Some goals in life seem too big to be meant for us, especially when we have resigned to our status quo.
That was possibly what Moses felt. He was a Hebrew, who was miraculously adopted by the daughter of Pharaoh. When he saw an Egyptian hitting a Hebrew, he killed the Egyptian, believing that he was used by God to help his own people (Acts 7:25). When Pharaoh sought to kill him, Moses had to run for his life. He was 40 years old then, and subsequently found a place to stay, married and had two sons (Acts 7:29).
It kind of sounded familiar, didn’t it?
We are never too old to be called by God
Wanting to do something in our youth, disappointed that the plan didn’t quite work out and settled down with family. The crazy thing was God appeared to Moses when he was 80 years old(!) and asked him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses obeyed and led the Israelites till his death at 120 years old.
Moses’ first reaction when God appeared to him at the burning bush was not ‘finally! my chance has come’. It was one filled with doubt.
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”Exodus 3:11 (NIV)
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I’m reading In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney, creator of Design*Sponge. So many of these women shared about taking action, even when things weren’t always smooth sailing. It is helpful to read these stories, because they encourage us when things get tough and doubts set in. Let’s glean some self-help tips from Moses on how he took that first step.
Taking that first step even when we doubt
- Not being afraid to ask (God)
Just a short digression: God is funny. He came in this burning bush to Moses, went on and on about how he seen, heard and knew how oppressed his people were in Egypt (Exodus 3:7), and then dropped the bomb and asked Moses to do the job (Exodus 3:10). So, here’s how Moses took that first step:
- Moses asked the obvious question ‘Who am I?’ (Exodus 3:9) – it is a fair question, after all he’s 80 years old. His resume included running away for killing a man.
- God answered ‘I will be with you’ (Exodus 3:12) – Who could wish for a more powerful partner in life! God didn’t say who Moses was… I suspect there wasn’t much that God could answer Moses to reassure him that Moses by himself was up to the task, because he was not!
- Moses asked the next obvious question ‘Who are you?‘ (Exodus 3:13) – God did not get angry but provided the ‘model answer’ for Moses to tell the Israelites.
- Moses asked the next question ‘Why would people believe me?‘ (Exodus 4:1) – God gave him the power to perform signs to convince others.
- Moses pushed back and said that he was not eloquent (Exodus 4:10) and begged God to send someone else (Exodus 4:13).
- God got angry but spoke to Aaron, Moses’ brother, to accompany Moses on their journey.
When we are scared and doubt if we are up to the job, it is ok to just voice it out. Ask questions and ask for help. One of my favorite Ted talks was by Amanda Palmer, ‘The Art of Asking’. When we pray, maybe we don’t have to pray for it to happen but pray all the 5W1H questions we have!
Not doing it alone
There’s a time for solo effort, and a time to involve others. Moses brother was eloquent, whereas Moses was not. So God sent Aaron to help Moses and tasked Moses to perform the signs – they each had something to contribute! Later in Genesis, God constantly guided them what to do and say, and gave them powers to perform the signs.
Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you.Exodus 4:14 (NIV)
We may think we are alone, but we are not. If we take that first step, somewhere along the journey, someone else is also taking that step. And don’t forget to ask God for help!
Taking that First Step
Exodus 3 Journaling Prompt
Are you deciding whether to take on something new?
Do you feel that status quo is what you really want?
God, I am afraid and I am full of doubt – can I truly help build your kingdom on earth? Please, when I take that first step, let me know you have my back.
Books on Asking, Trying 😅
A book can help to push past that bit of self-doubt, especially when we realize that we are not alone in feeling this way!