For the Leader Who Feels Weak: A Call to Courage
I was in 3rd grade when I realized I had a real problem.
I knew I had a speech impediment because kids on the school bus had pointed it out – but it hadn’t really bothered me much…until the day speech therapy began. I had trouble with the letters “s” and “z”. For some reason, I said them out the side of my mouth.
Once a week in my public school, I left my class and friends and headed to the speech therapy room where I wore headphones and repeated over and over…and over… the “s” and “z” sound correctly. My speech therapist was kind. We played games and I said “Sally sold seashells down by the seashore” over and over…and over. I practiced at home, I practiced at therapy and a few long years later – voila – no more impediment!
But then a new issue arose. I started losing my voice on a regular basis. Losing my voice has been a regular occurrence in my life since about 5th grade. When I get a cold – it goes straight to my throat and voice. And so about once a year, I lose my voice. When I say lose it – I mean gone – not a squeak comes out. I am silent for about 5 days. Tea and honey are my friend.
I have written about how I lost my voice the week of the Rachael Ray show and I’ve recorded youtubes with a raspy voice in the midst of recovery.
The week of my book launch, I worried and worried – about losing my voice because I had radio shows booked BUT I did not lose it and all was well. Praise the Lord!
Does anyone see the irony in the fact that the very thing I love to do – speak – is the very area, physically I am weak. My youtube channel has over 1.2 million views now…but I should take no pride in that because God has humbled me in this area. I mean really – I couldn’t talk straight as a kid and when I finally could – I started losing it!
God has kept me dependent on Him to have a voice. I am sure that this weakness is God’s way of keeping me at his feet in prayer – remembering, He is the one who has given me my voice and he could easily take it away. My voice is His.
I am reminded of Moses in Exodus 4:10-12:
“But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”
And Moses’s response in verse 13:
“Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.”
Moses doubted himself and his abilities. While it’s good to be humble…to be filled with self-doubt to the point of not following God…is sin.
To worry like I did, all through my book launch, about losing my voice for the radio interviews…was sin.
When I was younger, I really feared trying to lead because I felt like others saw me as too young and immature. While this didn’t stop me from leading, I had a lot of insecurities I wrestled with for a very long time. I clung to 1 Timothy 4:12:
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
Have you felt overlooked at times to lead because of your age or weaknesses?
God does not look at birth order and background. Often he chose the “overlooked” of this world to lead. In a culture where the the younger served the older –Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and David were all the youngest in their families.
It’s called grace.
By the grace of God, He uses anyone willing to surrender their life to Him.
It’s easy to see a need and say – “someone should do something about that” but then to step up and say, “Here I am Lord. Send me.” as Isaiah did in Isaiah 6:8, takes great courage.
And so I wonder…are you one of those who is doubting your abilities?
This is your call to courage.
You are unique. God created you with your special skill set, that only you have, for His very purposes.
Even your weaknesses were fashioned according to His plan for you –not so you’d shrink back and quit but so you’d trust Him as you step up and lead.
Your very weakness is what will reveal without a doubt, it is God working through you, when you see fruit from your labor.
We reap what we sow.
If we sow seeds of fear and self-doubt, we reap nothing.
If we sow seeds of courage – we will reap a harvest that glorifies God.
This is your call to courage.
Whether you are just beginning your journey as a leader or you are in the middle of leading and feel weak…
Don’t shrink back.
The enemy would love for us all to hang our heads and hide…but God is with us and if God is for us, who can be against us? Even the wind and waves obey Him. May God find us obedient to His call today!
Walk with the King,
Do you have an area where you feel weak? Does it affect the way you serve?
How are you in need of courage today?
I needed this today. Thank you!
Thank you so much. Being a young female in the military is a tough position- we’re often overlooked based on age and/or gender. Speaking up makes us a “B****” to many folks opinion. It’s a tough line to walk.
