December 19, 2017
"But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.'" Luke 1:30-31 (NIV)
The tears just wouldn't quit falling as I sat in the empty room.
Only days before, this space had been filled with stockings, a soaring Christmas tree and family and friends surrounding us. Now, only two days later, the room was desolate. The only thing was my crying family and me.
My husband had learned his company was going to relocate us.
And although it was a good career move for him, it really didn't feel like any advancement for me, moving 1,000 miles from my community of friends, with two little children and one more on the way.
I was wrestling to not make it all about me, but this move was not according to my plan. As I hugged my little ones close, I thought, How can I do this ... while I'm pregnant?
There was no time to figure that out.
Now the moving truck was pulling out of the driveway, and it was time to load up the little ones and head south. God had given us an assignment and it was our turn to follow His lead, with all of my doubts in tow.
I'm certainly not the first to have received an assignment that felt greater than the confidence I had.
Just look at Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Her change of plans was much greater than a cross-country move.
Picture Mary, engaged to a great guy. Wedding plans in motion. Then, her dreams are interrupted, as we see in our key verse: "But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.'" (Luke 1:30-31)
When Mary received this news, she didn't react in fear or doubt. Instead her reaction was grounded in faith: "‘I am the Lord's servant,' Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.'" (Luke 1:38a, NIV)
Mary responded with confidence because her confidence began with a relationship with God. Instead of building her confidence on something she could lose or have taken, she built her confidence on Him.
Not on something, like her reputation. That was outside her control.
Not on someone, like Joseph. For all she knew, he would leave her once he learned she was pregnant.
Not on some place, like her home, as I had done. After hearing from the angel, Mary actually left town, where she would have been comfortable, to visit her cousin Elizabeth.
Did Mary understand everything God was doing? Unlikely. Or resent what He was doing? Doesn't appear so.
Would others judge her? No doubt they would, but Mary didn't allow people's opinions to prevent her from embracing God's calling, even if she didn't completely understand it. The lack of details didn't impact her confidence in His plans for her life, nor her trust in Him to take care of her.
There have been so many times in my life when my confidence has been shaken. As a mom, when my kids made mistakes, as a professional when my work was rejected and yes, when I moved 1,000 miles away ... in each of these situations, the foundation of my confidence has been rattled.
Yet as I grow in my faith, I'm desperately trying to follow Mary's lead. I'm learning that confidence built on people or positions is a confidence built on unsolid ground. Someone, something or some place will let us all down at some point. When we build our confidence on Christ, by spending time in His Word, when difficult times come, our foundation will be firm in Him.
The Lord used that move so many years ago, faithfully bringing me to a place where my gifts would grow. I should have known, as although it was far from easy, just like He was to Mary, the Lord is always faithful.
Dear Jesus, it's easier to build my confidence on what I can see and what I know. Help me build my confidence on You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Hebrews 10:35-36, "So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised." (NIV)
Make Your Move: Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures, Lynn Cowell's newest book, empowers women with a confidence that can withstand even shaky situations! Get your copy of this six-session Bible study (DVD/digital video sold separately) here.
To celebrate the release of her latest release, Make Your Move: Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures, Lynn is giving away a copy on her blog today, plus a FREE download: "4 Christ Commitments for Fixing Our Confidence."
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Has there been a time when circumstances were less than perfect and your confidence was shaken?
What steps can you take to build your confidence on Christ alone?
© 2017 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.