Monday, February 5, 2018

Blinded

GUEST BLOGGER HANNAH MARTIN

Hey y'all! My name is Hannah and I am from Houston, Texas. I am a recent college graduate and I'm currently just trying my best to pursue God in this new chapter of life, but thankfully I'm not the one holding the pen. I have the Author above all authors writing my story and I wouldn't want it any other way!

If I told you to ask others who knew me anywhere from old school friends, teachers, family, or even coworkers to describe me in 3 words, I can guarantee without a doubt at least one of those words would be quiet. 

I remember my aunt always telling the story of when I was first born. She was there at the hospital standing behind a glass window looking in when the nurse gave me a shot in the foot, and right when they pricked my foot with that needle I screamed for about 2 seconds then just stopped as if it didn’t even phase me. She says from then on she knew I would have a calm, quiet laid back personality. And she was right. 

Growing up I was always shy and quiet and I guess I never really thought about how quiet I was until I got into middle school or high school. It wasn’t until I kept getting the famous question that everyone seemed to ask “Hannah, why are you so quiet?” Boy. Let me tell you if I had a nickel for every time I got asked that question I would be one rich college kid right now. In response I never knew what to say. I kind of just shrugged my shoulders and said I don’t know with a little laugh as if the question didn’t bother me. 

To be honest it never did until it got to the point where I felt as if that question never went away. Sometimes it even seemed as if they felt sorry for me when they asked. Like man it must suck to be that quiet. In all honesty what they didn’t realize is that I really didn’t mind be quiet. I liked sitting back and listening to others. I guess the silence is something that never bothered me. In fact, there are many times even now that I catch myself driving for 30-40 min before realizing that the radio isn’t even on and I’ve just been thinking the whole time. 

Unfortunately, it got to the point where I got the question so much that it became my biggest insecurity. Seems silly I know, but It’s kind of like if you’re someone with naturally really curly hair. Now picture others constantly coming up to you telling you or asking why your hair is so curly. I mean you didn’t know why other than that’s just the way it is and the way it’s always been. Wouldn’t you soon then think, geeze maybe there is something wrong with it if everyone keeps pointing it out. 

That’s exactly how I felt. Maybe being quiet isn’t a good thing. Maybe I’d be better off and people would like me better if was loud and more “out there”. 

Now that right there is the devils handy work. That’s how he had a hold on me for all these years. He makes you think that just because of what others say or think is how you should think or feel about yourself. Now that’s not to say that that was everyone’s intention when asking that question but that’s the way it ended up making me feel. Never would I have thought that this simple question would form such an insecurity. 

I started to believe the devils lies. That I was too quiet. That I wasn’t good enough. To be liked I needed to be louder. That I would never really be able do things for God’s kingdom like share Jesus with others because I was too quiet. How can you share Jesus when you don’t really like talking all that much? I let these lies steal any confidence I had. And honestly it’s not that I didn’t like to talk, but at that point I was so insecure that I was worried about anything that came out of my mouth. So many times I saw people in school or at church that were so comfortable with getting in front of a group and speaking and I wished so bad I had the confidence like they did. I thought to myself there must be some way I can break out of my shell and become louder. 

So many times when I had an opportunity to be a newbie, whether it was going to a new school, new church, or moving to a new town I told myself that I was going change and become a more outspoken person. Just like a new year’s resolution most people try to exercise more, eat healthier, or watch less TV. For me I wanted to try to be more “out there”. New year, new me right? Haha wrong! After many attempts in trying to change I kept failing at it. 

Why? Why was it so hard for me to change? 

Looking back, I know God was trying to tell me that I wasn’t supposed to change. He created me exactly how he wanted me and he wouldn’t have done it if it was a bad thing. But of course I ignored that because I was more worried about what others thought of me or how they saw me than what really mattered; how God sees me. I was so consumed with how I thought I should be that I tried so hard to be like others around me instead of striving to be like Jesus. 

About a year and a half ago one night at house church it finally hit me. All of us college kids and our mentors sitting in the living room going around saying something encouraging to each person and saying what we loved about each other. Sounds kind of cheesy but those were the best nights. When it became my turn for everyone to say something encouraging to me, a sweet friend told me something that I never really thought about. I remember her saying these exact words

 “Hannah, you have something so quiet and sweet about you that I think is such a gift”… 

Ok hold on, how can that possibly be a gift? That was so hard for me to comprehend. At that point I didn’t even think I had a gift and I didn’t even know the purpose God created me for. I was still trying to figure it out. I couldn’t sing or dance. I wasn’t good at anything artsy and I certainly wasn’t good at speaking in front of big groups. I thought the only real gifts were the physical gifts that people see others use to glorify God. I never really thought about the spiritual gifts that God gives us. 
I’ve always wanted to be one of those people that shared Jesus with others, but I didn’t even know how since I didn’t have any of these typical gifts that so many people had. 

I was so small minded that I thought if I couldn’t sing in a church choir or lead a group bible study then how am I going tell others about God? The more I learned about God and his word and surrounded myself with loving church family and community, I began to realize that not everyone is going to have the same gifts. In fact, we’re not meant to. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 says “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different kinds of service but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work”. 

Once I started to gain a bit more confidence I forced myself into leading a small group bible study one night. This particular bible study was on gifts and unity and diversity in the body. Ha go figure! The one thing I struggled with most! As much as I tried to change myself to be like others and do what I thought I had to do to share Jesus, I was doing it all wrong. Again in 1 Corinthian 12 it talks about the body of Christ and how we each play a part, a different part. Versus 18-20 says it perfectly. “But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”. 

We all have a part in this crazy life and were not all supposed to be the same. Maybe your meant to be on stage preaching a sermon. Maybe your meant to lead worship. Maybe your meant to care for others in a hospital. Or maybe your just simply meant to serve others around you by volunteer work. 

I’ve learned that showing God’s love and telling his good deeds doesn’t have to be something big or extravagant. All he asks is to take what you are given and use it for His glory. 1 Timothy 4:14 “Do not neglect your gift, which was given to you through prophecy”. All along I was trying to push away what God had given me. It was right there in front of me all this time and I didn’t even see it. 

Looking back all those years I let Satan’s lies chain me up from using what gifts the Lord has given me. I can see all the opportunities that I missed out on because I was so blinded and focused on how the world told me I should be, instead of how God was telling me to be. 

Yes, I am still quiet and probably always will be, but I have found my voice and confidence in God. I encourage anyone who reads this to not ignore the gift God has given you. That’s exactly what Satan wants. He wants to strip you from the things that he knows can defeat him. So take off your blinders. Break those chains that are holding you back. 

If you find yourself asking what your gift is or what your purpose is in life, ask God to reveal them to you. He wants you to use what he has blessed you with, but He also desires to hear from you and He wants to use you. 

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