Last night, I was sitting around a table with several leaders from my church.  We had met to think through our upcoming women’s Gathering.  To brainstorm.  To plan.  And to offer some guidance, insight, and wisdom into the talk that will be given.

Hold up.  Let me rephrase.  THEY were speaking into the talk that I will be giving.  At a women’s event.  On identity.  WHAT.

Now, can I just be frank for a sec?  Receiving criticism and critique is not exactly my forte.  Because, hello, I’VE GOT THIS, remember?  I can do all of the things on my own, and I don’t need your help, thankyouverymuch.

Except not.  God has for-real humbled me over the past few years and has graciously reminded me that I need help.  I need people speaking into my life and my attitude and my words.  Because, although I want to pretend that I am God’s equal- that I am omniscient and omnipotent and omni-everything- I’m not.  I need people.  And I need HIM.

And so, there I was.  At the table.  My words out in front of people who actually DO this.  Who write and preach and talk.  Seminary people.  Who know their stuff.  And you know what?  SURPRISE.  Their feedback was actually so very helpful.  Vital, even.

I jotted down a lot of notes at that table last night.  I’ve reworked and I’ve revised. And you know the one comment that keeps coming back to me?  That I can’t get out of my mind?

“You’re starting the whole thing by discrediting yourself.  Don’t discredit yourself.

She was referring to my intro.  The words I had written- the words that I had planned to speak- that voiced my fears and hesitancies and inadequacies as a communicator.

Y’all.  I was launching into a talk about God as Creator by completely discrediting the unique way in which He has created me.  In my effort to come across as humble and approachable and honest, I had minimized the gifts and passions He sovereignly appointed to me.

Talk about humbling.

But, as this comment has bounced around in my brain over the past day, it has become so apparent to me how often we all do this.  Particularly women.  I see this exact scenario play out all.the.time:

God calls Suzy to X, Y, or Z.

Suzy says, “Yes, but.  But I’m not good enough.  Smart enough.  Eloquent enough.  Strong enough.”

God says, “I know.  But I Am.”

Suzy goes on to do X, Y, or Z.  Suzy keeps reminding everyone around her that she’s not good enough.  Smart enough.  Eloquent enough.  Strong enough.  Suzy spends a lot of time and effort highlighting her insufficiencies.

Suzy does X, Y, and Z well.  Suzy may even do an excellent job pointing to God and HIS sufficiency.  HIS strength.  But has Suzy really lived out her God-given giftings and abilities with confidence?

Doesn’t sound like it, does it?

Ladies.  Let’s continue to walk humbly.  And sure, let’s acknowledge our shortcomings and insufficiencies because it’s from there that we can point right back to His sufficiency.  And that’s a beautiful thing.

But, y’all, we can’t stop there.  Let’s actually DO that thing He’s called us to do. And let’s do it really stinkin well.  Let’s drop the self-deprecation and proceed onward with boldness and confidence, believing that this is why we’re here.  To do HIS work.  To point right back to Him.

Here’s the deal.  God has given all of us gifts.  Talents.  Abilities.  Passions.  Not one of us is excluded.  We are all gifted.

Humility is not the act of sweeping our gifts and talents under the rug.  Humility is ACTING in those very gifts and and talents and abilities, while acknowledging God as the giver of all good things.  So, when we discredit ourselves and diminish our God-given abilities, I fear we may be stealing some of God’s glory.

Ladies, own your gifts.  Use them.  Boldly.  Unabashedly.  Not because you’re anything particularly awesome or fabulous.  But because HE is.