How to Step Out in Faith When You Feel Inadequate | Ashley Varner

How to Step Out in Faith When You Feel Inadequate

Do you ever find yourself asking, “Why did God call me to do this?” You have a place in God’s plan, but don’t be discouraged if you question your calling, actually it’s really common. But it’s important to act on God’s call, even when it may be confusing.

Even before we understand the how, Jesus calls us to walk on the water. And if we stay focused, if we ignore distractions, if we keep our eyes on Him, our circumstances won’t be any match for what we can do IN HIM.

Resources Mentioned:

Power of Prayer Workbook: https://ashleyvarner.com/prayer
Walking in Confidence Bible Study: https://ashleyvarner.com/confidence

Highlights From the Episode:

Do you ever find yourself asking, “Why did God call me to do this?” You have a place in God’s plan, but I don’t want you to become discouraged if you question your calling because it’s actually really common. Today, we are going to talk a little bit about how to step out in faith whenever you feel inadequate, because it’s important to follow God’s call even whenever it’s confusing. So before we ever understand the how, Jesus calls us to walk on the water. We’re going to look a little bit into the story of Peter and see how we can step out in faith like he did, even whenever we feel a little bit insecure, a little bit inadequate, so let’s get started. Let’s learn about how we can step out in faith, even whenever it feels confusing.

Hey there, my friends, and welcome back to “The Renewed Mind.” I am Ashley Varner. I am a Christian life coach, and I really specialize in helping women take their thoughts captive. So all of this month, we’re kind of doing a deep dive into taking thoughts captive.

Every month, I try to do kind of like a broad topic and then each week we kind of dissect it. And so I’ve talked about topics like time management and negative emotions, but I really wanted to take four weeks and get to the nitty gritty of taking your thoughts captive. There’s a lot of great episodes coming up, so make sure to subscribe so that you know when those come out. But I wanted to start by talking about how to step out in faith, even whenever we feel inadequate.

See, I don’t know about you, but I think most of us have been in that place where we followed God into something that we knew that He wanted us to do. And then we look around and our circumstances feel completely out of control. You know, all of a sudden you feel overwhelmed and confused and maybe even a little bit fearful. But I want you to know that this is pretty common and you are not alone in this. So this is something that even Peter, the disciple of Jesus, felt big time. And I am really going to just be teaching out of Matthew 14 today.

There’s a couple of stories in this chapter that if you go back and read the entire chapter, you are really going to glean a lot of information from. But I wanted to just kind of touch briefly on two stories to show you what it looks like whenever you feel inadequate but you step out in faith anyway.

So the first story that I wanna share from Matthew 14 is the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. So He had five loaves, two fish. You probably know the story. That’s all the food He had for 5,000 men, which scholars now have said that they believe there could have been up to 15,000 people there that were fed from this little boy’s lunch. And could you imagine just being in the front row seat to that miracle? Because that’s right where Peter was.

Could you imagine passing out food and reaching to the bottom of the basket only to realize that there was still food there? I can’t even imagine what an amazing miracle that must have been. And that’s where Peter was. He was living in that. And I think that after seeing all of that, he probably had a lot of faith, right? It was probably easy to believe that Jesus was the Son of God. And here he is gathering up all the leftovers, there was actually 12 basketfuls left over, so the leftovers were more than what they started with.

And the Bible says that immediately after that, Jesus made His disciples get into a boat and they went ahead of Him to the other side of the lake and He stayed behind. Jesus wanted to dismiss the crowd and He wanted to have some time to just pray by Himself. He sent the disciples out on the water, and something happened out on the water. While they were there, the boat was getting tossed back and forth because of this big storm. Wind and waves came up, and the wind was pushing against the boat, it was rocking back and forth, and it was kind of a little scary.

I think it’s interesting that the disciples were fearful in this situation because many of them were fishermen, right? That’s what was their expertise, that was their career field, that was their livelihood. And so they had probably been on this lake, this sea, multiple times. They had been probably in situations like this. But they were very fearful. And as they’re in this boat, they see Jesus coming, walking on the water. And He’s telling them, “Don’t be afraid, take courage. It is I.”

