“At this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God's sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father's house, 21 and when he was exposed, Pharaoh's daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. 22 And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds.” Acts 7: 20-22 ESV
“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.” Exodus 4:10 ESV
If you have been reading my blogs for the past month or so, you probably know what happened at the dentist in early 2021. But in case you missed it, let me quickly catch you up. While getting ready for my procedure, they took my blood pressure and found that it was extremely high. So high, that I needed to forego the dentist and get to the ER. This trauma gave way for my mind and my body to explode with anxiety and fear. Just three years prior, my father suddenly died of a heart condition that we did not know he had. My mind raced to all the things that could be wrong and would go wrong. The spiral downward into the gray began, and before I knew it, I was over my head drowning in darkness that I never saw coming. From that day, I felt as though I was in a prison of gray, wondering if I would see color again.
It has been several months and many counseling sessions later, and I can tell you that I am not all the way out of the gray, but I am seeing a splash of color. Some call this the "Liminal Space." It is like a hallway you are walking down between the doorway of chaos and the doorway of complete healing. It is a place where you are too far into the healing process to turn back and give up, but you know you have a lot of work to do, and you can see the light at the end of the hallway. My counselor tells me that often. “AB, you have a lot of work ahead, but you are making great progress.” For an “A” type personality like mine, that isn’t what I want to hear. I would like it to be over. The path has been long, but I must admit, it is very rewarding as I have learned so much about myself, my relationships and most importantly, about Jesus. These are things I do not believe I would have ever thought of if I didn’t have to deal with this pain.
Shortly after the dentist and several ER trips and appointments with my cardiologists, everything seemed to point to my mind. Heart good, blood pressure better, thinking... not so much. The anxiety was producing so many toxic things in my body that I realized if I didn’t work on my thinking, who knows how it would continue to wreak havoc on me physically. It was like I was suddenly a different person. One day I was confident and plowing ahead and the next, I was weak, anxious, and distracted. How could my identity change so fast?
In those first few weeks I would take my dog, Bandit, for a walk around the church property. We are blessed with many acres and a beautiful pond, but I would walk with my hands in my pockets, head down, and with a depressed shuffle. Crying, I would pray and plead with God to take this chaotic mindset from me. As Bandit continued to sniff around and explore, I could not get out of the prison in my head. One day as I did my shuffle around the pond, God spoke something to me. He said… “Walk Confidently!” He wasn’t talking about my spirit; He was talking about my stride. I could sense that. He was addressing my steps that would later be used to address my mind. So, each walk I would practice my stride. Then over the weeks and months ahead I realized what He was teaching me all along. Even when I was at my lowest, my position of authority, my calling, and my relationship with Him never changed. The process I was on would teach me the value of my calling and identity in Him.
Believe me, I did not feel like I had any authority. When I would be with people, I would feel like everyone knew how fragile I was. I even felt intimidated by my own family. I was the strong one leading the family, and now they were helping to lead me. I felt like the weak link, and I knew if people could, they were ready to vote me off the island. I was constantly listening for the buzzer to sound and the floor to drop out from under me, which is a characteristic, I learned in my counseling sessions, that came from my teenage years when my home became turbulent and chaotic. Everything I was feeling had been framed into my mind since I was young. Never really knowing what to expect then, I suddenly was thinking the same thing now at 54 years of age. My past was dominating me.
When you read the story of Moses you realize, he too, had a season of gray. A 40-year season! Stephen in his sermon in Acts 7 describes Moses as a man who had the best training in the household of Pharoah. He was skilled, gifted, and a great speaker. Then one day he made a mistake. Everything changed and this man, who had all the confidence in the world, was now a stranger in a strange land taking care of sheep that didn’t even belong to Him. Moses went from believing in himself to telling God He must have the wrong guy.
But God didn’t have the wrong guy with Moses. If you are reading this and relating, He doesn’t have the wrong person with you either. Moses was called from the day he was fashioned in his mother’s womb. He was called when he was placed in a tar pitched basket and floated down the Nile to spare his life from the cruel edict of Pharoah. He was called when Pharoah’s daughter plucked him from the Nile and raised him as a prince. He was called when he ran for his life after his mistake was found out. He was called when he settled in the desert and took care of his father in law’s sheep. And because of that, he never lost the beauty in God’s sight. God always knew where He was because God was always with him, preparing him for a time such as this. Moses didn’t feel what God knew about him. He had what it would take to lead God’s people out of slavery in Egypt because God put it in Him. His depression and negative outlook on life was no match for God’s calling that was irrevocable. Moses would rise from this moment, and with the help of God, He would walk confidently into Egypt to declare, “Let my people go!”
What happened in that desert experience? Moses’s gray world suddenly caught a splash of color. Not an HD surround sound big screen color but a splash in a burning bush. That was all he needed to move forward out of the gray and into the mission God had put him on this earth to do. That splash of color that gave the desert a new ambiance that he had not seen in 40 years was enough to move him forward and into the plans God had for him.
If you are on a similar journey of gray, I encourage you to begin to walk confidently in who you are in Christ. You are a child of God. You have a calling, and depression, anxiety and fear are no match for God’s call on your life, even though you may think otherwise. Your past, your mistakes, and your hurt from others do not have to have the final word. God, during your trial, in the middle of your long hallway where you find yourself between the beginning of the painful journey and the doorway of wellness, God meets you there. He does so to bring out in you what He sees and put in you. He is not waiting for you to be able to see the colors clearly, He only needs you to see the splash of color against the continuous gray backdrop of your journey. When you do, there, you will rediscover your purposes and gifts. There you will know why you can walk with confidence even though you are still in the battle. There God will use you to do great things now, not later, because when you are weak, in Christ you are still so very strong.