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#RealTalk on Overcoming Timidity

April 12, 2018

When I was a little girl, I can remember tucking myself behind my mother anytime someone asked me something as simple as, “What is your name?” Being the youngest of five children, I embraced the role of shy. As I grew older, I would be asked to speak, and I would politely decline, stating “I don’t do that sort of thing. I am shy.” You can imagine the horror that came over me when I discovered, as Salutatorian of my high school class, I would have to give a speech in front of the whole school and town!

The problem with labels is that they can define not only who we are but what we do. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I discovered shy is a choice, not a condition. I began to feel God ask me to say “Yes” to certain things. I reluctantly said “Yes” to one thing. Not only did I live to tell the story, but I discovered it was quite fun to share the things God has planted in my heart.

About four years ago, I started a blog called “Life Outside the Shell” because that was exactly what I was doing. I was stepping outside of my comfortable shell. I have since migrated to a blog that is just my name because God asked me to embrace who He made me to be in my original design. Shywas never a word God spoke over me. It was a word I received, but God is redeeming and restoring all of my years of silence.

Last year, I began to feel called to start a podcast. I stuck my fingers in my ears and sang “la-la-la-la” because I did not want to accept this call from God. I told Him I would pray about it and asked for confirmation. The next week, I discovered that the next series at Gateway would be REAL. God had given me the name “Real Talk with Rachael” for my podcast, so I knew this was my confirmation that I was to, once again, step out from underneath that shy label and use my voice for God’s glory.

I still struggle with the shy, timid little girl resurfacing, but now when she tries to arise, I remind her of all the good things God has done when I use my voice. Now that my why is bigger than my what ifs, the spirit of fear and timidity has no hold on me.

If you struggle with fear, shyness, or timidity, I encourage you to meditate on 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given me a spirit of fear or timidity, but power, love and a sound mind.” I say this verse out loud daily. It lines up my thoughts and spirit with the word of God.

What is God calling you to share today? Do so in confidence knowing that the Lord has given you a unique voice that our world needs to hear.

Be Real

April 12, 2018

You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
Matthew 5:5 (MSG) 

Ah, real people. Ever met one of them? There’s just something about them that’s so refreshing. In a world where inauthenticity is the accepted norm, they have the audacity to be themselves. Hang around them for long enough and you’ll start to catch the bug too, and that’s because real people are free and their freedom gives permission to those around them to be free too.

They don’t let themselves get tangled up in self-negativity. Like Matthew 5:5 says, they’ve reached a place of full acceptance and contentment with the person God created them to be. And because of that, and because of Christ’s amazing love, they’ve got a twinkle in their eye, a spring in their step.

And here’s what else:

  • Real people tell others about Jesus (Psalm 66:16).
  • Real people aren’t ashamed of their stories (Romans 1:16).
  • Real people don’t rely on big words or drama to get their point across; they know the Holy Spirit is the one that makes heart-change happen (1 Corinthians 2:1-2).
  • Real people sing and dance and create (Psalm 149:3).
  • Real people laugh – like big shake-your-belly laughs (Proverbs 17:22).
  • Real people love, with no expectation or conditions (1 John 4:7).
  • Real people tell the brave truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
  • Real people light up the world (Matthew 5:14).

You know, Jesus was real. He didn’t run away from pain and suffering. He didn’t shun imperfect people. He embraced messy humanity and extended grace. Let’s be like Him. Let’s be genuine followers of Chris because this lost world needs to see the real Jesus.

Father, give us the boldness to walk in the identity You’ve given us, to celebrate Your love in front of the world. And let our example inspire others to seek You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Enough

April 12, 2018

But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you.” So I am very happy to brag about my weaknesses. Then Christ’s power can live in me. For this reason I am happy when I have weaknesses, insults, hard times, sufferings, and all kinds of troubles for Christ. Because when I am weak, then I am truly strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NCV

Pain.

Lying in bed, hearing the constant beep of the monitors, barely breathing because any slight movement meant blinding pain, listening to the dull hum of the lights and surrounded by mumbling voices, I’d never felt more alone. Pain has a funny way of isolating you, if you let it.

I was newly 16 years old when I had my first spinal fusion due to an aggressive form of scoliosis. Just a week before I had been ballet dancing full time. After surgery, the stark change in my abilities was difficult to accept.

The next few months of agonizing recovery left me addicted to pain medication and honestly, really lost. Was His grace enough? Would it fulfill me and sustain me for the multiple decades of daily chronic physical pain? Would He heal me? I wrestled with these questions, and if I’m going to be real with you – I responded in anger and resentment for a long time.

Months had passed. My incisions healed as thick scars. All the while, my heart had hardened. My mind had not changed since waking from surgery. In those many moments of intense pain, God was with me. He pulled me from the depths of despair and pain, and He gave me the verses Paul, who gave thanks amidst intense suffering, penned so many years ago. When I read them, the word “grace” leapt off the page. In ballet, grace is something we worked on all of the time. God’s grace, His favor, isn’t something to work for, it’s a gift.

I finally had enough. Enough pain, enough pity, enough resentment and anger, and enough focusing on myself. When I allowed God to change me, for His strength to fill in, to sustain me, and to give me hope, I finally realized that His favor was enough. He was enough.

Now I can look at my long and numerous scars that cover my body and appreciate the gift. I know my pain serves a purpose.

The scars are a reminder of being rescued from the pit.

Some days are much harder than others, and when the pain comes, I press in to our Father. His strength is made perfect in my weakness.

He is enough.

Is God enough? Are there areas in your life where you can boast in your weakness?

Lord, you give us hope and purpose. You will never leave us. Thank you for being strong when we are weak. Your favor is enough, and we are so thankful.

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