When dreams of starting a social enterprise in Afghanistan began stirring my heart, the question struck like sniper fire.
Every time I stepped up to a podium to cast a vision or put pen to paper to write a fundraising proposal or packed my bags to board the plane that would fly me into a war zone, I would hear it hissing in my ear: Who do you think you are?
When the Enemy of my soul wasn’t accusing me, I did the job for him.
I wish I could say those thoughts rattling around in my head were silenced in a single moment, extinguished for all time with one big revelation. Truth be told, I had to keep putting one foot in front of the other in between the fiery darts. When one was extinguished, another would follow, sooner or later.
What compelled me to keep moving forward in the face of these self-recriminations–to do something, rather than nothing–was the stark realization that there simply was no one else. Sure, there were other aid workers and social entrepreneurs working tirelessly in Afghanistan, but a legion of women and girls still went unrescued. They were forced into marriages or fleeing violence in their homes with no safe place to land. In desperation, they were committing self-immolation. Their dreams and all the potential they held for rebuilding Afghanistan were being wasted. The vast majority of women and girls were falling through the holes of our collective nets.
For these lost ones, there was no one else.
Even by the time I had taken my place, shoulder to shoulder with all those throwing out lifelines, there would still be far too few of us.
Coddling my insecurities, obsessing about my own shortcomings, and musing about whether someone else could do the job better, became acts of self-indulgence, luxuries neither I nor Afghan women and girls in need of help could afford.
I would always have room to grow—skill sets to develop, areas of character to improve, a deeper relationship with God to cultivate. But I realized I already had enough of all of those things to get started. God had supplied me with skills and the aptitude to learn more, invaluable connections with key people eager to help, and financial resources beyond my wildest imaginations. Most importantly, the God of the Universe had deposited in me a measure of faith that He had been growing and shaping for years.
My faith was no longer blind, but evidence-based, because I had seen what God could do.
With every answer to prayer, I was more overcome by God’s goodness, more convinced of His love for the least of these, and more confident that I was welcome to draw on Heaven’s coffers on their behalf.
If God is who He says He is and He can do what He says He can do*, I could ask for the impossible. As I did, to my delight, His answers surpassed my faith, revealing more of who He was, and calling me to an even higher level of faith. What was once impossible, became possible. What was once only faith, became sight.
If I wasn’t yet who I needed to be, God could shape me into the person He envisioned when He created me. If I didn’t yet have everything I would ever need to do the job, I did have enough to get started, enough to take the next step with God on this wild ride.
God’s vote of confidence and the evidence of His pleasure drained the enemy’s accusations of the power they once held over me. Because none of this was ever really about me anyway.
Ultimately, that hateful question, ‘Who do you think you are?’ was simply overcome by another:
Who do you think God is?
God is all-powerful. God is love. He loves the ‘nobodies,’ the least of these, and has invited us to extend our hands to the poor, the widow, the orphan, the homeless, the naked, the imprisoned, the stranger. He has made those of us who know Jesus, co-heirs with him. Our God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. We can ask Him for whatever we need to meet the needs of others and be confident He will hear us and provide in ways that result in others knowing Him and glorifying Him.
In what ways has the Enemy of your soul accused you? How has it kept you from going forward with the God-inspired dream in your heart?
*Beth Moore and her Believing God study were powerful instruments in God’s hands to shape my faith and, ultimately, brought me to the brink of decision about whether to go to Afghanistan even if no one else came with me. I encourage everyone to do the study. More than once!