Undaunted, by Christine Caine
Why I chose this book: I don’t want to live my life daunted, but to let God use me to fulfill his plan for my life.
“…Sonia’s question rang in my ears, shook my mind, unsettled my heart. Why didn’t you come sooner? I offered them no excuses that day, but I did know that there were reasons. Reasons that, when we hear God’s call, when we feel that gentle (or not so gentle) urging of God’s Spirit for us to make a bold step, take a risk, serve others, save a life, commit – we so often hold back. It’s because we don’t feel empowered. We don’t feel qualified. We think we lack the courage, the strength, the wisdom, the money, the experience, the education, the organization, the backing” (p. 24).
If I was asked this question (which I actually ask it of myself), my answer is that I don’t know how to do what I want to do. I know the big picture of what I want to do, but don’t know how to break it down into the size of pieces it takes to get the job done. That’s where I’m daunted. I personally want to make a career of my passions, but have a voice in my head telling me I’m unqualified and incompetent. I want to be so undaunted that I don’t care if I feel stupid when stumbling forward toward my goals.
Besides for what daunts me, I know having my finances in order is vital for my goals. I want to pay off my house mortgage ASAP, and continue to downsize anything I have that I don’t use or need. Something in me wants to live so I can be mobile. I don’t want my money tied up in stuff either. I have lots of Schindler’s List moments…when faced with a purchase or if I should sell something I have, I ask myself if I’d rather have it or if I’d rather use the money to pursue what God has called me to do.
If biology tied Christine’s belief of who she thought she was to who she really was (to whom she belonged), then she would question her identity when she discovered she had different biological parents than she thought. Her place in the family she was raised didn’t changed when she made this discovery, but she felt different. She questioned what was real.
I don’t feel very connected and understood by my parents, so I can guess that I’d wonder if I’d feel that way toward biological parents if I were to discover I was adopted. But, my identity still shouldn’t be found in biology. I may or may not have more in common with biological parents than the ones who raised me, but that doesn’t really matter in relation to who I am to God. I’m His child no matter who my biological parents are.
I think we all long for a sense of belonging in this world, and it’s natural to want and assume our best shot at this is through blood relatives. I’ve found it seldom to be true though. Instead of creating a cascade of loyalty and love with our blood relatives closer to the center, I want to be that way toward everyone, without special treatment due to biology. I don’t mean to say I never want to visit my blood family again, but that my parents and brothers don’t create my identity in God anymore than all of you as my sisters in Christ. We’re all family when we’re children of God.
Taking situations, separating a partial truth, then filling in the gaps by believing what isn’t true…this is dangerous! Our earthly genealogy only tells a small part of the story God has written of our lives. As Christians, we are God’s children! Our definition for existing stems from God alone, and so our purpose isn’t limited when we find our strength and identity in Him.
Comparing ourselves to others or the person we think we should be only leads to feeling inadequate and daunted. “(God) never chooses one person at the exclusion of another” (p. 57). He didn’t make 99 purposes and 100 people, and you happen to be the one without a purpose! God has paired each person He created with the purpose He created specifically for him/her. It’s your personal story.
We are qualified because God is the source of our strength and calling. If we wait until we feel personally/professionally/financially qualified, we’ve already fallen into having pride of self. “Whom God calls, he qualifies – and he chooses everybody to do something specific, something that is part of his design” (p. 58).
I’ve started focusing on being who God created me to be instead of focusing on how I’m not qualified. I don’t have a right to judge what I see is a lack of qualifications! I just have to do what He says 🙂
“I felt a stirring inside. It was my fragmented and wounded heart beginning to be restored. Through Nick’s earthly love for me, God was showing me a glimpse of his great divine love” (p. 72). Partially because my top “love language” is physical touch, sometimes I wish God was available in a touchable form. I believe one of the cool things God does is letting his love flow through others who are willing to be his vessels. A hug from a friend who understands God’s love is probably the closest form of physical contact available from God until we reach Heaven.
