What's Holding You Back: Inexperience
I remember when they laid my little boy on my stomach just after he was born. My first realization was that he looked ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like I had expected him to. The second realization was the gradual understanding that I'm now completely responsible for another human being. A few days later when it was just me and my new baby, I distinctly remember sitting in my favorite chair, holding this milk-drunk baby, thinking, "What in the world have I gotten myself into?"
Embarking on this new journey had me face to face with everything I didn't know. It had me face to face with some insecurities. What if I messed up? What if not responding to him within the first 1.3 seconds of his crying scars him for life and lands him in a therapist's chair? What if I never sleep through the night again? What if I fail? I had to constantly remind myself that while I had never been a mother before, I had been prepared for this journey.
You see, babysitting is NOTHING like being a mom. With babysitting, you never carry the full weight of what it means to be completely responsible for this life (financially, legally, spiritually). Yet, babysitting did prepare me for motherhood. I was blessed (though at the time it didn’t feel like a blessing) to babysit some really hard kids. I even babysat (full time) a newborn baby who would cry and scream for hours (later found out that he was having trouble with his formula). I ended up being very lucky, my little boy was actually very easy to take care of. I remembered that screaming baby and I found myself saying, "If I could handle that kid, I can handle anything!"
Thinking about inexperience led me to a pretty famous person. Maybe you've heard of David? David and Goliath? If you have or if you haven't, I highly suggest reading 1 Samuel 17. The story is just too long and too good to recap here!
Here are five lessons that we can take away from this story:
First, David finds himself on the battlefield because of his obedience to his father, Jesse (vs 14). Have you ever noticed that being obedient in the small things eventually leads to being obedient in the big things? I believe that David’s obedience in the fields while shepherding is a lot of what prepared him for the obedience he’d be facing as God led him out to the battlefield.
Second, God’s timing and our training. The champion's challenge was presented every day for forty days. During these forty days, David would go back and forth to the battlefield to meet King Saul (1 Sam 16:14-23, 17:15). I don't believe that the timing of Jesse's request was accidental. On this particular day, it seems that David hears the champion's challenge for the first time (17:23).
I don't think that God was slow in acting by allowing His army to endure this impossible challenge for forty days. In fact, I think it was on purpose. King Saul had been a bit hasty in some of his decisions and had seemed to think that he was in control and that he could do some big things without God (1 Sam 13). I think God purposefully waited to intervene in this battle so that the whole army AND Saul would know that He was in control.
Third, read verses 31-37 again. King Saul points out David's youth. I can't escape this verse:
David is an excellent example of this verse. He doesn't back down when King Saul points out his youth. He lists his impressive resume, where he tells of how he has saved lambs from the mouths of lions and bears. He killed both the lion and the bear. He confidently tells the king that Goliath will be no different. He may have been inexperienced but he wasn't unprepared!
King Saul relents but doesn't send David out unarmed. David is given a sword and armor. I love how David tries to walk around in this heavy armor, and he can't. He tells the king, "I'm not used to these." So he strips off the armor, throws away the sword, grabs a few stones, pulls out his slingshot, and sets off for the giant.
Fourth, The battle was the Lord's (vs 47). When someone speaks about our God and us as His servants in the same way that Goliath did, it's no longer our fight. It's God's fight. I believe that David found himself facing the giant because God had stirred within David the courage to head out there. But if you think about the means that took down the giant. Think about the one stone that was the perfectly sized, aimed the perfect direction, fired with the right velocity, that landed and SUNK into its victim's head, killing him. While David was experienced with the slingshot, who was it that calmed David's nerves? Who was it that allowed that first shot to hit its target? God is KNOWN for using the inexperienced and the unwise to baffle the experienced and the wise. Is this situation any different?
Fifth, David left the battlefield with his own armor (vs 54). David walked onto the battlefield as one who had never experienced war, but he left the battlefield as one who had experienced war. You see, just before this story, in 1 Samuel 16, we see David anointed as king. God chose King Saul’s replacement and that is David. I believe that David walked off the battlefield with his armor because he knew that as the next king, he would need to be more prepared (trained) as a warrior. He needed to be used to his armor. He needed to become more familiar and capable with the sword. In fact, in the following chapter (chapter 18), following the story of David and Goliath, we read in verse 5 that Saul would put David in charge of the men of war. How quickly does David’s story of inexperience become one of experience!
In my own story, with my own son, I started out as a completely inexperienced mother. Before him, I had never been a mother before! But as time went on, I became more confident in my abilities. I still have seasons where I feel completely inexperienced- he recently just turned 5 and I’m absolutely inexperienced in parenting a five-year-old! Yet, just like David, I rely on God to train me, prepare me and give me the strength to not only survive these moments and seasons but to thrive in them.
If you’re struggling with a season of inexperience, remember that you might be inexperienced, but you aren’t unprepared! God has been preparing you for this season! Trust him to train you, prepare you further, give you strength to not only survive this season but to thrive in them!