What the world needs is for people- men, women, and youths - to come alive. I can imagine that God is searching the earth, looking for His children to wake up and come alive- to go out with confidence and use the skills and talents that He has given us to make a difference in this world.
March is Women’s History Month in a few countries and I want to focus on women here. I’m not saying that women need to become the next Angela Merkel, Condoleezza Rice, or Mother Theresa. These women are remarkable! But, we can start small and aim big, to do the good works and desire of our hearts that God has put on the inside of us- to go out and make a difference in our communities and our world. As Christine Caine says, “We have been given gifts and talents for the purpose of serving our generation.”
When I think of a woman in the Bible that was confident, Queen Esther comes to mind. She was used by God to save her people, the Jews, from annihilation by the scheming plans of Haman, an anti-Semitic man who had prestige and honor in King Xerxes’ court.
When the ultimate test came for Esther, to go before her husband the king, and beg that her people might be saved, she had fear. If she appeared before King Xerxes un-summoned that could have meant that she might lose her life. But it was her uncle Mordecai that helped Esther push through her fear and go forward with confidence:
“When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
(Esther 4: 12-14).
And Esther responded:
“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
I think that at times we women don’t have the confidence in ourselves to do what we have on our hearts to do. Or, that we’re not equipped with the knowledge or tools to move forward with confidence.
People from the United States are extremely confident, and if you spend some time in Washington, DC that confidence is kicked up a few notches. I went to university with people that aspire to be President of the United States and some are positioning themselves for a life of public service. And I love that about my fellow Americans- that we go out and make it happen! We’re go-getters. But, I would say, in having congregated in a few political circles, it’s the men that have a lot of confidence in themselves. In the United States a man has to only be asked a couple of times to pursue public office, whereas women have to be asked and persuaded many times.
Women find it difficult to take on leadership roles or start initiatives because they don't believe in themselves. Women aren’t given feedback in their careers. Women aren’t asking for raises because we’re scared to. Women don’t feel empowered to speak up in a meeting and make their voices heard when men are present. I used to be one of those extremely shy university women when I first arrived to DC to work on my Bachelors. It has taken time to break out of my shy shell, and I still struggle with it. But what God has placed on my heart far outweighs my fear of moving forward with confidence to make a difference in my community. And, the message that Queen Esther had, far outweighed her fear of appearing before the king un-summoned, despite the fate that could have befallen her.
There are quite a few things to learn from the verses from the Book of Esther that I listed above:
1) If you remain silent God will find someone else to do His bidding. So don’t ignore an opportunity that God wants to use you in.
2) God didn’t physically tell Esther what the outcome would be of her going before the king. All she had was her faith in God and her message that outweighed her fear, as well as her uncle’s support. But, when God is all you have then He is all you need.
3) When God opens a door, no man can shut it or scheme against it, andsucceed. Despite Haman’s attempt to kill the Jews, he lost.
Stepping out of your shell takes time. It’s not easy. And there’s going to be times when you feel alone and that you’re stepping into foreign territory. But keep moving and trusting in God that He’s asking you to come alive, and that He wants to use you to make a difference in the lives of those around you.
"The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng"- Psalm 68:11.