“God has a great plan for your future, but if you have not dealt with the wounds of your past, you will not be able to go where he is calling you to go” (p. 74). “God is able to take the mess of our past and turn it into a message” (p. 78). “Your past mistakes, hurts, and pain can help give someone else a future. Whatever we have gone through enables us to help others. God doesn’t waste one experience of our lives. He uses everything to help someone else. He doesn’t want us to remain crippled, immobilized, or paralyzed by the past. Instead, he sent us Jesus to show us how to step into the future. I have always known that I was not the only one carrying around such pain. We are all broken in some way. We all have wounds. Some of us use that as an excuse to do nothing, to serve no one, but rather to sit and nurse our misery. That’s not what God wants, and not the model we see over and over again in the Bible. The biblical model is that God deliberately chooses imperfect vessels – those who have been wounded, those with physical or emotional limitations. Then he prepares them to serve and sends them out with their weakness still in evidence, so that his strength can be made perfect in that weakness. In fact, more often than not, it’s our weakness that makes us capable of serving, because those we serve identify with our pain. As always: God works in us so that he can work through us” (p. 80). Feelings of inadequacy, a disconnected relationship with my mom, and issues with idolizing food…I’ve let these things daunt me from letting God use me fully. My experiences, mistakes, and unwise choices are not wasted or disqualifying, and I can rest and find hope in knowing God is the power to turn it to good for HIS glory!
Wallowing is a focus on self, and that is not a place where we can let God be reflected through us to others. We will experience disappointments in life, and we can choose to wallow or use those times as opportunities to prove our reliance on God. Even when circumstances don’t make sense to us, we can rest knowing that everything makes sense to God! He is all knowing and all good. The one thing that has helped my perspective on life the most is identifying/challenging/redefining the perspective I have of God. The closer my perspective of who God is comes to the truth, the more clearly I see the point in circumstances of life.
Chapter 6: Love and Fear
Fear is a feeling. Feelings stem from beliefs and can daunt us from choosing to follow where God wants to lead us. Complete surrender to God, 100% Yes, requires complete trust in God. This isn’t something we should wait to do until we think we can do it perfectly (which isn’t possible!), but is the direction of our trust, commitment, and surrender to God. Fear of not being qualified to follow what God is asking us to do will paralyze us. We need to keep our eyes focused on Him. There’s an optical illusion game where a person stares at a dot that is surrounded by other dots. When eyes focus more intensely on the middle dot, the surrounding dots seem to disappear! It’s the same concept when we focus on God and the surrounding worries and cares of life seem to disappear. Our perspective changes. When we are daunted, we can choose to believe the lies behind the daunted feelings of fear, or we can choose to believe God’s truth in His Word. Choosing God, we choose to let Him freely use us to serve.
Chapter 7: I Once Was Lost
My reflections on this chapter are written as a prayer. Do to me what You (God) have to so that I will constantly remember, never forgetting I would be lost without you. Destroy my normalcy so I’m unable to comfortably live in ignorant bliss of those still lost. Soften my heart and open my eyes to the world’s suffering. Holy Spirit, keep me mindful of Your will and give me strength through obedient choices, so I may be used to the greatest extent possible. I want to grow deeper in relationship with You, Lord, and continue to seek Your wisdom. I am Your vessel. Send me, everyday. You are the one, true superhero. Make me your sidekick 🙂
Chapter 8: Awakened
After being awakened to current atrocities in the world, I become an accomplice if I do nothing. I have a desire to let God use me to communicate an awakening message, to increase the number of capable hands. I’m daunted by a couple hurdles in my life; I need/want to surrender my eating habits and my negative thoughts to God. I want to fully live in God’s plan for my life, overcoming obstacles with His strength through me and for His glory. I continually ask Him to open my eyes to the role I have to play, and for wisdom to understand the steps I should take.
Chapter 9: Divine Interruption
We can undauntedly pursue what God is interrupting us to do, not because of our ability, but because of His ability and our willingness. For me, this means I don’t have to wait until I devise a foolproof plan encompassing everyone in need, but to start where I am…right here, right now. Writing is part of what I feel God is leading me to pursue, so I’m starting now instead of waiting until I suddenly wake up as a professional writer because that’s what God has planned for me. That’s not likely to happen; there are opportunities for learning and growth when it takes effort and obedience for something to happen. My part is to start. Just because God asks me to do something doesn’t mean He’s going to make it easy.