I remember teaching my first message.

I was young. It was bad. Really, really bad. I chose to teach on Revelations. I had been a believer for about 10 minutes. Well, almost 2 years actually, but what I knew about Revelations could fit on the end of a needle. I gave it my best try. The teenagers in the room gave their best try too, but about 20 minutes in I had lost them. The whole time my knees knocked. Literally. I was shaking so bad that my voice quivered and my knees beat against each other like tambourines.

When I finished, the youth pastor (who had asked me to share) said, “Well, that was . . . um, thoughtful.”

I can only imagine his conversation later with his wife.

I thought she’d never stop. 

What was I thinking?

Revelations, really? 

Years later when I felt God asking me to speak, moments like these made me want to say no. It’s a lot more fun to say yes to things that don’t make my knees knock. Like, book reviewer. Yep, I could do that in a heartbeat. I love to read. I can write. Those two things go really well together. Or cheerleader. Put me beside someone else and I can encourage them all the way to the finish line.

Go, sister, go!

But comfort and ease is rarely where God leads. Instead, he leads toward purpose. Toward growth. Toward himself.

When I step into places where my knees knock, I am no longer dependent on me.

I can’t settle into the niches I have carved for myself. Instead, my feet are placed on new territory with a promise that what God sees in me will come to be — with a whole lot of learning curves. With a few fall-on-my-face adventures. With lots of prayer and preparation and a giant dose of trust.

The other day I was in a small prayer room. A younger woman walked in and when she passed me, she stopped and said hello. That began a conversation. I learned that God led her from a large city to NW Arkansas. She arrived with a suitcase and a small bank account, and a whole lot of trepidation.

Now a missions opportunity had arisen and it would take her back to her original birthplace of Africa. It felt huge. She was seeking answers. She wondered if God could possibly use her, since her fear and uncertainty felt bigger than her faith. Her knees weren’t knocking visibly, but they were knocking on the inside of her. She listed all the reasons that it didn’t make sense, but I could see her heart.

If God was the one leading her to Africa, she was ready to go. I can’t wait to see how this new adventure unfolds for her.

Knees knocking and all.

I don’t know what God is asking you to do, but if he’s the one asking then he’ll lead the way. It won’t look like this:

I say yes = easy

I say yes = no mistakes ahead

Instead, if we could put these things into a formula it might look like this:

I say yes + knees knocking + learning curve ahead +

celebrations + falling on my face + getting back up + trust = growth.

Spiritual maturity is a result of saying yes when your knees are bouncing like tambourines. We discover purpose. We learn what we are capable of. We sign up for an adventure that sometimes feels up and down, but we lock our eyes on Jesus and we keep going, because he is our rock.

But practicing the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ, who is the head. Ephesians 4:15 (NET)

Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen. Peter 3:18 (NLT)

Are your knees knocking?

When you step out in faith, even as your knees bang together, you proclaim that this adventure of faith isn’t about you. It’s not about your fear. It’s not about what you can or cannot do, but a willingness to learn and grow and stretch.

My knees no longer knock when I speak, whether the crowd is large or small.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other areas where fear and doubt and uncertainty creep in. There will be times that God asks me to trust him — in my marriage, in relationships, in a world that feels a little crazy, with my budget, with that huge leap of faith that seems impossible, with transition, or any other act of faith.

It’s in those moments where God sees us – our knees tapping out a rhythm, but with a willing heart to follow where he leads. And that’s where growth begins. The layers wrapped around our heart, our thoughts, our identity, are peeled back one by one as we discover who we are, knocking knees and all.

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Related resources

A Spirit-Led Heart reminds you that we have a helper, an advocate. We are never alone, but empowered with wisdom, boldness, direction, faith greater than the natural, and so much more. Check out Suzie’s new book:

The Spirit-Led Heart: Living a Life of Love and Faith Without Borders – (Download two chapters free).

This book captures so much of what my heart beats.
. . Micah Maddox

You are loved, rescued, AND empowered! Michele O’Leary

What my heart always told me . . . is true. Esther Pannebaker

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