Slowly but surely though, I began to come out my shell. I would make advances to try to stand up for myself. This initially caused me a great deal of pain and angst, to the point of suppressing things. This in itself caused a number of physical and emotional ailments. Ever heard of the Snowball Effect? One thing leads to another, which leads to another, which snowballs into disaster.
After many years of suffering this, I realized one day that I was living my life for other people and not for me. I was not doing what God had called me to do. Over the years, I could feel His gentle pull in one direction or another. I would attempt to do His will, but would always end up shrinking back when others would tell me quite frankly that this in not what THEY thought I should be doing, or began to cause me grief because of my trying to follow the Lord's lead.
Don't criticize one another, brothers. He who criticizes a brother or judges his brother criticizes the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. ~James 4:11 (HCSB)
But do we really have to listen to what others say? Maybe to some degree. There are those who are so in tune with the Holy Spirit that He does in fact prompt them to give messages to others. When we ourselves are in tune with the Holy Spirit as well, we will have the discernment to know the difference between bossiness and godly wisdom.
This happened to me several months ago. When the veil was lifted from the life I had been leading, I received a message from a very godly man. The message surprised me, yet compelled me. And in the short amount of time, I have literally seen this come to fruition in my life! Since you are reading this, you are experiencing it firsthand! You are not here by accident.
You see, God knows that a little encouragement from the right people will set me, and maybe even you, into motion. When I begin to feel a little doubtful, even though I'm reading God's Word, praying, and studying, there are times when I slow down just a little bit to evaluate my direction. It's at these moments when someone I have great respect for, or something I read or hear, gives me the little spiritual nudge that I need.
It doesn't have to be something huge. Just a little something that confirms for me in my soul that yes, I'm on the right path, doing the right thing. Which is why I write the things that I do. I am spurred on by the gift God has given me. Because I know that to write something that comes from deep within, something I have experienced, or that I feel I must write down, will also ultimately help and encourage someone who reads it.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing....give recognition to those who labor among you.....esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. ~1 Thessalonians 5:11, 12(a), 13 (HCSB)
May I encourage YOU today? God has a plan for you. He has something that He wants you to do. You will succeed, if you place your trust in Him and go forward. Don't listen to naysayers. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Trust that still, small voice inside you, leading you in the only direction you'll ever find peace.