About a month ago I received a message on Facebook that read “Hey, Lisa, how are you? Hope you’re doing well. I would like to know about yourself and about your family. Tell me more about your life. What do you do? What’s your hobbies? Looking cute, nice smile. I hope you always smile as now in your future life. Hope to hear from you soon. Take care. Keep safe.”
Upon first reading the message on my phone; I did not notice that it was addressed to Lisa. I just read it as if it were addressed to me, Sheri. As I read it the second time I realized that it was, in fact, addressed to Lisa.
So, was this message intended for Lisa and sent to me? Was this message actually intended for one of my daughters in the picture with me? Hmmm. But where did the name Lisa come from? I have no idea.
One thing I do know for sure is; I’m not Lisa.
This reminded me of a time when, Jamie, first asked me to sing on the worship team while Dana King was out. Anyone who knows Dana, knows; those are mighty big shoes to fill. As I sat with Jamie about to let him hear me sing for the first time; I said, “Well; I’m not Dana.” Jamie replied, “I don’t want you to be Dana; I want you to be Sheri.” Whew; that was a relief!
Several months ago it was brought to my attention that someone close to me had made some decisions that could adversely affect the rest of their life if they continued on in the manner in which they were going. Prior to this knowledge; God had laid it on my heart to encourage someone who I barely know. I felt that specific words of encouragement, at a specific time, were meant for this person. After learning, though, that such a thing could be happening with someone very dear to me without my knowledge; I doubted my ability to hear God’s voice correctly. How could I trust myself after neglecting someone I care so much about?
It was the last few weeks of school. I was driving to pick up my daughter, Kara. I was angry and disappointed with myself. How could I even think that God could use me to encourage someone with whom I had such little contact with, when someone exceptionally close to me was sinking so deeply right in front of me; and I couldn’t even see it? Why would God not show me this if I could really hear His voice? Maybe if I had been paying closer attention this would not have happened.
I’m literally explaining aloud to God as to why there is no way He could possibly use me, seeing as to how I have failed those closest to me. “I should have seen the signs, God!” “How could I not have noticed?” “Did you try to tell me and I wasn’t paying attention? Did they try to tell me and I wasn’t paying attention?” I am so distraught over this. I know if anyone were to see me rationalizing to what looked like thin air; they would think I am absolutely nuts!
I have cried so hard for so long that my eyes have begun to swell. By now I am to the point of sniffling quietly. There is no other sound in the car. I feel that I hear the word “CD”. At first I ignore it; because I have no faith in anything that I hear at all anymore. I am so discouraged. I feel that I hear “CD” again. I finally give in. I push the “on” button on my stereo and these words to the song “You Are So Good” by Jamie Nunnally begin to play “You’re not looking for perfection. Your desire is connection. So, now I’m changing my direction. You’re calling me. You’re drawing me closer. God Almighty, Lord of Glory. You are so good to me, so good to me.” (Just so you know; this is not at the beginning of the song. This just happened to be where the song started playing.) I begin to sob, not cry, sob.
“Ok, God”, I say, in between my sobbing , “so I don’t have to be perfect; and you just want a relationship with me. Is that what You are saying?” ”I’m trying to hear Your voice, but how can I trust myself if I am letting those down who are closest to me? I’m trying to let You use me, in whatever way You will. I just can’t seem to get things right. I’m sorry”, sobbing even harder now. “I’m really trying.” I’m so sorry.” Jamie’s song is still playing, I begin to try to sing “You are so good to me, so good to me.” “Your thoughts are higher. Your ways are better.” My voice is cracking and my nose is completely stuffed up. I am so glad I am alone in the car. I continue to try to sing, “Your love is deeper. I’m bound no longer.”
Joyce Meyer says in her book, “The Love Revolution”
When I fail, I ask God to forgive me and start fresh; and I believe that is the best policy. We spend far too much time feeling bad about ourselves because of the mistakes that we make-and that is a waste of time. Only God can forgive us and He is quite willing to do so if we will simply ask Him. If we aggressively think about what we can do for others there will be no room in our minds for wrong thoughts.
I wish that I could tell you that after that moment in the car; I had no more doubts whatsoever; but in all honesty; I can’t do that. I still struggled. I would feel confident one moment of what God was asking me to do; then in the next; I was struggling again with doubt.
The following week, as I continued to seek God, in some quiet time alone with Him; I felt drawn to a specific page in Joyce Meyer’s book “Battlefield of the Mind” which read,
“Here is another good thought to think: I believe God. I believe He is working in me no matter what I may feel or how the situation may look. The Lord has begun a good work in me, and He will bring it to full completion.” (Philippians 1:6 Philippians 2:13) It is in this manner that you can effectively use your weapon of the Word to tear down strongholds. I recommend that you not only purposely think right thoughts, but that you go the extra mile and speak them aloud as your confession.
Remember, God is delivering you, little by little, so don’t be discouraged and don’t feel condemned if you make a mistake.
Be patient with yourself!”
Just as Jamie didn’t expect me to be Dana; and I am definitely not Lisa; God doesn’t want or expect us to be anyone but the person He created us to be. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
When we fail or make mistakes, and we will; He doesn’t want us to waste time feeling condemned. Romans 8:1 We should just ask for and accept forgiveness and allow God to bring healing.
Quite honestly, I believe my fear and lack of confidence to pursue what God was asking me to do stemmed from my quest to attempt to do things on my own, in my own strength rather than rely totally on God. No, I’m not perfect; and if I wait until I reach perfection to do anything for God, then it will be too late. Jamie’s song “Now Is The Time”, written with Jim Courtney, that is on his new CD Hope Remains, just released today, inspired me to “Make today the day! To step aside and leave my independence and pride! And make it all about Jesus!”
John 15:5 For apart from me you can do nothing.
May you make today the day that you stop putting things off and make it all about Jesus! May you not allow any situation, circumstance or person cause you to doubt who God created you to be or the purpose in which He has called you to. And may you be extremely blessed,
Sheri Haskins : )