A new school year was always a special time of year in my life. The excitement of lazy summer days, sleeping till almost noon and endless leisure time had begun to fade away, replaced with the hope of new adventures. Anticipation recharged my summer “fuzzy” brain with exhilaration that a new school year was dawning, and the possibilities seemed endless. One of my favorite parts of a new school year was the “new first-day of school outfit.” Every year school clothes and supplies were purchased as needed, but regardless of the need, a “first day of school outfit” was bought and prepped for this special day. The perfect outfit was searched for to express my personality and style. Trying on my new look brought both excitement and anticipation as I looked in the mirror. This outfit represented more than clothes. It represented a new beginning. So much unknown.
Last year I watched my granddaughter prepare for her first day of 1st grade with the same anticipation. Her special, first day of school outfit was purchased and her bright colored backpack filled with all the items on the special list the school gives you. Her mommy, while preparing Leighton for this new all-day experience, was teary-eyed, thinking about how fast life is going. When I asked my sweet granddaughter how she was feeling about this big moment in her life, she spoke ONE WORD, with an up and down singsong inflection in her voice… “NERVOUS.” As I encouraged Leighton that she would be fine, look beautiful, and have an amazing adventure this new school year, I thought about the feeling of nervousness that we all experience when facing something new. If you’ve been nervous, then you are human.
September is here, and I and my team are in the final stages of preparations for our Created for This Conference. Many times, internally I hear myself speak the word nervous in the same singsong inflection that my granddaughter spoke it, and I smile inside. This is my first conference where I am responsible for the outcome, so I should experience a little nervousness, right? Will you like me? Will I be a good leader? Will I say something stupid? You know, all the things we all think internally when we have conversations with ourselves. If you are like me, it usually isn’t a “life-building” conversation!
Thankfully, there are lots of others that I can look to who have faced this same emotion and have seen the faithfulness of God come through. Proverbs 20:24 NLT says, “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way.” When we try to understand everything that needs to take place and how it is all going to come together, we feel nervous to be sure! So how do we keep going when we are experiencing nervousness? Offer what we have to Jesus and allow him to take our contribution and expand it for HIS glory.
Can you relate to the little boy with his lunch? Do you remember the story in the book of John, chapter six? The disciples had spent a lot of personal time with Jesus, learning from Him and watching him. Wherever Jesus traveled, he attracted people! On this occasion, not only were the disciples around Jesus, but there was also a huge crowd that was following him. Jesus saw the crowd and asked Philip if there was a place to purchase bread to feed all the people. Interestingly, it says that “Jesus already knew the answer and was testing Philip.” Philip, exasperated, said even if he worked for months, he wouldn’t have enough money to purchase bread for a crowd this size. Then Andrew, one of the disciples said, there was a little boy there with a small lunch of five barley loves and two fish, noting that it was impossible to feed the crowd with such a meager amount. But God! The math didn’t make sense, but when that little boy offered his lunch, the miracle began. With that small lunch, more than 5,000 men were fed along with women and children, and there were leftovers!
Did you ever stop and think about the mother of the little boy? I often smile at the thought of that mommy preparing a small lunch for her child. She did more than preparing lunch for her son, she also prepared her son to share that lunch. As mothers, we have the opportunity of a lifetime to teach our children principles that can change the world. There would be no miracle without the willingness of a child to let go of what he had, with no promise of provision for himself. Susie Larson, one of our speakers for the Created For This conference, said this, “Things change all around us when we choose radical obedience instead of selfish indulgence.” Such a God word! The unnamed little boy chose obedience to Jesus when Andrew asked for his lunch, and things changed for the crowd. He was a large part of the miracle though he was a small part of the crowd. I bet he was nervous!
In our lives, our posture needs to be the same as that little boy. We live open-handed toward God and give him what we have. We are a small part of what God wants to use for the miracle that HE is bringing, and most likely we experience nervousness. The questions are always there in our minds. Are we enough? Smart enough, spiritual enough, good enough for the God-sized assignment He has given us. The truth may surprise you. We are not, because it’s not about us. God has placed something in your hand today that He wants to use for His glory. Just open your hand and allow God to do the rest.
The scripture in Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” You and I may be nervous, but the possibilities are endless when we posture ourselves correctly.
So today, what is in your hand that you can offer to Jesus?
A little nervous, but excited to see God glorified with my little lunch.