Great post Courtney! I struggle with the feeling of “I am not good enough” as well as being uncomfortable speaking in front of others. God is working on me in these areas and I am stepping out in faith as I strive to lead where God puts me. Thank you for these words of encouragement.
“Even your weaknesses were fashioned according to His plan for you –not so you’d shrink back and quit but so you’d trust Him as you step up and lead.” -I love this, Courtney! Thanks for this encouragement.
I feel weak when it comes to speaking. It’s easier for me to put my words down on the computer as in my blog posts – I guess because I can take time to process my thoughts. In person, I feel weak with my words. I never seem to know what to say in the moment, but afterwards after having time to think, the words come to me – and I’m like “oh, I wish I had thought to say that.” It hasn’t had that much of a negative impact when it comes to serving necessarily, but it makes me feel inadequate at times during in-person situations.
Walking in His Grace,
I just came across your website while looking for Bible study ideas. Ended up spending a lot of time reading, and found many confirming, encouraging words!
I’m enjoying this series! I think my biggest weakness is I feel my imperfection . . . with 7 kiddos, I’ve had lots of opportunities to goof up, apologize, rinse and repeat. 🙂 Cerebrally, I know God forgives but I’ve gotta get it worked into my heart…that He uses cracked pots.
OH I HATE speaking in public to a large crowd of people! I’d rather have a root canal without novocaine than give a speech!! It has to do with the fact that when I did so in 8th grade, the Popular kids were laughing and making fun of me because I didn’t have the ‘cool’ clothes like they did because my parents weren’t Dr’s and Lawyers like theirs were. 🙁
So, that really killed my self-esteem…even to THIS day, I have a very low self-esteem and think that other people think I’m a loser because I’m overweight, not pretty,etc….Even after losing 90 lbs after weight loss surgery, I STILL feel like that fat-awkward girl who was 13 yrs old :'(
Dear Kelly, I’m so sorry to hear about what happened to you back at school and how that has affected your view of yourself. The power of words to harm or help is so strong.
The good thing is that, for anyone who dares to trust what God says, the power of God’s word is available to help, heal, clean & strengthen. When you have some time, have a look at these words:
Amos ch. 2 v. 25, God’s promise to put right what has been damaged;
Zephaniah 3.17, a picture of the way God loves us, His people;
and Isaiah 43, especially v. 1-4.
God loves & honours you so much that He gave everything He had – Jesus – so you could be God’s child. I pray that God’s lovely voice would drown out those false messages you had in the past, and that you’ll know how special you are to Him.
When I was a teenager, I felt that God had called me to missions. I’ve been on a few trips to Mexico. But I’ve also experienced panic attacks for a large portion of my life. It has gotten to the point of not leaving home for months and not driving. I have thought that the Lord has allowed this to come across my path to discipline me for some wickedness that I allowed and also to make me dependent on Him. The thought of going on a mission trip right now is huge. When I was younger it was not as huge. When I felt He confirmed the call to missions, I never thought I’d experience such lows. I think the Lord has also allowed it that when He wants me to go I will know it’s His power to take me and not anything in me. I needed this call to courage.
You are such a beautiful leader! I’ve been so encouraged by your blog and online bible study and it is also so evident from all the feedback and comments you receive, through your ministry’s facebook and blog pages, that God is using you to touch many many lives with His grace. God bless you as you continue to work so hard and “make disciples of all nations”- you are doing a wonderful job.
All praise to our God for what he has done through your family and WLW! May you all continue to walk humbly with our amazing Lord and Saviour, Jesus.
With much love to you, Nicole
I have had times in life where I’ve had to find courage to do big tasks, be a speaker, etc. That comes easier for me because there is this big accomplishment that comes at the end. Right now, I’m finding that I need courage for the mundane…sometimes I feel like I don’t have the strength to wash the spaghetti pot one more time, clean the floor around the booster seat again, or pray, unceasingly, over the same request. For me, it’s harder! Give me an exciting ministry challenge or speaking engagement any day over the mundane.
