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.
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
I sat on the edge of my seat and listened as the deacon gave announcements. My mind was going a million miles a minute trying to think of a way for this to end well, but I couldn’t see it. The pit of my stomach felt heavy. It was the same feeling I get at the top of a roller coaster, when the anticipation is at its peak and I don’t know if the drop will be exhilarating or excruciating (mostly excruciating). And that was when I noticed the deacon looking in my direction and heard him saying, “Let’s welcome Pastor Grace as she gives the message for us today!”
I had been at the church about six months as the newest associate pastor. I was fresh out of seminary with a master’s degree in world missions but hadn’t made it to the mission field as I had imagined I would. I had never taken a preaching class, but here I was about to take the mic and preach my first sermon.
I wiped my palms down the sides of my skinny jeans, but it didn’t help. I walked to the music stand, laid open my trusty NIV Bible, and proceeded to read Scripture passages for the next twenty minutes, hoping that would be enough to carry the message.
It was embarrassing, a failure — and it happened to be Easter Sunday.
I still cringe when I think about that moment. It’s so deeply imprinted on my memory that now anytime I’m asked to speak or preach, it’s the first thing that comes to mind. And along with it I hear this half-truth: Who do you think you are? You’re not qualified. You don’t have enough experience. You need more training or education to be considered a professional.
I listen to the critic’s voice in my head as if she’s full of wisdom and care for me. It’s easy to understand her logic and to think she’s only trying to spare me from more shame. What she says is partially true: I wasn’t taught to be a preacher. I’ve never taken courses about how to become an excellent speaker. I’ve read some books and listened to some TED talks, but that’s not enough to be considered a professional.
But the critic’s half-truth goes further: If you can’t be a professional, what are you doing? Let others who are more eloquent and knowledgeable do the work of preaching and teaching.
I wrestle these thoughts to their core message, and the lie becomes clear: You aren’t good enough, and you never will be.
The words hurt me where I’m tender. I’m nearly convinced that the lies are true when I remember how many times I’ve heard from God that I am to use my words to lead. He has made that abundantly clear. But in my humanness and doubt, I ask Him one more time, Lord, are You sure?
I sense God lovingly reply, Who are you to say whether My Word is true or not? Am I not the One who created the world and who, even before then, thought of you and all that you would be? Whose voice will you listen to?
He knows I know the answer. I’m His masterpiece, but I’ve counted myself as the one who didn’t make the cut. Because He is the Artist who created me, He knows every stroke of paint, every layered texture, every hidden gift that will unfold as I trust Him and say yes to Him.
So even though my knees still shake and the critic’s voice still whispers lies, the next time I’m asked to speak I step up to the podium, hold the mic, and let His words tell the truth.
Lord, I am Your masterpiece. Even as I say it, I need faith to believe it more. Thank You for the good things You’ve planned for my life from before the beginning of time. When I feel inadequate to step into those good things, I pray that You would be my confidence and that Your Word to me would be the most important qualification I need. Thank You that I can stand tall and firm because You are in me. Amen.
Helen Alfonso says
Excellent message . I’m truly encouraged. Thank you
Brenda M. Russell says
Fear can steal so much from a Believer. I am a Bible Believer and I lost time maturity in our Faith because I listened to the opinions of others or the lack of encouragement. We all need a strong foundation of God’s Faith, God’s Love, God’s Liberty, God’s Word, God’s Patience, God’s Proclamation Over Our Lives, God’s Forgiveness, God’s Wisdom, God’s Grace and God’s Mercy.
I can’t remember when I became aware of becoming God’s Workmanship. But I read that Bible verse and thought to myself, God is the Potter and I am His Clay and He is re-making me. Yes, He planned my life before the beginning of time and now I am on His Potter’s Wheel of Life. So far it has been quite a Journey. Stop and Start Over Again (so many times to grow humility and obedience in my heart), to forge forgiveness in my personality because God has already forgiven me because of the Blood of Jesus Christ. That Forgiveness has started an awareness that all humans need a Lord and Savior (even if they don’t know it), my part to play is to forgive, trust God, pray for Salvation as a free gift for the unbelievers. Now the difficult part (but a command just the same) make the decision to forgive the believers when necessary. It does not release them from their responsibility to God’s plan for their life. God handles all vengeance, He is our “only Judge” because we are not anyone’s Creator or Lord and Savior.
I can see partly why my Christian Journey can take a lifetime. We are constantly being shaped and reshaped and molded into the Character of Christ. Until He returns, we will be found in Faith and being brought to Christian Maturity. That maybe the frustration some believers are having on their Journey. We all want a microwave Journey but it will never happen. God loves us so much that He will never leave us or forsake us. We are never alone, His Spirit lives in our Hearts. Please don’t live with comparison while making your Journey because that won’t work, it causes frustration, doubt and fear.
