In July 1996, I moved into my first apartment at 20 years old. I was an Assistant Manager at Kay Jewelers and ready to take the world by storm. One morning about 6:30 am, my phone rang. On the other end was my District Manager, Jimmy. He asked if I could meet him at my store at 8:30
Instantly, my mind began racing, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was getting fired.
We met at a small table outside of the store where he told me he wanted to promote me to Store Manager in Tucson, about 1-½ hours away. I thanked him for considering me and that I didn’t feel I was ready for my own store. He assured me I was and asked me to trust him.
My answer continued to be ‘NO’ until he asked me to go to Tucson to ‘check out’ the store, meet the employees and see what I thought.
That was fair, I agreed to go.
It was then he began to tell me most of the staff had been with the company at least 10 years and many were over 40 years old. Now I was really intimidated! I had been with the company for 2 years and most of the stores’ employees graduated high school before I was born. I wasn’t prepared for this.
My thought was, I would go to Tucson, ‘check out’ the store and come home. The next morning, I got in my car and headed for Tucson. Just as I got off the freeway, I started to get nervous.
I could feel my stomach starting to turn. Insecurities I didn’t even know I had beg
These words began to build in my head louder and louder. I pulled into the parking lot of the mall. I turned off my car, as my mouth began to water, I opened my door and threw up in the parking lot.
Yep I did.
In a business suit, nylons and heels I yacked in the parking lot. As I moved my car to get away from the evidence, I pulled myself together. I felt anger toward myself for allowing this to get the best of me. Engaging every amount of courage I could, I took a few deep breaths and walked into the mall.
Approaching the store with boldness and confidence, I introduced myself to the current store manager. He seemed like a great guy.
One by one, he began introducing me to his employees. I mentioned that he must be very proud of the team he has built and thanked him for letting me ‘check out’ the store.
At that moment, he handed me the store keys.
I assured him that I wouldn’t need them. Next, he told me he was leaving in the morning for New Mexico to open a new store. This store was mine now. I was closing that night and I would be opening in the morning as the store manager.
I did not feel prepared for what I was facing. I didn’t think I was good enough, old enough or qualified enough.
I was full of self-doubt and terrified of failing.
Have you ever felt that way?
- Maybe for you, it was a job opportunity.
- Perhaps it was that feeling you had with a positive pregnancy test.
- How about the moment you stepped toward something that you were terrified of and faced it anyway.
These are the moments that we can lean into God.
We can depend on His strength, His presence with us to navigate what we don’t feel prepared for.
We are not alone, the Bible tells about a man named Gideon. Like us, he felt unprepared, unqualified, and less than what he thought he should be when God called Him to do something terrifying. Gideon is an example for us that with God by our side, we can do anything He calls us to. Including, the throw up in the parking lot kind of stuff.
Gideon was one of the twelve Judges of the Old Testament he was a meek farmer, from a lesser tribe. After forty years of peace, the Israelites were being oppressed by the Midianites. Israel had fallen into idolatry after God had warned them not to. For seven years God allowed many people to invade the country.
They destroyed the Israelites crops and did not spare a living thing for Israel,
When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”Judges 6:12
At this time, Gideon was anything but a mighty warrior.
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”Judges 6:13-16
Have you ever felt similar to Gideon in your life?
Perhaps you have thought, “If God is with me why is all of this happening?” Rest assured, even when you don’t see Him in your circumstance, He sees you.
God sees your struggle, He sees the things that challenge you, those things that discourage you, and He is with you in it.
Many times in the Bible God reminds His people that He is with them. Strength and confidence come from knowing God is with us. The things we face may be a surprise to us, but they are not a surprise to God.
That day at Kay’s, after feeling like I wasn’t enough, terrified of failing, puking in the parking lot, I approached my first customer. The store was crowded. At that moment, I may not have felt ready to be a manager, but at least I knew how to help our customers.
That same customer, three years later, ended up becoming my husband. No joke.
We have been married for 19 years as of this article. If God hadn’t put me in that uncomfortable position and I not stepped into where God was sending me, I may not have met James. I am thankful Jimmy believed in me; even when I didn’t believe in myself. I ended up working at Kays for 9 years, it was worth every moment of wrestling and doubt.
When you face something that seems bigger than what you have to give, when you feel unprepared, less than, not enough, lean into the exchange we read between God and Gideon.
Mighty Warrior, the Lord is with you. Keep pushing through even when you feel weak, not enough, uncertain of the outcome, GO in the strength you have.
When you are wrestling with self-doubt and are afraid of failing; when you feel unqualified or unprepared, lean into the comfort of knowing the Lord is with you.
This week, let’s RECLAIM our COURAGE that comes from knowing who we are in Christ, the comfort that He is with us, even when we feel unprepared for what is in front of us.
P.S. The rest of Gideon’s story is pretty awesome as well! Check out Judges Chapter 6 & 7 and tell us what stood out to you!