Last year when the world seemed to shut down and that nothing would ever be the same, I saw so much disappointment and heart ache. I encouraged my students to remember why they do speech and debate. Their assignment- write a devotional! Why do they want to be good communicators? Who are they doing this for? How did God use them this year? And do they really think it’s all over?? This fall, as we enter a new season, I want you to remember that speech and debate may look a little different, but I can guarantee you, I agree with my student, the Lord still wants to use you…
Growing up, I loved going to the neighborhood pool at any chance I could. During the summer, my dad was at work until around 5pm, so I typically begged my two older sisters to take me swimming earlier in the day. My oldest sister has OCD and anxiety, as well as a tendency to overthink most scenarios she could possibly engage in. So, as you could guess, her response to my constant nagging to take me swimming was often a hard “NO!” My older sister, was and still is one of the sweetest, most thoughtful people you could ever have the privilege of meeting. She didn’t avoid the pool because she didn’t want to spend time with me, rather she didn’t want to leave her safe space, her comfort zone.
What the average person couldn’t see in my sister’s everyday interactions were the catastrophic thoughts constantly consuming her life. When she said “NO!” to going to the pool, she was thinking, “What if I look away while my little sister swimming, and she drowns, and I can’t save her? What if she falls on the pool deck and breaks her arm? What if someone gets hurt and I’m responsible? What if people judge me for my bathing suit, or the way I look?” My sister let those thoughts consume her, and never came close to the edge of her comfort zone.
Looking back on my childhood, I have a lot of fond memories with my parents and other sister. I remember going on spontaneous drives after hours spent basking in the sun, or having diving competitions right before dinner. I remember biking around the neighborhood, racing my sister back home, and collapsing with exhaustion in a heap on the front lawn. I remember picnics, and golf cart drives, and swinging on the playset. I wish I had more memories like that with my older sis. But instead of an abundance of fond memories, I’m left with a void created by a comfort zone. Thousands of opportunities stolen by the fear of taking a risk. This isn’t uncommon in our culture, either. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Humans are scared of the unknown, to the point that we will do almost anything to avoid it. But what if that changed? What if instead of living our lives in fear, we lived them freely?
Joshua 1:9 says Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
What holds us back from achieving our true potential, and living our best life, is the very thing God tells us to let go of. Our fear. Our fear of leaving our comfort zones. Our fear of failure, of looking bad in front of others. But our job isn’t to stay in one place, to live our lives cemented to the ground.
John 15:16 says, You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”
We’re told to go. To bear fruit so that others might see, to spread the good news put on each of our hearts. We were chosen to fulfil the Lord’s plan- why should we pass up such a blessing, such a wonderful opportunity? We should take comfort in the fact that, going back to Joshua 1:9, “The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” This year, go out of your comfort zone – whether that be doing speech and debate in a virtual setting, doing a new speech category or doing debate for the first time. The Lord wants you to stretch and reach for the arms of your Savior. You being willing may have implications on someone else! This is not always about you. Remember what Mrs. Neumann says, “You Got This… Cuz He’s Got You!”
APPLICATION – When is the last time you wrote your own devotional? This can be a good reminder to yourself, your family, or your club. When did God use you, how did He use you, who needs to hear your message? Perhaps you will make a compilation of your family or club devotions! Check out the Lasting Impact! Devotional HERE – https://lastingimpact.info/product/book6611/