Because I Am Young - Guest Post By Gena McCown
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech,
in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
1 Timothy 4:12
I was invited to speak at a local church for an upcoming Women's Conference. There were many emails sent back and forth about the event, but now it was time to have a face to face meeting with the Women's Ministry Leader. You can only imagine my surprise when I entered the room to find a nineteen year old waiting for me. It was such an encouragement for me, someone who invests in raising up women into leadership, to see such a young woman in this position. I was impressed that the church saw her potential and had a willingness to let her lead this ministry.
I probably stared at her all googley eyed, enamored by the child of God sitting before me. On the way home I was even praying, “Lord, let there be more like her... nineteen year old women ready to take up the mantle of ministry leadership!”. After arriving home I had some time to really think about our conversation that day. Another woman had joined the meeting and after discussing my years of serving in the ministry, she pointed out to me that I had begun as a young leader too. After twenty years of ministry service, I had forgotten that fact. Just like someone believed in this young lady, there were people who believed in me.
Even at the ripe age of forty, I have days where I feel like people look at me and think I am too young to be an expert in my field. They see my face, they don't see the twenty years of experience that brought me to where I am today. I have to put a voice to that experience, share my education, etc. all to prove that I actually know what I know. My mother says that the last born always stays a “baby” in the eyes of their parents. I often wonder if that is the same in the church. When your faith journey allows you to grow in front of the church body... can they see who you have become, or do they still see only who you were?
Whether you are nineteen, forty, or ninety-nine, there always seems to be a least a hint of feeling inadequacy that we battle. It may because of our actual age or based on our number of years in service, it could be the lack of formal education too. We begin to doubt ourselves because we are not enough. But the Lord says that we are more than enough in Him, because He equips us for what He calls us too. The Word reminds us that even our age doesn't matter to God, who created us for his delight and purposes.
Jeremiah 1:6-7 reads, “Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.”
Be encouraged that the Lord can use YOU where you are at. When Moses questioned God's appointment by pointing out that he wasn't a good speaker, God didn't change His mind. Paul told Timothy to not let anyone look down on him because of his youth. Whatever it is that you believe disqualifies you, cast it aside. When the Lord asks... “Who will go?”, reply “I will. Send me.” He will handle the rest.
Gena McCown is an author, speaker, teacher and ministry leader who makes her home in Southern Florida. She is the founder of the Lead Her Women's Conference and leads The Women's Ministry Council. For more information about Gena visit: www.GenaMcCown.com)