We Preach Best What We Need To Learn Most {a reflection on being genuine and sharing struggles...}

Monday, October 26

It all started with a movie quote...

As I sat listening to the Luther movie dialogue with my teens on Wednesday night (I wasn't exactly watching as I had asked their permission to edit photos while we watched... remember, I was "in the weeds" that day!) something really stood out to me. The quote as I heard it was, "We preach best that which we need to learn most." It kind of stopped me in my tracks.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the value of sharing genuinely about where I am at right now. Sometimes it seems like we have to have all the answers before we can share anything. Of course that very idea is completely fallible as we will never have all of the answers this side of heaven. We do, however, have God's Word as a source of wisdom. We also have the gift of fellowship with other believers to share in this earthly journey as we seek the will of our Heavenly Father in our everyday lives. However, it is only through genuine sharing that we can fully benefit from the relationships God has given us here on earth.

We preach best what we need to learn most. 

The statement is both simply profound and incredibly intimidating. The very idea that we can be most effective when we are most vulnerable is not an easy one to swallow. However, scripture is full of chosen messengers who felt ill-prepared to do the work God had set before them. God has always loved choosing individuals who aren't necessarily the most qualified, and it is in His supreme wisdom that He does so. There is a more well-known quote that easily comes to mind when I start thinking about this...

"Those whom God calls, He equips." 

This statement so commonly thrown about is not without Biblical support. We see in Scripture where God promises to equip his children for service. A few examples:
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. {Ephesians 2:10}
Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. {Hebrews 13:20-21}
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. {Philippians 1:6}
I probably have said something like this more than once. Yet how much harder is it to actually put into practice? How often have I said "Here I am! Send me!" but then failed to trust in my abilities or started to doubt that I am good enough for the task set before me? I know I often find myself thinking that I can serve once I become more ____________. I fill in the blank any number of ways. I want to be more disciplined, have more knowledge, feel more prepared, possess more resources... I am always focusing on what I lack instead of focusing on the One who will provide. 

What often holds me back, when I look at the very root of each issue, is the fear of not being accepted or successful. 

The picture of success that the world paints is very different than the one our Creator does. How can I successfully serve the God of All Creation if I am such a hot mess? How can I trust equally flawed people to respond to me, when all around me the world whispers that I am not good enough? If I share where I am right now, instead of waiting until I have the answers, how can I maintain that picture of togetherness that people want in a leader or influencer? Not that I have ever been the picture of someone who has it all together. I can't help but laugh at that thought. The truth is that there is a whole layer of my frayed life that is even messier than what I already let people see. Do I really have to be that genuine? And do I really want to be a "leader"? 

It is okay to not have all the answers. It is okay to instead share just the questions that shape your current journey.

So, here I sit... preaching to myself about what I most need to hear. And sharing some of that internal conversation in a somewhat public forum. I feel so strongly that this is where my efforts need to focus right now. Maybe the questions I am asking myself are actually more valuable than the answers I don't have. Wait... did that totally not make sense? I am pretty sure I have reached my limit of structured thought by now. If you thought this post would have answers of any kind... well, sorry! It does, however, mark the start of something for me. 

I have been reading back through a lot of what I used to write. I see how God has been working on me in huge ways, and I also am reminded that just sharing my brokenness was often the thing that encouraged others the most. If there is one thing I can easily be, it is broken and flawed. Why do I exert so much energy trying to "be better" and "do more" when all God asks of me is that I be open to His work in my life and the ways He can use that for His glory? Over and over He has shown me that the messy parts of life hold some of the greatest treasures. I want to dwell on that right now, and really process that truth. I feel like it holds such wisdom. 

So anyhow, there is the state of my heart tonight. No answers; no neat and tidy packaged wisdom. Just a whole lot of questions and a beautiful hope that through this sharing I can glorify God and encourage others. It sounds like a lofty goal when I type it out. So, before the insecurity can take root I had better hit publish! More to come, friends...

Oh, and this was not pre-planned with this post but I am cohosting #LetsBeRealTogether with this awesome blogger on IG tomorrow! It is a project that happens on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month, and is all about encouraging us to be more genuine and "unedited" in our social media once in a while. Read more here and join us tomorrow! 

Linking up with Titus 2sDay and Titus 2 Tuesday

Care to share? 
What is something you can preach best because you need to learn it yourself? 


  1. oh that is SO true - only if we've gone through something can we truly understand and share it for ourselves...

  2. This is so true, something I've been discovering through writing as well. Thank you for being so real + sharing this with us.

  3. This is so beautifully honest, thank you for sharing. I think that your very questioning and vulnerability is the answer you seek, the answer is in the doing, breathing and living with an open heart despite of not knowing what''s next and in spite of being, feeling or even looking perfect. Truth be told I am mighty glad that you are in such a place because it show's great spiritual fruit will be borne from this process. xxx

  4. Amen sister friend. I find what I write and preach is what the lord has been working on my heart about. 😄

  5. Love this post Branson! That first quote hit me hard, "We preach best what we need to learn most." There is so much truth in that!
    God is GREAT!

  6. This is so very true and so very beautiful! Everything I write seems to be what I am working on with myself. I can never speak in a "tower voice," as I am usually speaking to myself! Thank you for this truth!

  7. HA! I preach patience most often and it is the thing I am lacking most, and what God has been working into me most. Love it!



  8. Beautifully written! I especially like this, 'The very idea that we can be most effective when we are most vulnerable is not an easy one to swallow'

    Blogging has been teaching me a lot about being authentic and vulnerable these past few months.

    Very valuable lesson to learn.

  9. Well written post straight from the heart! He does equip and He does use the weak. When we are weak, He is strong! Enjoyed reading this very much:)

  10. This spoke strongly to me. I especially love the part about the true issue being the fear of not being accepted or succeeding. I struggle a lot with this. It's nice to see I'm not alone. :)


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