Do You Want to Be the Hero or Rely on the Savior?
By Rachel Schelb
Hear Him Louder Essay Series: Rachel's Story
I like to think of myself as the heroes in the Bible. I am Esther, called to a difficult task, bold and brave, and rescuing poor, unsuspecting souls. I am the woman with the issue of blood, fighting the social norms, determined to get to Jesus, who I am confident will heal my pain. I am David, fighting a giant with a slingshot, while all the cowardly Israelites look on, astounded.
The reality, though, far too often, is different:
I am Haman, seeking my own glory and destroying others in the process.
I am the disciples, telling Jesus he doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he says someone touched his robe.
I am the cowardly Israelite army, scared to take on the giant.
For many years, I projected false confidence. I was the hero in the story. I wasn’t afraid of anything. I would speak my mind, project confidence in college classes, and never, ever bring up my social anxiety. I wasn’t a weak, doubting person in the narrative. I was bold and courageous, and nothing could stop me because I had Jesus on my side. I falsely believed that to appear weak was to negate the fact that Christ was in me.
This went on for years. When I first became a mom, I had it all together. I knew I wasn’t getting it all right and was in no way a “perfect mom,” but I was confident in what I was doing to any observer. I never spoke of the anxiety I felt anytime I went to church or spent time with friends. I was always concerned that I would be exposed as a fraud, not really as strong as she’s led people to believe. I watched my words, choosing carefully when to push the boundaries and when to agree quietly.
We moved back to my husband’s hometown seven weeks after I gave birth to my second child. Aside from his family, I knew only about five people in the city. It was overwhelming and simultaneously felt like a fresh start.
In those first few weeks, I heard God whisper, Be yourself.
I couldn’t be myself. I was a frazzled mom of two, one of whom was a colicky baby. At the time, my husband was on staff at the church, and I needed to preserve the image of a “good pastor’s wife.”
Still, I heard him. He wanted me to be myself.
I started being honest about my social anxiety. I stopped worrying as much if I measured up to the standards of those around me. I began to recognize my rightful place within God’s Kingdom story.
Although courageous when it counted, Esther was also likely very overwhelmed with becoming queen when she was just a commoner. Although brave to take on Goliath, David messed up royally with Bathsheba and had to run for his life to avoid being killed by Saul. These men and women of God were not some superhero freaks that never got scared.
Rather, they were willing to be used by God despite their flaws and weaknesses.
Over the past few years, I’ve grown, and continue to grow, into who I am. The truth is, I’m a bit of a mess. I’m more emotional than I ever let on. Social anxiety grips me regularly, and social distancing during the pandemic has only heightened this in me. I have no clue what I’m doing as a parent, but I’m winging it, and God has been faithful to help me every step. I’ve learned, not just in a Bible Drill, rote memorization type of way, that “his power is made perfect in weakness….for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
The call to “be myself” seemed vulnerable and exposing. It turns out it was. It required me to stop projecting a false narrative and instead embrace my need for a Savior.
It required me to be honest with friends and lose people in the process. Not everyone likes who I am. I don’t love that. However, I love that God delights in me. He made me in His image and didn’t mess it up!
As I’ve opened up and been more willing to embrace the less-than-confident parts of me, I’ve seen God fill in the gaps as only He can.
No, I am not the hero. But Christ in me is.
The Hear Him Louder Essay Series is a guest writer series where God's daughters share their stories of hearing God’s whispers in their every day. It’s meant to serve as an encouragement for the times when God feels far and seems quiet. When we read each other’s stories of how He meets us, it reminds and reassures us that He is near. May this series be an invitation for us to listen for His voice together.
Don't miss any posts in this series! Subscribe to receive notifications for each new essay, posted every other Thursday. When you subscribe, you'll receive a link to a FREE five-day devotional (45 beautiful pages!) called, “Closer: Five Days to Hearing God Louder.” Each day features teaching on one posture and a guided journaling section to help us practice taking steps toward hearing God louder in our every day.
Learn more about each of these five postures:
1 | Seek: If I Seek God, Will I Really Find Him?
2 | Know: Will God Speak, Even to Me?
3 | Expect: Can I Expect to Hear God?
4 | Listen: How Do I Listen for God?
5 | Connect: Is God Really Right Here?
New to this series? Check out the rest of the series!
Interested in contributing to the Hear Him Louder Essay Series? The call for submissions opens in January and June. To submit an essay outside of those windows, contact me.
Rachel Schelb is incredibly passionate about the biblical call to show hospitality, or as she puts it - to love well on purpose.
She is an introvert who frequently gets confused for an extrovert. She loves tacos, breakfast food, Diet Dr. Pepper and kayaking.
Rachel has been married to her best friend, Andy, for 12 years and they have two children.