Canada celebrated the late Queen Victoria’s birthday last weekend. I celebrated, too, by turning off my computer and escaping for two days alone with my husband. It was so restful that I’d be tempted to do it again this weekend if I wasn’t speaking in Edmonton!
While on this mini-retreat, I played Scrabble, reflected, and read. The book I’d picked up was titled Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones. The content didn’t capture my imagination and whisk me away to another place and time, but it did challenge me to think about how I prepare my messages. Over and over, it reminded me to focus on one single thought rather than dispel too much information. Good stuff. I recommend this book to anyone who does public speaking.
Anyway, I returned home on Monday evening. Early the next morning, I settled into my black leather loveseat, coffee and Bible in hand. “What do You have for me today?” I asked the Lord as I opened my journal and wrote the day’s date.
These are the verses I read: “In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered and set me free. The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Yes, the Lord is for me, he will help me” (Psalm 118:5-6).
I read these Scriptures with a question in mind: What single thought grabs me? The answer came back: “The Lord is for me.” The statement is simple but life-altering! Imagine!
God – the One who spoke the universe into being – is for us!
God – the One for whom nothing is impossible – is for us!
God – who conquered death once for all – is for us!
Sometimes we think of God as the big guy who sits in the heavens and hovers over us with a baseball bat, watching for our failures and waiting to clobber us for doing wrong. But these Scriptures paint a much different picture.
God is for us. He loves us. He died for us. He cheers for us, like a parent in the grandstand cheers for her child who runs the bases after swinging the bat and hitting the ball. He wants us to succeed, to shed the gunk that weighs us down—fear, unforgiveness, anger, shame, and the like—and run with endurance and success the race that is before us.
Tonight I’ll be speaking to a group of nearly 400 women. Tomorrow evening I’ll speak to another group the same size. I’ll be honest—I feel nervous. What if I mess up during my presentation? What if I forget my train of thought? The possibility makes my heart ker-thump and sets butterflies loose in my tummy.
But then I remember this single, life-altering thought: The Lord is for me. I’ll meditate on it as I drive to the venue, and throughout the evening as the clock ticks toward my time on stage. The Lord is for me. He will help me. The Lord is for me. I will not fear.
Take this single thought and make it your focus for the day, my friend. Then take a moment and tell us how it applies to you.
I am taking your advice and making this a focus statement for the next few weeks.
Being raised in a strict fundamental home, I often think that I have to do everything just right for God to bless me, my family and my ministry. When the truth is that it has nothing to do with me.
I have that book. Another great one for use in ministry is John Maxwell’s “Everyone Communicates – Few Connect”.
Hey, Deanna and Allison! I’m going to post a very simple blog on Friday re: this focus statement. God has really been encouraging me through it. Can’t wait to share it. Very simple but oh, so powerful!
The Lord is for me-I will not fear…LOVE this one 🙂