My eyes flitted around the room as I tentatively started to raise my hands. The conservative denomination in which I was raised frowned upon public displays of worship, so I had never lifted my hands. As my hands slowly reached higher, though, I felt a freedom and release that I have never experienced previously. Thursday night at the Speak Up Conference, for the first time , I raised my hands, sang completely to the Lord and worshiped Him from my inmost soul. Do you have inner constraints that have limited some aspect of your life also? Let’s talk about what it means to tear off the emotional shackles that restrict us, spiritually and in every other aspect of life, so that we can fully live.
Last weekend I attended the Speak Up Conference hosted by Carol Kent, and it changed my life in unexpected ways. Since I am starting my speaking and writing ministry, I thought that I would leave overwhelmed with details about running a successful business. Don’t get me wrong, I did learn very valuable tips for my ministry, but I never anticipated the spiritual blessing and personal growth that would happen. Here are the three biggest takeaways that I learned to help me let go and live fully. I think they can help you also.
Stop worrying about what others think
We live in a society that judges us. Especially as women, we feel the need to look a certain way in order to feel accepted by others. We want to be approved and liked for who we are. On the surface, there is nothing wrong with being accepted and fitting in, but we need to be careful that our self-esteem isn’t based on that. As I mentioned earlier, I was raised in a very conservative tradition. As a competitive perfectionist, I excelled at following the rules. I never wanted to do anything that would attract negative attention or receive judgement, so I have always been very careful not to stand out in any way. Now, though, those inner limitations can prevent me from “letting go” and fully experiencing an event. It was a break through for me when I fully worshiped at the Speak Up Conference. I let go of my reservations and sang for God without caring what anyone else thought – and I am sure those around me could hear how off-key I was singing :). I am not advocating being rebellious, but if you feel that God is leading you to do something then you should put your entire soul into it, regardless of what others may think.
You are appointed and anointed
Becky Harling delivered the powerful key-note address on Thursday night to start the conference. She spoke about the life of Esther. Esther was a very ordinary girl in a horrible situation; yet, God had appointed and anointed her to do an amazing thing for Him and His people. We have also been appointed and anointed by God. You are special to God and He has chosen unique things for you to do. But this is where the urgency comes in. Esther 4:14 (NIV) says, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” If we choose not to follow God’s leading for any reason – maybe we are too scared, too busy or too insecure to step up and chase the dream He has planted in our soul – then He will find someone else to do it. God’s works will not be limited by us, but we can limit our blessing and our involvement. Friend, if God has given you a mission, don’t be afraid to follow Him and do it!
The Speak Up Conference brings in publishers, literary agents and other ministry experts that attendees can schedule personal appointments with during the conference. I was thrilled to have appointments with four publishers and one literary agent on Saturday. After attending a session with another agent, though, I signed up for a meeting with her also. A half hour before this appointment, I started reviewing my “elevator speech” and pacing nervously around the hall. I got myself so worked up that when someone asked me what my book was about, I just stared at her blankly, hardly forming words. I am sure that I looked like a bumbling idiot, and I felt even worse. Amazingly, I got through the meeting and had a positive experience with the agent, but I approached the next set of meetings in a very different way. Saturday morning, I did not even let myself think about the meetings ahead of time. I went to morning devotions and again “let myself go” in worship. I was able to give the meetings and their results to God and relax completely. I started those meetings with an entirely different attitude. I wasn’t nervous, instead I was excited to see what God would do. It was no longer about my performance; it was about God. When stressful times come for you, let me suggest that you do the same thing – pray, trust God with the results, and then relax! It changes your entire experience!
As I looked around the conference room, I realized that all of us are the same. We are all, to some extent, scared and insecure about this new venture, but we are on the same mission. We are trying to serve God and do the work He has given us. Even if you are not a speaker or writer, you have your own mission and unique calling from God.
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