On a phone call with a friend, she started to tell me exactly what she saw me doing next and offered to help. I immediately started giving her my excuses, "I'm not ready," "I'm not the right person for that," "The timing doesn't seem right..." and my list went on.
She continued to encourage me to do just one small, manageable thing. What I hadn't really been saying out loud was that I was afraid. I went on to do that small thing, which was sending a text. That text led to another and eventually a meeting and within a few weeks; I signed with a literary agent, a dream I've had for almost my entire life.
I started to wonder what if I hadn't sent that text? Because there was a real fear that almost won.
I realized I had disqualified myself before I'd even started and I was exactly where the enemy wanted me to be; stuck.
Here are 3 signs that you're disqualifying yourself from what God wants to release through you:
1. You identify with what people say about you instead of what God says about you
The immediate excuses I recited back to my friend as if they were fact when she pushed me to send a text message weren't things I had read in God's Word.
They were things people had told me offhandedly. Most of these things were advice or opinions from learned experience or tips and ideas from a new perspective. Those are all good things, but they aren't God things. The different in that one "o" is huge.
The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy, (John 10:10) and one way he steals from us is he simply twists things that are usually true and helpful, but not in the specific situation we are in.
As a coach, I'm often asked to give advice. I don't really like giving advice because I truly believe my clients almost always already know the answer. It might take some digging; but they know deep down what is right for them. I won't be able to tell them. My advice isn't always helpful, it might just create more noise.
I had started to disqualify myself from what God wanted for me next as I started to recite, memorize, and reinforce these things people had shared with me.
These things were good, knowledgable pieces of advice; but they were twisted when God was inviting me into deeper faith.
2. You're afraid to take a tiny step
One of my favorite passages in scripture has become the passage in Joshua where the priests are asked to stand in the water before the river dries up so they can cross over it untouched. I had the honor of writing the content for The Abide Bible for the book of Joshua. In my studies to write on this passage, I found the craziest thing: It never says how long the priests stood in the water for.
Enduring Word Bible commentary says, "Who knows how long the priests stood there in the river? It might have been a moment; but it may have been a long time – in a situation like that, a moment seems like a long time!"
When I read that, something about it stirred my spirit because I realized my fear isn't usually in that first step. It's in the part that comes after; standing in the water, waiting for God's promise to take place.
If I were one of the priests, I would have been willing to step in the water, I just might have turned right around and stepped back out if it didn't dry up immediately.
If you are afraid of taking a step, or if you're like me and you're afraid of letting your feet sink in a bit while you wait, you might be disqualifying yourself from God's promise for you.
3. You feel forgotten
When David was anointed to be king, a familiar story to many of us, he was out in the fields while his brothers and father met with Samuel. His own family had forgotten about him; his father doesn't include him when Samuel asks to meet with all his sons.
Feeling forgotten has a big impact on us; in this story there's the beautiful moment where we read,
"The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV).
It took a prophet to come into David's home, go through all other possible options, and finally prompt his dad to go get the unsuspecting choice before David was anointed. David may have felt forgotten, but this moment shows us God never forgets and He can always find us at the perfect time.
There was a sacrifice and feast happening in David's home without him. I doubt this was the first time this had happened to him. He was left out, forgotten and overlooked by other people but never by God.
Samuel could have objected based on David's education, appearance, or look, but instead He obediently anoints him.
I wonder if David had disqualified himself before even stepping foot in the room; he wasn't initially invited to the sacrifice, how could he possibly become the guest of honor?
When you start to identify with what people say about you over what God says, when you're afraid to take a step and persist, and when you feel forgotten, you might be disqualifying yourself from what God wants to do next.