Crashing (Part 1)


Just this morning I had a conversation with a woman who is called, but she’s afraid to say it out loud. I know how that feels! This year I’ve tackled the biggest learning curve of my life in writing and releasing my first book.

Not only was it challenging professionally, but it was daunting spiritually. At every turn I wondered, “Can I really do this? Did I hear God correctly? What in the world was I thinking to agree to this?”

I battled fear, anxiety, sleeplessness, insecurity, and comparison. Sometimes I God provided the power to overcome, gut lots of times I felt like I was losing the fight.

I’m guessing… just guessing… but I don’t think I’m the only one that struggles with confidence in her calling and her abilities. The fact that Next Step blog has so many followers but so few commenters tells me that there’s a silent crowd out there wondering if you can just sneak in and listen without having to actually say, “I’m a speaker.”

I know how it feels to just want to hide. The year I joined the Proverbs 31 speaker team I went to a national conference of women’s ministry leaders, and lots of them asked me, “What do you do?” I’d blush and shuffle my feet and squirm, and then I’d mutter under my breath, “I speak.” I was so afraid somebody was going to hear me and then respond, “No you don’t!!”

I reverted to whispering, “I’m an author” this year, but I’m working through it! One of the ways I always learn something new is to teach what I’m learning, so I led a breakout at She Speaks this year called “How to Walk in Your Calling When Your Confidence is Crashing.” I’m going to share lots of that content with you in the next few weeks.

Are you in the silent crowd? This series is for you!

Are you in a season with a huge learning curve? It’s for you too!

Are you called to mentor and lead? It’s for you to share with all the women around you who need encouraging!

This week I wanted to introduce the series and leave you with one little tidbit of hope. (Next week we’ll launch into the practical tips.) When I was in college, I went to a lecture with my education class led by T. Berry Brazelton. Dr. Brazelton was a pediatrician and an expert in child development. We future teachers sat on the edge of our seat for his advice.

Even though that was 20 years ago, one of the truths he shared stuck with me. He explained that before leaps in development, children will often digress. For example, before a child walks, he might stop sleeping through the night. Before she’s potty trained, she may start sucking her thumb again, etc. A big leap is preceded by falling back a few steps.

After studying the ministry path I’ve been on over the past 15 years, I think the same has been true of me. Before God opens a new door or expands opportunity, I go through a time of wrestling and struggle. Sometimes it even extends into the time immediately after.

I’ll talk more about what that’s looked like for me in the next few weeks, but here’s what I want to leave you with today. Are you struggling? Do you feel like your confidence has crashed, ignited, and burned? Have you taken five steps back?

Here’s some hope. Maybe, just maybe God is up to something. Maybe He’s strengthening your faith in the struggle. Maybe He’s refining your character in the fire. Maybe He’s giving you a new skill in the fight of your life.

Maybe, just maybe He’s preparing you for a leap forward.

Hold on to that today as a shred of hope. Even if you can only whisper it, name your calling out loud, and determine today to walk in it.

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  1. Thank you for your encouragement today! I look forward to the series! I am a speaker and an author, and can relate to the fear of declaring what I know to be a calling in my life. I am in the process of writing a book and every doubt and insecurity is coming at me, yet your words reminded and encouraged me. I was also reminded of a sermon I heard Christine Caine give in which she talks about the exact same thing, about the wrestling and struggle that happens before something new is birthed!
    Thank you again for the reminder!

    • I’m cheering you on as you write, Jennifer! I know how hard it is, but God will finish the work He started.

  2. Patsy McWhorter says:

    Your message today really hit home with me. Over 15 years ago God called me to speak while on a mission trip in Brazil. I have never doubted the call but have never acted it. Oh I have given my testimony a few times in churches but that’s all and have only ever told maybe 3 people that God called me to speak. I’ve struggled my whole life with lack of confidence. I have on formal education beyond high school so Satan uses that to convince me I’m not smart enough to be a speaker. I’ve heard over and over that God doesn’t call the qualified but qualifies the called. Somehow I can’t accept that applies to me. I’m not sure why I’m sharing this with you, maybe to just get it off my chest. Thank you for listening. Please pray for me to be obedient to whatever God’s will is for His glory!

    • Patsy,I think sharing it here is the first step to saying out loud, “I’m called to speak!” :) I’m saying a prayer for you as I press reply, and I encourage you to step into the calling God has given you. Can’t wait to here the follow-up stories!

  3. Thanks Amy for “calling me out.” Eventhough I have been speaking and writing for years I STILL have a hard time with saying it aloud. I wil remember you and your sweet words the next time I am asked “what do you do.”

  4. Amy,

    This is lovely and encouraging. The concept of the fumbling regress right before the new step was a new idea for me. Thanks.

