Hey Shy Sister, I SEE YOU!!!! I hear your heart beating a hundred beats per second as you consider attending that upcoming event...I do. I get you because I was you and if I am honest, I still get butterflies in my core but thank God they don't feel like 100 lb butterflies!
For years upon years, the thought of attending sleepovers, friend dates, and eventually Women's Retreats terrified me. My insecurity kept me shackeled. My shyness kept me hidden. My introvertedness kept me still eventhough my heart was screaming inside for courage and bravery to participate and have the type of Friends you see on TV and in the movies.
Growing up, my physical appearance crippled me. I thought my legs were wonky, my nose was too big for my face, and my ears were too similar to Dumbo's. Everyone else was beautiful and I felt ugly. There was a point in my life I had braces and severe cystic acne. My skincare routine was as long as applying make up beginning in 5th Grade through....college. Never in a million years would my younger self have imagined one day I would not only walk out the front door with a naked face, but that I would go Live on social media and bare my skin to teach skin care and make up. Glory to God He is a miracle worker!! I used to be terrified to sweat for fear my make up would smudge or wear off. I was terrified of pool parties or game days for the same reason. Not to mention PE in school. Hugging someone was also nerve-racking as you can imagine...you're getting up close and personal and you might accidentally wipe your 99 layers of make up off on their blouse. *Tip: Setting powder, side hugs and chin up for bear hugs! You're Welcome!
The thought of attending a sleepover, at every age, was...well, it was NOT an option. I just didn't.
Until God brought me Beth well into my adult life. This obvious extrovert Sister Friend asked me if I was attending the Women of Joy Conference, a 3hr drive from Houston and I politely said No. I didn't really have the money to do the event, gas, hotel and food but the MAIN reason was, insecurity. If you've been a Christ Follower for a while, you know as well as I do, God was really the One inviting me. She says, " You have to come with us. You can ride with me and I have room for 1 more in my hotel room." I didn't know how to get out of it. I said..."Okay."
This one Yes was pivotal in my life. If you imagine the Domino designs people create on the floor with intricate swirls and patterns where each Domino leans over to touch the other, this was the tap of the first Domino. Since then, God has challenged me to step out in faith, leaning onto Him trusting that within my own creative design He has mapped out for me, He has everything lined up and I do not need to fear.
This is the essence of my Encouragement Ministry. The reason I share authentically from my heart, is If we allow insecurity to keep us hidden, shackled to fear, we won't be fully living and if we aren't living, we are dying and if we are dying, we aren't shining the Light of Jesus who are in desperate need of LIFE! We are leaving people in the place we want to not be in ourselves, living a life on repeat: eat, sleep, work, repeat. It feels robotic and meaningless. Our soul feels numb as we play small and hide our Light. If we can be humble and brave enough to realize it, we are a Domino piece in someone else's life and if we are standing too far away, when they lean our way, the fall into an empty space. How wonderful when we stand close enough to touch the life of the person next to us! When iron strikes iron, sparks happen and even wet wood ignites.
Here are 4 Simple Steps you can take to Prepare Yourself to Get Out There and Attend the Event, Workshop, Whatever it is with our Overwhelm and Anxiety...
1.) Spiritually Prepare Yourself
Seek first God's will. Pray for peace in your spirit and trust His provisions. He is not going to bring you to a place and ask you to lean on Him only for Him to move away and you fall onto an empty space. He is near and He holds you close. Soak yourself in Scriptures. As you get ready, turn up your favorite Worship. Write out your favorite verse and stick it in your purse, or grab a little cross or rock, a trinket, something small you can pray with and stick it in your pocket to hold for the moments you feel insecurity try to temp you. Another wonderful opportunity is to as your friend to pray over you and cover you during your time away. Such a sweet gift and it allows us to boast in the strength of our Lord and Savior.
