Whats one thing I've overcome this year?
This is the question I was faced with when preparing to leave Benin for Togo. Asking this question has caused me to look back at all the lessons I've learned though this years journey.
Training ended with me learning that I can hear Gods voice and that He does talk to me. In China, Nepal and India I began learning how to spend time with God and rest in His presence, a lesson I am still now learning. In Thailand through going on a Luke 10 journey with nothing but the clothes on our backs I learned that if we trust God and pray about everything then He always comes though for us, but it's in His time not ours! Vietnam brought a breakthrough in reading the Bible, something I had always struggled to make time for and something I spent more time doing in Vietnam than I ever had previously. Malaysia revealed to me the things in my life that distract from spending time with God and reading His word. In Australia I was challenged by our host family who strive to praise God in all of lifes ups and downs, even the death of a father and husband. Returning to South Africa for mid-year debrief I experienced the challenges that a return to normal life will bring when trying to live out a God seeking lifestyle. Debrief ended though with God giving me a fresh revelation of His awesome love for me. This revelation has carried on in West Africa from Nigeria and into Benin where I feel I can finally answer the question I began with, whats one thing I've overcome this year?
During our last week in Benin I was challenged with leading a small team to the capital Porto Novo where we were to minister for 5 days. The fact that I accepted the challenge is a testament to all that God has done in my life this year, 6 months ago I never would have done it! In taking on this leadership role I stepped outside of my comfort zone and had to overcome fear. Fear of failure, fear of not being worthy, fear that my Bible knowledge isn't good enough... Fear of man. What I realised after taking the plunge was that the thought of leading was far scarier than the reality and thankfully God doesn't call the equipped he equips the called. 1 Peter 2:9 tells us we are a chosen people, called out of darkness into His wonderful light. Why? To declare His praises. While in Porto Novo I also preached for the first time ever infront of the church. This is another example of all that God has done this year and how He has enabled me to overcome my fears.
I've realised in looking back that many of the struggles I've had in my Christian walk and during this year have stemmed from fear. Proverbs 29:25 says "Fear of man will prove to be a snare". A snare is something that not only holds you back from moving forward but also chokes the life from you. Thankfully there's good news, 1 John 4:18 says "perfect love drives out fear" and it's no coincidence that God gave me fresh revelation of His love for me right before having to overcome fear.
More than 10 years ago I received a prophetic word that said “with faltering steps and a stammering tongue you will take the word of the Lord to the nations.” This word sparked a desire to go to the nations and ultimately led to me doing Global Challenge this year. We should never doubt the promises of God, as Psalms 145:13 tells us “The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made” even after 10 years!
I don't know what God has planned as I enter the final stretch of this years journey but I know this, it's going to be wild, it's going to be great and it's going to be full of Him.