Thank you for this post. My husband and I are about to begin a marriage ministry at our new church. He has just confessed an inappropriate affair with whom I thought was my best friend. I am reeling and wanting to quit. We have been together for 40 years and honestly I can say this was the last thing I would have ever thought I would experience. We have both been actively involved in our church but not in leadership.
I have never felt so ….well every emotion in the world. I am not willing to expose my husbands sin to people I know as I want to cover him. I especially do not want to cause my children to have any pain or feelings of hate or bitterness that they would have to deal with.
I know God is able to restore. I am being assured daily that God will make a way for us. We both have a firm foundation in God and have for years.
We both feel like we should go forward with the marriage class if for no other reason, we need it more than the others.
So, do we lead out of our weakness fully trusting that we have felt every threat and fear a marriage could ever experience? Do we lead know our trust is only in God alone?
I honestly feel that is a way that the devil would win another battle if we shrink back and bow out. We do have several other strong marriages that will be clearing with us. We will be using others to teach the truths. Basically, we will just be coordinating.
I cannot allow the devil to steal another day.
Prayers for you.
Give it to the Lord in prayer and he will give you the answer. Be sensitive to his voice and you will hear his answer. It will crowd out your doubts and fears as well as the enemy’s attacks. I believe you are right in that if you give in the enemy will win, but God may have a different idea. So just listen for his answer.
I teared up while reading with my heart almost beating out of my chest feeling…you spoke exactly what God has been speaking to me! My family and I just recently relocated for ministry and knew only one family in the new place. It has been 6 months now and God has constantly been reminding me of my purpose and how He wants to use me and up until a month ago I would always make excuses…I am now in a position where its in my face daily and I have to lead! Something I know God has called my husband and I both to do but most of our married lives we’ve felt more comfortable following and playing the supporting role! Now, God is calling us to lead. He’s really placed me strategically where I am and God has been doing amazing things, its just extremely frightening sometimes…but as I type this I am reminded of a little book I bought years ago by Joyce Meyer “Do It Afraid!” Great book that encourages you to step out no matter what! If God is telling you to go and you are afraid, don’t let the devil trap you in this fear and lose that blessing, step out despite your fear! God created us with emotions and He knew we would be afraid of things, thats why He says its what we do with our emotions that get us in trouble! So I am learning to walk in faith and do it afraid! Thank you Courtney for this wonderful reminder today!
This one really hit home as I never have a physical voice. Years ago I was diagnosed with Abductor Spasmodic Dysphonia, which is a voice disorder in which the vocal cords do not work correctly. I took numerous Botox injections into the area, had surgery, and did speech therapy and still can only whisper. So I identify with Moses and with Courtney. Yet thus far God has equipped me for His call, not with a real voice, but with the use of modern technology I am able to function in this world. Even though I was hesitant at first, I just finished my 3 years as an elder in my church.
I read all your post and this is one of my favorite. My daughter she is 10, recently “graduated” from ALL her school services a few weeks ago. Since Pre-K she was seeing a speech therapist, OT, Social Worker, and Math Education to help her. She was done with Math in second grade. She is also coping and learning to calm herself with noises, textures, and sensory situations. She loves to play Chess read a book around the rules, and watch a YT video on Rainbow Loom- a certain pattern. Thank You so much for helping us find God, be humbled, learn to have peace, and be feeling blessed.
I definitely feel like a Moses. I don’t like speaking in front of people, even small groups of people. Heck, I am even often uncomfortable in one on one conversations because I don’t always know what to say. But God has led me to lead small groups for women, and I am finding that He is growing me in the area of speaking. I love what you said about God using people who are willing. It doesn’t take any special skills to be obedient to God. If we are willing and obedient, He will equip us for the job.