Let’s remember to sacrifice time and effort to pray for one another (with thanksgiving to God) and the willingness to be kind to one another and even deciding to forgive one another (that never ends). Don’t get in a hurry and don’t have a pity party. Pray and ask God for His Wisdom and Guidance and I believe He will help you.
Please enjoy your day. We are having cool mornings and very cool nights. Autumn is a beautiful season of the year.
Your Sister in Christ
Michelle Stiffler says
Feeling this today, Grace! Getting behind those lies (and the lies under those lies) is challenging, uncomfortable, and yet, so, so freeing. Thank you for reminding the truth is worth fighting for. God equips, He calls, and we obey. And that’s enough.
Ruth Mills says
May we always fight Satan’s lies with God’s truth! Easier said than done so thank you for the challenge to remind ourselves once again we are His work, His MASTERPIECE! Blessings, Grace!
Pearl Allard says
Thank you, Grace. I love those verses and imagine a loving parent assembling a craft for toddlers – all the thought and preparation, knowing full well what the outcome will look like (and having built into the activity the foolproof way to make it look amazing anyway), and then all the clean up afterwards. I remember when my kids were toddlers doing this occasionally when energy and sanity allowed for it. Lol It was worth it for the joy of watching them create. It most impacted me one year, when they were much older already, when I rediscovered many of their preschool creations and turned their joyous, loving contributions into something functional and beautiful – a scrapbook. If I, a mere human, could delight in the pieces of what just looked like a loving mess and turn it into something lovely, how much more will my heavenly Daddy do the same for me? I’m so grateful God allows us to be at whatever maturity we’re at with no pressure to be better and He delights in our offerings of love to Him. Thank you for reminding me of this, Grace. I needed it this morning.
Grace, you don’t know how much I needed to hear these words. Next Friday and Saturday I have been asked to get up and speak a passage from God’s Word at my friends wedding (and the rehearsal).I feel fear and worry when I think about it but I also feel so honored to speak the Word of God in front of family and friends. I want to feel peace and speak God’s Word in love and confidently. For others to hear the Word and feel the love of God. Will you please pray for me? I am praying you feel God’s peace the next time you go up to the pulpit. Thank you ❤️
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Grace so well spoken. What you felt the first time. Was the Enemy speaking to you all those years ago. To say and make you think you are not good enough. I used to feel that in my life with my family. As they all have brains and I have learning disability. I see the world different in so any way to people who are so called Normal. Then one day I don’t know if God spoke it to me or I read it somewhere as I can’t remember. But I do know it was God our there. God said to me. You remember you are faithfully and wonderfully made in my eyes. You are prefect in my eyes. No matter what the world says is wrong with you. God gave me Jeremiah 1 v 5. It says “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I sanctified you. I ordained you a prophet to the nation’s.” I have taken that on board for my life. As it so good to God even knew about me before he formed me in my Mother’s womb and before I was born. That goes for all us. Even with disabilities or no disabilities we can know God know all about us. It was him who make us in our mothers womb. He watch us grow. Then our mothers give birth to us. What love that is. So God cares about me and he cares about you too. As it says in Psalm 139 v 13-16 it says “For you formed my inward parts you covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are your works. And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from you. When I was made in secret. And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of earth. Your eyes saw my substance being yet unformed for me. The days fashioned for me when as yet there are none of them” So I know by theses verses too God loves me just the way I am and he knew all about me before I was convinced in my mother’s womb. So that make me know. I am special to God disabilities are not. I am in God’s eyes as good as people who have brains like my sister’s. So it doesn’t annoy me. If God asks me to do anything for him. He will give me the strength to do it. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xx
Dawn I have never been more proud to hear your story and see and feel your trust in our Lord. You bring joy just by being who God made you to be. We should all be so open and honest and trusting that God knows what He’s doing when He gives us direction to do His will. We are truly the vessels that He uses to fill us up with His truth and share it with those that need to hear His truth.
Bless all of you sisters in Christ as we all have special gifts given to us by our Father to use at His will to bless others and encourage them on their journey.
Gail Noe says
Thank you!!! Love this honest sharing. I receive, I am His masterpiece!
Beth Williams says
Oh those lies we tell ourselves & how easy it can be to believe them. I once heard someone say that since God made us in His image calling ourselves “not good enough, dumb, etc.” is equal to calling Him the same. it is also saying that He made a mistake. We ALL know that God doesn’t make mistakes!
One Sunday at church I was doing simple sign language to music. The music director asked me if I would do sign language for special music. I said yes. Then immediately regretted it. I don’t know sign language that well & don’t like being in front of people as the center of attention. After doing it for a while I got better & now I don’t fret it at all. Simply let the song flow through my fingers. If He gives us opportunities He will help & guide us through them.