I sat in the bleachers, watching my six-year-old daughter begin her gymnastics class. The instructor called out some moves that she wanted the girls to accomplish, and then the first girl in line started the process of steps. I watched as my daughter, only third in line, reached her hands up behind her neck and played with her hair, a sure sign that she was internally overwhelmed and felt self conscious that she didn’t understand what the instructor meant. Across the gym, I had the view of being able to see other girls struggling with different apparatuses, but all she could see was her own inability.
A few weeks later, this same daughter climbed to the top of a tall pole at Family Camp. She walked without hesitation across a high beam before leaning back and trusting the harness and belay ropes to lower her down. She was fearless and courageous.
To be honest, my daughter is so much of what I desired to be—beautiful, smart, and outgoing. She has a fighting spirit that I marvel at. Despite all those admirable characteristics that I wished I had, though, she still hesitates at times. When I see her hands go up behind her neck, I see myself, because I know what it feels like to be unsure. As her mom, I want to come behind her, lower those arms and tell her that she is so capable and she is so loved. I love her even when she feels self-conscious and when she marches forward boldly.
It is so easy to see the truth in those I care for. I see their great strengths and unique characteristics, and I love them. Yet, when it comes to myself, I cannot accept my own personality, and think maybe I’m a bit too dysfunctional for any good. I have thought that I could be so much more useful if I were more outgoing. I have friends who can “woo” people to them and always seem to know how to talk with new people and engage with them well. I stumble over words and walk away wondering if I made any sense.
Might it be true that we cannot see other women around us struggling because we are focused on our own perceived inabilities? Just like my daughter couldn’t see around the gym fully, we can be so turned inward that we fail to comprehend that we aren’t the only ones with hesitations. The more we focus on ourselves, the more we can beat ourselves up and the less capable we feel. I am extremely good at beating myself up.
When my head hits the pillow at night, I run through a checklist of the conversations I had that day and the tasks I have before me—“Why did I say that? What must they think of me? Agh! Can I do what I’ve signed on to do?” It often becomes a downward spiral of discouragement. At those times, I have to speak the truth that comes from His word or put on some music that re-centers me in Him.
Paul Tripp says, “God offers every grace I need to be what I was created to be and to do what I have been called to do.” We were created to love and serve God as daughters of the Most High King. From the shyest of us, to the most outgoing of us, God created each of us uniquely to love and serve Him.
You might be among people whom you feel are better able to carry out what they have been called to do. I’m sure if you asked them, though, they’d be able to voice their own fears and the things that cause them to hesitate. Let me stand behind you today, wherever you are feeling hesitation, and tell you that you are so capable and so loved.
What causes you to hesitate and doubt how God made you?
Have you given thanks lately for your personality? Or have you been beating yourself up and falling into despair?
How can you encourage those around you to walk in their unique capabilities?