Courtney, I was so surprised when I read this because God had just spoken this very thing (almost in the exact words) to me in Bible study this morning with some Mops moms! Thanks so much for sharing. It is confirmation and a great encouragement to me!:-)
I just love how God works! I was thinking today about how, as a Christian Counselor, I seem to suffer my attacks in my mind/thoughts. I have a friend who is a Physical Therapist and gets attacked in her physical body. I am reminded of how much more the Lord can use us when we have walked through territory that another is struggling with and desires encouragement from someone who totally gets it! As we are strengthened then we are privileged to help others. Thanks for confirming this concept. I love your humility and transparency.
I don’t think I will ever get enough of what you share about being courageous and seeing myself as God sees me and not as a failure. It was drummed into me in school growing up. I was called dumb and other names by one of my teachers. It stuck. When I was 18, I lost my voice totally. That happened year after year once a year. When my oldest was 6 I had a polyp removed on my vocal cord after talking with a raspy voice for a couple years. Now, just a few too many years later, I hardly ever have that problem anymore. I don’t speak though…it is just such a blessing from the Lord to have my voice. You made me remember all this and I clearly understand what you are sharing today as if it was just for me. Thank you!!
I also during my lifetime have found it dufficult for me to have conversations with people as well as speaking before people. This began during my childhood when I was teased and criticized in the way I expressed myself so I would only talk when I had to, which hampered my ability to learn how to express myself with people and hold conversations. Hopefully, by the grace of God I will be delivered from this problem as I engage in more situations where I am compelled to talk and share, expressing myself verbally! Praise God
Those verses resonate with me as well. My anxiety causes me to stumble over my words. However, when God calls me to speak before people the Holy Spirit gives me the ability to speak well. I’m in a new leadership position and I had to lead a meeting last night. I was anxious as I went to say, ” and now we will report our finances”, but instead I said “repent our finances.” I could have been embarrassed by slipping up, but God used it as an ice breaker and I said, “Oh yes, we will now repent of the money we spent.” Everyone laughed and ny anxiety faded away. God is good and faithful to strengthen us in our weakness.
Awesome reminder!! I love to preach and to teach any chance I get, and while I know that my ability is a gift from God alone, it’s easy to get confident in yourself, and your own skill. And every time I do, God is good to “knock me down a peg”, so that I am reminded to teach and to minister in HIS strength, to teach HIS Word, and to make sure that I act purely as a messenger for HIS message to HIS people.
I have been reading your blog non stop all week and I just wanted to leave a comment telling you how God has been speaking to me so much through your mouth! Thank you so much for your blog! You are truly a blessing to women. I’m sure you never hear that ever. 😉
Thank you again. 🙂
I need a job and have an interview today in a different field.
Courtney, it is so crazy (God “crazy”) that you post this now, because I, too, tend to lose my voice once a year, when I get a really bad cold…and my immune system finally succumbed to the cold my hubby and kiddos have had, that I’ve been fighting, for a couple weeks, on Sunday! I teach a class at church on Tuesday mornings, and a parenting class on Wednesdays, so my prayers have been, “Please Lord, don’t let me lose my voice right now!!! At least, not until my teaching commitments for the week, are over!” Thankfully, I’ve still got my voice, and I made it through both classes. I am continually amazed at how God positions/presents things in my life at JUST the right time it’s needed! He is awesome ALL THE TIME. Blessings to you! 🙂 ~Taryn
<3 this and you. Thanks so much for everything you do! God Bless You!
Hi Courtney, I’m not a leader in this kind of thing, but a follower. But in another area of my life this post really was a butt kicker, just what I needed. Thank you 🙂
Hello Courtney I needed this! I just read it… wow I really needed this. I am a leader over the ladies group at my church and lately there have been times my tongue has gotten me in trouble.. ( I am a talker) and I was hanging my head low and telling God I am not your girl to get up and give studies, no Lord I am sorry I have let you down I can’t do this anymore. BUt your word just encouraged me soo much!! Thank you!!