What happens when you don’t have any faith in yourself?
Life seems desperate, lonely and mad at times. You feel like a failure regarding every aspect of the daily grind. You are spinning around in a world that seems to push against you on all sides. A world that expects you to be a perfect wife, mother, worker, woman… You feel like you don’t matter. Where can you put your faith when you feel faithless?
When you’ve lost faith in yourself, then it’s time to put your faith in Jesus.
Lately I’ve felt faithless. Faithless in myself. I stepped down from a leadership role that I loved doing at church, to work in retail. I stepped away from leading and encouraging teams of people to cleaning/scrubbing dishes/making pots of coffee/smiling when I feel heartbroken and generally feeling exhausted at the end of the day, just to do it all again at home, and feeling like a failure in every aspect of my life, every single day. “Why?” you might be asking me right about now. Why would I leave something I loved to be shoved at the bottom of the pack? And I’m going to tell you this, every single time… God told me to.
God? GOD? God told me to leave a leadership position, that I had potential to move up in, for THIS? Yeah… That’s right. He did. AND that’s precisely when I lost faith in myself and my abilities to be a leader, to encourage those around me, to be a speaker someday, to help be God’s voice in a dark and distant world. Yet, I never lost faith in my God. I still have faith that He will bring us through this, providing more than we ever could know or expect, or even imagine. That He will bring us from glory to glory, and even though I may have no faith in myself or my “abilities” anymore, and I am letting those dreams go… I have complete faith in Him and His plan for my family.
What did God tell me to do, exactly? He told me to help provide for my family.
And so here I am, faithless little old me, following God to provide for my family, so that my children can have greater things and be greater in the Kingdom.
Are you laughing at me right about now? I am laughing a little… Who am I to think that I was meant for greater things? I am nothing. I am dust in the wind. But God. Whew, now He is something special, and I will follow Him to the ends of the earth and back again if He asked me to.
At first I was crushed. I felt worthless. Someone who struggles with worth daily, someone who feels shoved aside so very often, felt once again that she was passed over by God. “He must really not have great things in store… I really am worthless to Him.” And, regardless of my faithlessness in myself or my feelings of worth, I trust God implicitly to lead me, and lead me well. I know that what I am doing is for my family and right now, and that is what matters. God has given me this path, and I will follow Him in faith because, surely, I can’t follow myself.
I say, “I am so so tired of building myself back up, all the way from the ground up. I’m so tired, Lord.”
Today, I sit, feeling faithless in myself once again, and I am reminded of Elijah.
1 Kings 19:4-9a (VOICE)
4 He journeyed into the desert for one day and then decided to rest beneath the limbs of a broom tree. There he prayed that his life would be over quickly and that he would die there beneath the tree.
Elijah: I’m finished, Eternal One. Please end my life here and now, even though I have failed, and I am no better than my ancestors.
5 Elijah then laid himself down under the broom tree and entered into a deep sleep. While he was sleeping, a heavenly messenger came and touched him and gave him instructions.
Messenger: Get up, and eat.
6 Elijah looked and found a breadcake sitting over charcoal near his head. There was also a jar of water. He ate the food and drank the water, and then he lay back down.
Often the only thing growing in the desert, the small broom tree has enough substance to save Elijah. This bush, whose limbs grow straight up like a broom standing on its end, offers meager shade; but its oil-rich branches and roots make excellent fuel and charcoal; the thick roots travel deep into the ground and offer both water and fire. God provides for Elijah’s needs—nothing more, and nothing less.
7 The Eternal’s messenger visited him again, touched him, and gave him more instructions.
Heavenly Messenger: Get up, and eat. Your journey ahead is great, and you need plenty of nourishment.
8 Elijah got up and ate the food and drank the water. His body felt strong again, and he journeyed for 40 more days and 40 more nights to Horeb, God’s mountain where Moses received the Ten Directives. 9 When he arrived at Horeb, he walked into a cave and rested for the night.
Elijah. Even after all the great and mighty things he had done in the name of The Lord, he felt worthless. He began and stopped a drought all in the name of God! What mighty power God had given him. And yet, there he was, feeling downcast and afraid, asking to die. He was depressed. He was feeling pretty faithless.
When he got to Horeb God said:
1 Kings 19:9b (VOICE)
Eternal One (to Elijah): Why are you here, Elijah? What is it that you desire?
He had lost faith in himself, because he was the only one of the prophets left against enemies that were plotting against him. God wanted to know his heart, though, and whispered softly into his soul. God gave him purpose again. God lifted him back up. God rebuilt the broken pieces that Elijah had scattered on the ground. There was no faith in Elijah. There is only faith in God.
Did you know that God wants to know you intimately? He aches to hear the desires of your heart. He wants to know you personally. He loves you, even when you feel faithless.
Whatever happened to Elijah? He was swept up to Heaven in a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:11), after he had accomplished all that God had asked of him. Elijah didn’t put his faith in himself, but he followed God with a power and passion that none could parallel at the time. He fought his inner demons, his feelings of worth, to do powerful things in the name of God. He followed the path of righteousness right up to Heaven. Are you willing to do the same? Am I?
It’s fair to say that we will stumble. It is fair to say that we will lose faith in ourselves time and again. It is fair to say that our hearts are full of deceit. But don’t ever lose faith in God, because he has mighty things in store, even if it’s “just” providing for your family. Even if it’s to lead your children well. Even if it’s to encourage just those few coworkers that are around you day in and day out. Even if it’s to speak into the lives of your children, your family or your friends. Even if it’s to be God’s voice over your own life… Those are the great things God asks of us. My dreams of being “more” may be dashed, but I am confident that I am doing as God has asked, and I am fully prepared to continue on this path, because this is what God asked of me. I do not intend to lead, encourage or speak outside of my tiny little sphere, unless God leads me there, which He may never do. My faith is no longer in myself or in my dreams or desires, but entirely in God and His dreams and desires, because His ways are perfect, and I trust in Him.
When you no longer have faith in yourself, it’s time to listen to Jesus…
Mark 5:41c (MSG)
“Little girl, get up.”
It’s time. It’s time to GET UP and have faith in Him.