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Seven Reassuring Reminders as You Dare to Step Out

“Imposter syndrome” they call it, and it afflicts many of us at one time or another.

A young doctor has a harder time convincing herself that she’s up to the task than convincing her patient.

Most authors publishing a book for the first time (or for the fifth, so they tell me) hear the doubts, the inner accusations: Who do you think you are? Why do you think people will want to read your words?

The struggle is real, but so is the reassurance God sends.

Last week, delightfully, one of God’s reminders reached me through a reader sending back to me my own words, words that I wrote eight years ago and needed to hear again.

Just fill the jars,” she wrote. Those four words came in 2014 as I worked on the book that is finally on its way out into the world (coming later this year). They continue to remind me that the Jesus who once turned water into wine is still at work in the world. And he still doesn’t ask me to turn water into wine, but to faithfully fill the jars with water and let him do his thing.

As You Step Out

As I continue to write and edit, here are a few reminders that I’ve gathered to encourage myself. Some are from Scripture, some from my own past writings, and some are the words of others. May you find a thought or two here to encourage you, too, as you step into whatever Jesus is inviting you to do with him today:

  1. Just fill the jars. Between you and those you serve stands Jesus. (BTW, this post might be the one I’ve personally returned to for encouragement most often over the years. Or maybe that honor goes to this one.)
  2. God’s got the door. Who has called you to what you’re doing? If He has called you and still wants you there, what can get in His way? “These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. . . . See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.” (Revelation 3:7-8)
  3. You are a most holy place, your body a holy of holies where God dwells (1 Cor. 6:19). What you offer when you bare your heart is far more than yourself. Who knows what might happen if you offer yourself, letting the curtain be torn and allowing others into that holy place of God’s dwelling?
  4. The LORD delights in his people (Psalm 149:4). God already delights in us! We have nothing to prove.
  5. “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful” (Myquillin Smith). Isn’t this wonderfully freeing as we offer our best efforts to Jesus and those around us?
  6. We’ve got the best help in the world! “I myself will help you,’ declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:14).
  7. One step at a time. (Or, as they say in Afghanistan, qatra qatra darya mesha. Many drops make a river.)


What encourages you to step out? I’d love to hear!

And if there’s something here that you think might encourage a friend, would you send them the link to this post?

Photo by Jan Tinneberg on Unsplash

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Gillian Coates

    I am most encouraged by the words “just fill the jars”. Those were the same words I heard this morning when praying with that story. The outcome is not dependent on how enthusiastic I am, or how effective I feel, but just putting one foot in front of the other, filling the jar with water, in obedience to what I’m called to do. Jesus will turn my water into wine.

    1. Carolyn Watts

      Thanks for sharing this, Gillian. How lovely that God repeated his words to you this morning!

  2. Sharon Morse

    Today your words struck a cord “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful”. How often do I strive so hard to share Jesus and my efforts seem to be fruitless. I must learn that Jesus needs to fill my mouth with His loving message to the person I am sharing with and then it will be beautiful.

    1. Carolyn Watts

      Thanks for sharing this, Sharon. I love that Jesus can and does receive our willingness as a beautiful gift, even when our offering is not “perfect” or we don’t see the results we would like. Maybe there’s an invitation here (for me as well!) to rest in his love and his sovereignty and trust him with the timing and the outcome?

  3. Barbara Abraham

    I keep coming back to this letter that you have written and each time I can’t get your words out of my mind….. they are so encouraging, Carolyn and as I begin a new phase of life just having moved to Vancouver Island from England at the age of 77 to be part of my only grandchild’s life. I just have to fill the jars with water and He’ll do the rest. That’s so powerful and freeing.
    So thank you so much, your words are always so gentle and encouraging,

    1. Carolyn Watts

      Thanks so much for letting me know this bit about what’s going on in your life, Barbara. I’m so glad there has been encouragement for you in the invitation to “Just fill the jars.” May you continue to know God’s gentle presence with you in this time of such big transition!

  4. Bonita

    I think it’s exciting to have freedom to be able to pursue what is life giving for me. Thank you for this and for the links to other posts, very encouraging.

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