2.) Physically Prepare Yourself
The week before I know I have a big thing coming up that has me nervous, I prepare my body. It will look different for each of us. For me, I will make the effort to walk everyday and drink lots of water to hydrate my stress deplete. I will make sure I am taking my vitamins daily and especially create space to be still and know that God is preparing me and blessing my actions to armor up and bring my Light out from under the bushel. Of course, simple things like doing your nails or giving yourself a facial if that makes you smile.
3.) Emotionally Prepare Yourself
It sounds silly to practice but it's helpful muscle and mind memory skills if you are worried about introducing yourself or having conversations. Get outside and chat with the neighbors, ask your Cashier how her day is going. Ask a friend out to lunch or do a Face Time chat with you to catch up on life. Break out of the subconscious thinking that you aren't enough, you're not good at talking or that you don't know what to say. You do! Remember, God has prepared you and you need to be still and know He's near.
4.) Buddy Up
I love love love the Buddy System even as an adult. I am blessed to be married to an extrovert so hiding behind him all these years has been a nice enabling blessing for me, lol. So this is where I had to grow the most but cold turkey doesn't work for me and I realize I am much more courageous when I am accountable and I am able to learn by observation. So, instead of going alone, I would invite or partner up with another Sister. Letting go of pride and fear of judgement, I share my nerves with her, letting her know this is where I am leaning into her courage and care for me. I share honestly so she is aware I am stretching myself and she will know where to stretch me a little or back me up if she feels my overwhelm. This has been such a great gift, being able to observe by way of mentorship up close, in real time, in real moments and learn and practice confidence and public posture. She is your iron that will sharpen you when you lean against her and she is ready for it.
When I consider stepping out of my comfort zone, I am reminded it's not about me. I am here as an instrument of God to share His heart for them, thru mine, so I must be open to His flowing through me.
Fear keeps the focus on us, while God keeps us focused on others.
The opportunity to bless, empower, encourage, uplift, support and serve someone else in a Divine appointment is such an exhilarating and humbling experience. To sit front row and watch God work through someone who has considered herself dull, inadequate and small, is the highest high the human soul can feel. But God.
If you struggle with insecurity with your outward appearance can I speak a word of truth over you? You ARE absolutely beautiful. Some women look like models even with a naked face and messy bun but if their soul is not lit up, they appear dull and toxic. Pay attention to who you are drawn to and why. for me, it's neither their title, status or outward beauty...but a woman who's heart sees mine, a women who's energy ignites mine, a woman who stands tall with resilience and peace, unshaken by the opinions of opposition. A woman who loves and fears the Lord is captivating and my soul connects to hers.
We don't need to be accepted into the room. We are already accepted, covered and enough, just as we are! Who's soul can you touch there? Who's wet wood needs a little spark to ignite? Be Her.
Father God, today I am lifting up to you all of us...all of us who have felt small, unimportant, dull, incapable, not qualified, insecure. I am lifting us up into Your mighty transforming presence that at the command of Your Name alone, we have all we need to accomplish the things You have purposed us for, called us to, trusting that You hold us together. We believe Your Spirit dwells with us and that gives us all we need and we can do all things through Your gracious love. Bind the enemy's lies from our hearts and minds Lord. Empty us from all that wonders and fill us with more of You. We believe we are more than conquerors, help us to walk it out by faith. Surround us with courageous and brave women who can help teach us and model for us what living by faith looks like. Give us Your eyes to see and ears to hear. Soak us in your peace. Return to us our joy we let the enemy steal away.
We trust You Lord. Forgive our moments of disbelief. Thank You for Your Grace, it is sufficient for us. You are worthy and we receive You in us to work all things according to Your glory and our good. Thank You for Sisters to gird us up when we fall weary. You are so good. Amen.
If today's encouragement hugged your HEART today, let me know in the comments or drop a Hello in the socials!! Feel free to share with a friend who needs a heart hug too!
This is how YOU get to hug my HEART back!
While it could be a whole Encyclopedia, here's a little Guide with things I have
implemented since 2009 to help me live a life of greater Peace and Joy..
Heart Hugs and Blessings,