Those battles are not really what I'm talking about, though. The battles I mean are the ones that wear you down, day after day, from the constant war that's happening inside. Some might call it angels vs demons. Some might call it feeling torn between two ideas/decisions/stances. I call it exhausting. And defeating. And universal.
There is some comfort in the fact that we all struggle. But it's easy to forget that my struggles that affect my life are any less important that someone else's. In fact, if you were to line mine up with someone else's it would pale in comparison in importance. Nonetheless, it is important to me. It is a part of me. It is me.
My particular battle has been going on for a very long time. I am able to quiet it most times, but sometimes it rages back and leaves me sore and wounded. Defeated. Other times I win a small victory and walk with my head high for a few days or weeks. But then a new facet emerges, or a new challenge presents, and I am back to square one. At the bottom of the mountain once again.
You're dying to know what my battle is, aren't you?
It's confidence. Sort of. Here is my battle: I know I am good enough. I know I am talented. I know I am liked. But in my case, this knowledge means nothing to me. What good is knowing how good I am if no one else accepts me for it? In particular, my struggle is with music. I love music. I'm grown up in it and around it, loving it, using, pursuing it (although not in the traditional sense), and worshipping through it. I fought against a call to use it as a ministry for years. I didn't even recognize that longing I felt when I heard certain songs was a call to use it. I fought because at the same time my spirit was longing to minister with music, my mind was paralyzed with fear, and my body was physically ill at the thought.
Over the past three years I've taken an active role in defeating my fears. I joined the choir at my church, which is huge and intimidating. Then I joined the orchestra. Not as huge, but even more intimidating. After a year in the orchestra, and some confidence gained by the acceptance I feel in that group, I felt compelled to ask about joining a praise team. It's a smaller group of singers that ministers on stage on a rotating basis and is more visible. Auditioning for that was a HUGE victory over my fears. In fact, asking to be considered for audition made me sick to my stomach. But I did it anyway. Stifling a Spirit prompting had left me unfulfilled in the past, and I was tired of that feeling of missed opportunity. I was accepted to a praise team, and have been serving and enjoying it for about 18 months now. In that 18 months, I was asked to sing a short solo. The thought absolutely terrified me. Which made me mad, because that is exactly what I feel God has called me to do. See the struggle? I am asked to do something that I want to do with every fiber of my soul, and it terrifies me. I muscled down that sick feeling and did it. Shortly after I was asked to sing a duet. Just me and one other person on stage by ourselves. Again, I was terrified and excited at the same time. This time though, in order to defeat the fears I gave it up to God. I had to. I couldn't climb that mountain by myself. He reminded me of the words of the song, and the reason I was there. To glorify Him. To lead others to worship Him. Not to be seen. Not even to be heard. Just to glorify Him. I was still extremely nervous but I did it. I can't say how it went, because I haven't seen it. And that is where I am now.
That was 6 months ago. I still feel immense fear at the thought of singing by myself. I also still feel a very strong call to minister through singing. And I still get Spirit promptings that say, "This one. Sing this one. You can do this, and the message will glorify Me." I have only acted on that one time. That was 4 weeks ago. I've heard basically nothing back from the "powers to be," which is discouraging. Those voices that speak louder than the Spirit have been talking to me a lot in the last week especially.
You aren't important.
You aren't wanted.
You aren't good enough.
You aren't accepted.
Just asking to sing the song was a huge victory for me. It sapped my energy for an entire day. I actually had the shakes. So I am giving this one up to God too. I followed the Spirit's prompting. I've been obedient. Now my focus is on defeating the voices of the Deceiver who cast doubt in my mind. I am once again at the bottom of the mountain. But I know this:
I am talented. It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decided which gift each person should have. 1 Corinthians 12:11
I am good enough. For God so loved the world [even me!] that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
I am loved. How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:7
I am accepted. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12
All I want to do is lead others to the worship I feel in my heart and soul when I sing. When and if that happens is not up to me. I am a tool in the hands of the Creator of music. I am putting my fears in His hands, and my doubts, and my discouragement. All of me.
Take that, Deceiver.