Peter looks out there. Now, I can imagine that feeding the 5,000 was still probably kind of clear on his mind, but you never know. I mean, whenever you’re going through a difficult situation, sometimes something that just happened that was just great kind of falls away from your memory, right, whenever there’s something that seems more urgent right in front of you.

So here’s Peter, and he steps up and he says, “Lord, if it is You, tell me to come to You on the water.” And Jesus says, “Come.” And so Jesus tells him to come to Him, and Peter, he starts to step out on the boat, out of the boat, and he’s walking on the water. Now, before we get to the rest of this story, I really wanna ask you if you’ve been in a place like that.

Acting Without the How

I know that over the years in my spiritual life, God has called me to do some pretty big things. He’s called me to step out and do some things that weren’t really that comfortable. And when I say big things, I don’t necessarily mean like up in front of people or anything like that, but just things that were really uncomfortable for me to do, things that were completely out of my comfort zone. And I know I’m not the only one.

I want you to think about a time, maybe it’s you right now, whenever you feel like Peter and you have one foot still in the boat and one out on the waves, and you’re thinking, “I wanna step out in faith. I want to have the kind of heart that follows Jesus and goes to Him.” And so you’ve got one foot in, one foot out, and you’re about to step out. And I want you to see that this is a beautiful place to be, because what it means is that you’re willing. You’re willing to go after Jesus.

I think that it’s interesting that Peter didn’t go and like consult with the other disciples like, “Should I go, should I stay?” No, it was between him and Jesus. Sometimes we can see other people in our lives, or even the situations in our own lives, and we think, “Well, that doesn’t seem logical that they would make that decision.” Or we maybe even might judge them for a decision that they make that we would never make ourselves.

The truth is that whenever you’re making a decision to follow after Jesus, you’ve heard from the Lord. As His child, you can hear from God. Sometimes we get to this place where we think that we can’t hear from the Lord, like we have to go to a pastor or we have to go to somebody else. But really, if you are in daily relationship with Christ and you are studying God’s Word, the Lord can speak to you.

Whenever you make a decision to follow after Him, not everybody is gonna understand that. And in the same token, if you see someone else who’s stepping out in faith, you might be judging them, thinking, “Well, there’s no way that God told them to do that.” Or, “I don’t see how any good can come from that.” Let that be their decision as they’re following after God, and you make your own decision.

Because I wonder if some of the other disciples had kind of that judgemental attitude towards Peter to say, “I can’t believe he’s walking out there. Look at this storm around us. You know, look at these waves. I can’t believe he’s doing this He’s leaving the safety of everything he’s known,” or whatever. They could have been judging him in that, but he was ready to step out in faith. And that leads me to my next point today about how to step out in faith.

Stay Focused

So first we have to be willing to make that first step. The second step is to stay focused. So just like Peter, you have seen miracles that Jesus has performed in your life and maybe the lives of other people, and you are following His leading, you’re stepping out of the boat.

When He tells you to get out, you get out, right? When He tells you to come, you start walking to Him. It feels like you’re doing everything that you’re supposed to be doing. You’re following Him, right? But there’s still wind and waves around you. There’s still gonna be hard times. There’s still gonna be tumultuous things that happen in your life. Just because you’re following after God doesn’t mean that your life is gonna be a bed of roses, right?

Whenever we find ourself in that place, let’s look at what Peter does. He’s there right in the middle. He’s following, he’s doing what God’s told him to do, and there’s all these waves that are coming up around him. And he is trying to stay focused, right? He’s looking at Jesus, he’s walking towards Jesus. He was doing great, right? He was stepping out, he was following Him.

But then he started looking at the things around him. He started looking at the circumstances around him that were surrounding him. He got distracted by the wind and the waves. In other words, he took his eyes off of Jesus. I would say that we can be sometimes quick to judge Peter. And we think, you know, “What a sissy. He was right there, Jesus was right there. He was walking on the water and he got scared and started sinking.”

Ignore Distractions

But how often do we do the same thing? You know, we feel confident enough to get out of the boat. We know that we’re called, and we’re walking in that calling. But then we get distracted. We start to see other people who are maybe more qualified than we are, or things start to get difficult, right?

Someone says something that hurts our hearts and we don’t have any help. Whatever the list is, it could go on and on. But the result is the same. We start to sink, right? If we are not ignoring distractions.

