- Susan Eaton
Sharing the Joy of My Heart
One thing I’ve never been accused of is using too few words. I suppose it makes sense, then, that my call to ministry was all about speaking.
"You will speak for me."
Those are the words that came to me one morning at 21 years old as I spent time praying about what my next steps would be after college… and what I should do with my life. So clear…and so absolutely terrifying.
But, yeah, mostly terrifying.
Me? Who would listen to me?
But there it was. Clear. Unmistakeable. And something I would never be able to shake no matter how full of fear and anxiety I was.
I ventured off to seminary, continued serving in youth ministry… and avoided the preaching classes like the plague! Finally, after about 2 years of avoiding, it was inevitable. I had to do this. The morning I registered for my first preaching class I almost threw up! (Seriously, woman… get it together!) But that’s where I was with it. Overcome with fear. No… terror. Overcome with terror. Anxious about what others would think. Worried about having nothing to say. Fearful that I was not enough.
I quickly realized that speaking for God was something that I couldn’t not do. I loved it and found satisfaction and purpose in it. When I taught or spoke to students, or to a room full of adults… didn’t matter…when I was speaking for God, I knew I was doing exactly what I was made to do. I wish I could tell you that it was with full confidence and absolutely no fear that I did all this. Actually, it was wrapped up with fear and anxiety and a severe lack of self-confidence for years. But, nevertheless, there I was. Doing the best I could with what God asked me to do… and relying completely on Him to help me do it.
One of the reasons I was so full of fear and anxiety was because I made it all about me. My focus was on me. What would people think of me? What did I have to say? How would I know enough? How would I be “good” enough? Me, me, me, me, me. But God didn’t ask me to speak for me or about me, or even out of my own strength. He asked me to speak for Him. Ah… and if He asked me to speak for Him, then He would give me the words to say and He would give me the grace and strength to say it, and He would speak to others’ hearts… if only I would be obedient and just do what He asked me to do. It wasn’t about me. It was all about Him. Duh. Huge turning point.
As I’ve continued to pray about my next steps and how God would use me, I’ve sensed a tug to share in a different way. I have journals full of all sorts of things that I’ve written. Insights from reading Scripture, prayers, thoughts, all from time spent in the quiet with God. The tug has been to start sharing some of these writings. Maybe they’ll be encouraging to someone else. Maybe what I have sensed God speaking to me will be just what He needs to say to someone else. And maybe if I share in this way, someone else will be drawn to Him or comforted by Him, or encouraged to live into exactly who God has created them to be.
He is the joy of my heart. And my desire is to be as faithful as possible to Him. And if that means speak, then I’ll speak. If that means write, I’ll write. If that means share, I’ll share. I have been influenced and impacted by so many others who have chosen to share their gifts. What if they hadn’t done that? What if they had not chosen to follow their passions, do what they love, or share their gifts? What if they had stayed silent about the joy and the truth they knew in Christ? What if they hadn't put themselves out there? I would be less. So I won’t stay silent. I’ll be out there. It won’t be perfect, that’s for sure! But as I recall, God never asked me to be perfect. After all, it’s not about me anyway.