    Smiling with you over these words and at God’s sweet spirit,
    Jennifer Dougan

  5. Amy,

    Ok I confess I have been sitting on the silent row reading. Even though I have worked with you through message development I still haven’t embraced or stepped out. Currently I have a couple of events on the near horizon but shaking in my boots with very little confidence. This is coming at the absolute best time!!!

    • Cynthia, I feel your pain. I struggled in the pit of insecurity and comparison for so long. Too long! I know from personal experience that you have a gift, so I want to encourage you to step into it. Trust God to be big enough in and through you. I always pray that I’ll be consumed with love for God and women in the room. It takes my eyes off myself, and suddenly God takes over! Hugs to you!!

  6. Amy,
    Thank you for sharing. Your words resonated with me and I am very excited about the series. Sharing The information you shared from Dr. Brazelton encourages me and lets me know I am on the right track!

  7. Amy, this is such an encouraging post that I have to comment this late at night when I should be sleeping. Yes, it speaks to me about my calling, but God used it even more to encourage my heart because of something that occurred just tonight. It is perfect for my circumstances. God is sooo good! Thank you!

  8. Thank you for sharing what I’ve been thinking! The struggle is real and I love the analogy you used about how our kids develop. I so enjoyed meeting you and working with you at She Speaks 2015. Thank you for your encouragement, insight and your tender, godly heart.

  9. Retired two years now & need to know my calling; I’m feeling five steps behind. Thank you for this message, Amy!

    • I’m thankful we serve a “never-too-late” God! His timing is perfect in your life no matter what. Go, Carol, go!

  10. Debbie Beck-Siddiqui says:

    Amy, I really appreciate the encouragement of your message today. I have been speaking at our MOPS and TEEN MOPS group for 6 years now and this past year I have been hearing God call me to speak for HIM at other venues and outside my home church. I have had tons of doubts and Satan has worked overtime on me, knowing right where to hit me. I just returned from “She Speaks” and really LOVED it and felt God confirming the call on my life to SPEAK!!!! Thank you for your honesty and sharing your own struggles with us; it encourages me to move forward, push through Satans lies and lean into our amazing God!

  11. Thank you for sharing! I’m also a silent watcher currently. I know my call to be a speaker, and alongside it a blogger/writer, however I have no n idea how Good is planning to get me there. I haven’t shared with many people, and the few close friends I have were discouraging. Sharing with strangers had actually been more encouraging. Shortly after clearly hearing God’s call my husband also accepted God’s callto become a pastor. He finished his schooling and we are currently trying to find where God would have us serve. We are struggling in this process, though we both know we’ve been called to serve in this capacity as Pastor and Pastor’s wife. With 2 little ones, one of whom is currently in one of the struggling periods before a leap and very fussy and sick which is never his norm, this was such a poignant reminder. As Gods children we aren’t aware of where we are in the development process, but our Father does! (There is a great book called The Wonder Weeks that delves very specifically into the leaps in the first 2 years of life and what they are developing and when, and goes into depth oN the fussy and stormy periods before a leap.)

    • Crystal, I love that you’re on this path to ministry discovery alongside your husband. Walking the path one step at a time is so hard when I want to see a mile down the road! I’m cheering you on in your faithfulness!

  12. Thank you for these encouraging words- I needed to read this today. I got Part 3 in my inbox but don’t remember receiving the first 2 posts of this series. Recently God shut a door to a ministry that I had poured my heart out on- I was volunteer leader of women’s ministry at my church. For many reasons, He called me away from it, making it very clear when He moved us to a new community about 40 minutes from the church. Since moving I have been struggling with what God wants me to do next- it is really clear what He doesn’t want me to do but I am starting to feel a little discouraged about my next steps.
    Through encouragement of friends and the words in your blog, I am starting to understand that this season is for me to rest and recharge. God is likely preparing me for the next part of our journey together. Now I should just enjoy being with Him and not worry about where I am heading.
    Thanks for your faithfulness to your calling!

    • Jenny, I’m so glad the posts have been an encouragement to you. God has often used times of quiet in my life to remind me that I’m not just a ministry machine to Him. I’m His dearly loved daughter. Praying for you as you soak in His love!

  13. Hi Amy! I always feel like a poser when I say I’m a writer or a speaker. Of course, I’ve only spoken in front of my church, but hey, it’s speaking!

    I have two real, paying gigs lined up for the Spring, and I’m starting to write them. Yikes!!! It’s very daunting, and I wonder why anyone would want to hear me. But I know right down to my toes that this is the place I should be. I’m going to work like crazy and hope just as hard.

    Thank you for your kind support and encouragement. This commenting girl needs it!

    • Ceil, I’m so glad you commented! (And I’m so sorry it took me a long time to reply.) It’s thrilling to hear about your spring speaking engagements. I want to encourage you to step into your calling. It took me far too long to do that, and my audiences suffered because of my insecurity. Having a paying gig is a big deal–really, it means they already think you’re worth it–so own it, and carry the glorious weight of bringing God’s Word to those women. Cheering you on!!



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