Thankfully, though, the story doesn’t end there, because Matthew 14:31 says, “Immediately,” immediately, I love that word, “Immediately, Jesus reached out His hand and caught him.” Jesus was right there ready to save him. And He does the same thing for us.

So that’s why it’s okay to feel a little bit inadequate, and you can still be secure in the calling no matter what the circumstance is because Jesus is the factor that we sometimes forget about, right? He’s right there, ready. It wasn’t by Peter’s own strength that he was walking on the water, right? He had to take the steps, he had to walk out in faith, but it was truly Jesus’ power that was causing Peter to walk on the waves.

And if we focus on Him, if we keep our focus on Christ, and we try to ignore the things around us, that is gonna be us. We’re gonna be able to walk in His strength. The only thing that Peter did that the rest of the disciples didn’t do was he got out of the boat, right? He was willing to step out in faith. And if you are in that place, realizing… We’re gonna talk about this in a couple of weeks when we talk about feeling inadequate or having feelings of self doubt.

I want you to see that taking that first step is what differentiates you. Saying, “Yeah, I know it’s inconvenient. Yeah, I know it’s gonna be difficult. But I’m willing to step out in faith,” and then focusing on Jesus will take you the rest of the way. So I really didn’t wanna just end this with the story of Peter, you know, Jesus, pulling him up out of the water, because this story stayed fresh in Peter’s mind for the rest of his life.

A New Peter

And one reason why I believe that is because in Acts 2, we see a completely different side of Peter. This is the day of Pentecost. It’s where a lot of believers were staying in the upper room in Jerusalem, and all of a sudden they were filled with the Holy Spirit. And the people around them were starting to ask questions, and some even were making fun of them, saying that they were drunk because these men were speaking in other languages that they had never known. That’s what it means whenever you’re filled with the Holy Spirit, you’re baptized in the Holy Spirit.

So Peter could have shrunk back and not said anything, but he was a different person. He had his eyes squarely fixed on Jesus, and he stood up, he addressed the crowd, and he gave a sermon that resulted in 3,000 people being added to the Kingdom of God that day.

He knew what it meant to step out in faith, but he also knew that that wasn’t where we ended. Just stepping out isn’t enough. We have to keep our eyes focused on Christ. We have to keep our eyes focused on Him and ignoring distractions, knowing that we do it in His strength.

I want to end this video by asking you, how can you start to live your life that way? How can you take your thoughts captive, start ignoring the distractions around you, and realize that you stepping out in faith has very little to do with the circumstances, the wind and the waves that are around you? You and I can choose to look past our circumstances and look straight into the eyes of Jesus. We can look to Him and He’s going to help us to ignore all the distractions around us, to ignore the wind and the waves around us, so that we can walk straight to Him and really live out the calling that He has for us.

All right, I hope that this encouraged you today. If you are struggling to step out in faith, I would definitely recommend a couple of resources for you. The first is a free Power of Prayer workbook. It’s all about becoming a woman of prayer. You can grab that at https://ashleyvarner.com/prayer

But if you want to work on walking in confidence and knowing who you are in Christ no matter what the circumstances are around you, then I wanna recommend the Walking in Confidence Bible study. It is a 21-day audio Bible study that I created. It’s kind of like a mix between Bible study and podcast, so you listen to the audio, there’s a workbook that goes along with it. You can check that out. It’s at a reasonable price. You can see that at AshleyVarner.com/Confidence

Both of those resources are gonna be very helpful and instrumental in you moving forward in your walk with Christ and learning how to step out in faith, even when the people around you aren’t going out with you, even if they are not walking in faith with you, or even if they might be judging you. So I hope that these things helped, and I will see you guys next time. Like I said, make sure to subscribe because all this month, we have some great, great content coming out about taking your thoughts captive. I’m gonna be talking about how to master self-accountability so you can be accountable to yourself instead of needing someone else. We’re gonna talk about God’s conviction versus the enemy’s condemnation. And then we’re gonna talk about how to overcome self-doubt. That’s the lineup for this month. Make sure to subscribe and get the notifications so that you don’t miss anything, and I will see you guys next time.

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- Ashley Varner

it’s my goal to reach every Christian mom with the truth that God wants to transform their life by renewing their mind.

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