I was getting ready for a Sunday Night 6 pm service as usual! Bag was ready, water bottle filled, teeth brushed and as I came to find my outfit for the service, I began to feel frustrated and agitated out of nowhere. It went from ‘I can’t find anything to wear’ to ‘I can’t lead, who am I to stand before people, no one wants me a part of the team’ - ‘I quit’.
Sounds completely irrational writing it down, but I’m hoping someone can relate to how real those moments are. This eventually turned into months of facing serious turmoil every Sunday afternoon before turning up to be a part of the worship team. Some weeks it would be out of my control situations (practical), icky words people had spoken, intense emotional confusion, and some weeks lying voices of fear trying to paralyse my spirit.
Intimidation comes in many forms we know. Whether it be spiritual, emotional, practical, relational, or just downright ugly, in your face warfare! My journey has been a road of continually facing, and telling intimidation where to stick it! I am praying that if you are facing intimidation or turmoil of any kind today, that you will overcome them in Jesus’ powerful name!
So why does intimidation happen?
Well in its simplest form, you must be stopped. You are a child of God! Furthermore, you are doing something wonderful for His people! You are putting your faith into action and presenting yourself to God as a vessel for Him!
See, intimidation has this nasty way of using something juvenile (like my outfit choice) to get in and manifest in a deep part of your soul to expose your weakness. It can reveal REAL fears and wounds and twist them to essentially make us feel and think we are nothing, unworthy, a FRAUD - SMALL. The smaller we ‘feel’ the closer we are to being QUIET, GIVING UP, and TOLERATING anything less than PURE HEARTED FRUITFULNESS in our local church.
I’ve found this can instantly make us feel incredibly GUILTY or STUPID for letting such little things get to us. It can take us to a place of ‘it’s my fault...I’m not strong enough to overcome this in the private, how can I get up there and sing of God’s faithfulness and power to overcome’.
I want to speak to Worship Leaders for a moment here:
There is no doubt about it, you will face spiritual intimidation at some point!
You are not the first person to face intimidation! Jesus himself faced it!
The devil wanted to trip Him up, knock him out, and crush his fruitfulness! (See Matthew 4)
The word teaches us here that it can be a temptation to give in to that intimidation. This is good news because this would mean we have a CHOICE to lean away from it.
So this choice is made in faith, no doubt about it! It is made in faith because we have to PUSH through it, even when it doesn’t make sense, when we are too ‘exhausted’ or trapped in fear of it never leaving us.
Like pushing a sled at the gym, the initial push is terrifying, difficult and confronting, yet once the weight has shifted even the slightest, you have the upper hand and you gain momentum (as you CHOOSE to keep going), you breakthrough and the weight is released at the end.
One of my favourite scriptures is Mark 11:22:
“Have faith in God”
A while ago this scripture smashed and transformed me all over again. It doesn’t say “Have faith in ‘your’ faith”, or your ability to conjure up faith, to turn it on, to shout and pray and sing.
HAVE - FAITH - IN - GOD.
In HIM, His power, His might, His effort, by HIS GRACE.
Grace, the ability to ‘breathe even under a ton of bricks’!
Switch into THAT kingdom reality and let it do its work!
So how do we overcome?
Following the example of Jesus in the wilderness:
He confronted the Intimidation
Brought truth to the lies and voice of the enemy
Overcame it, leaving that moment empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Stop and take a step to identify exactly ‘what’ is making you feel intimidated. It can often be just that, ‘a feeling’ or ‘a lie’. Bring truth from the word and get specific with the exact lies that are trying to ROB your wonderful freedom in Christ.
I have to be honest there are many times I feel I did not overcome intimidation. This can be disheartening and breed more guilt, “Can’t I just NOT feel this way?”. I had to starve my spirit of certain ‘feelings’ that were irrational and feed it with TRUTH. By identifying exactly what was bringing the intimidation - I knew what to starve!
If you feed the intimidation, You get more of it.
If you feed your spirit with TRUTH *that comes from the word* and Faith in God, your heart, mind and words will follow suit by the grace of God.
Like a tug of war pulling both ways, sometimes it’s a simple as CHOOSING which way to lean, which voice to push into by His Holy Spirit.
Lean into Jesus.
Lean into Truth that overcomes.
It doesn’t matter what shape, form or emotion intimidation turns up as. We all will experience the Glory GOD gets when we OVERCOME it through Him who empowers us by his GRACE to do so! You see His gift of the Holy Spirit empowers us to become Big People!
Leaps of Faith
The Holy Spirit's role as the helper isn’t to help us sit in our intimidation, but to help us OVERCOME it.
To help point us to Jesus who has won victory over all intimidation past present and future.
I’d like to think we can become people of God who push past asking the Holy Spirit to sit and be ‘with us’ in the intimidation, but people who ask the Holy Spirit to guide us UP and OUT of this!
As I put my faith into action and didn’t give up, that intimidation had to bow to the TRUTH of Jesus.
So my encouragement to you today is to say yes to something that intimidates you - whether it be turning up to connect group, saying yes to pray at sound check, saying yes to helping prepare a gathering, saying yes to leading a song, choosing the set, just simply doing what someone else asks you to do!
Watch - because intimidation is a temporary companion.
Overcoming intimidation only results in one thing:
You overcome intimidation!
Intimidate the intimidation with Faith in God - “Fear Not for I am with You”.
We are blessed in the end, because there is always someone else’s breakthrough on the other side of yours.
In summary - This piece isn’t titled navigating intimidation for a reason - it is something we can wholeheartedly overcome in Christ Jesus!