I recently lent out a book to a friend that had a very long title: In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day — How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars by Mark Batterson. Upon receiving it back I picked it up again to re-read. Batterson draws from the story of Benaiah in 2 Samuel 23:21
“There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two of Moab’s mightiest warriors. Another time he chased a lion down into a pit. Then, despite the snow and slippery ground, he caught a lion and killed it.”
The scripture goes on to tell of another time Benaiah wrestled a spear out of an Egyptian’s hand and killed him with it. A few verses later King David chooses Benaiah to be in charge of his bodyguard.
Benaiah didn’t run away from deadly threats, he chased them down and conquered them.
Batterson poses this question: What if the life you really want, and the future God wants for you, is hiding right now in your biggest problem, your worst failure….your greatest fear?
I could name off several “lions” in my life, but the biggest one is self-doubt. Even as I typed those words, “self-doubt, ” my thoughts went something like this:
“Are you sure it’s self-doubt? Maybe perfectionism is a better word, or fear of failure, or….”
Yep. Self-doubt it is.
I’ll spare you the details of why this is such a huge issue for me, but I can tell you that for almost as long as I can remember I have felt insecure about pretty much everything about me. My face. My body. Grades. The way I play music. My clothes. What kind of wife/mother/friend/daughter/sister/employee I am. My social skills. My dancing. My cooking. My writing. My thoughts. I have never felt good enough at anything.
You know what? That is an exhausting and depressing way to live, not to mention a horrible example for my children. So I’m done. I am throwing out the lies and choosing to believe the truth. Picking up the pieces that have long been scattered, I place them in the hands of the One who made me. I am trusting the Potter to shape this earthen vessel exactly the way He wants.
Tomorrow morning I begin a program at a well-known conservatory, and up until now I have been terrified. I’m one of the oldest students in my program. I don’t have the musical training that most of the other students have. I have the responsibility of raising two children that most other students don’t have. Oh yeah, and this thing costs money. A lot.
A thousand doubts have run many laps through my mind. There is so much I don’t know. But one thing I do: God has put me in this place, and He has a reason. Despite my inadequacies, He wants to use me. Here. Now. All He asks is that I trust Him and obey.
I came across this quote tonight in one of my old notebooks:
You — one of a kind. Rarest of rare. A priceless treasure, possessed of qualities in mind and speech and movement and appearance and actions as no other who has ever lived, lives, or shall live.
Why have you valued yourself in pennies when you are worth a King’s ransom?
Why did you listen to those who demeaned you….and far worse, why did you believe them?
Take counsel. No longer hide your rarity in the dark. Bring it forth. Show the world. Strive not to walk as your brother walks, nor talk as your leader talks, nor labor as do the mediocre. Never do as another.
For how do you know that you may not imitate evil; and he who imitates evil always goes beyond the example set, while he who imitates what is good always falls short. Imitate no one. Be yourself.
Show your rarity to the world, and they will shower you with gold.
It’s getting late, and I need to wrap up and get some sleep. I have a lion to chase in the morning.