When I think of trailblazing, I think of the trips my son has been on with his youth group over the past four years. Hiking in the mountains in such places like North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, and Colorado. He has had some amazing experiences in some beautiful parts of the United States. I see the pictures and wonder what kind of trail he walked on to get to the top of the mountain. The stories of what they ate or where they pitched their tents (and what happened after they pitched said tents) have become family lore. He has blazed new trails by taking these experiences and making them his own, and they have made him the wonderful young man he is today.

But, trailblazing doesn’t just happen on a mountain. It can happen in other places too. I had a friend call me a survivor the other week. I didn’t understand until he explained further because I sure don’t feel like a survivor. He explained, “You talk about things that make other people uncomfortable. You show your faith in ways I’m not sure other people understand. But, God does, and I think that’s what you have to keep in mind. You encourage more people than you know.” I almost cried. Even with the experiences I’ve had over the last couple of weeks which have highlighted the bad parts of my character, to know that someone had been encouraged by my words meant the world to me.

Now, as far as me actually being a trailblazer, I know it’s not something I’m doing alone. I can’t be doing it alone. It’s not possible. When words come into my head, I get an overwhelming urge to put them down on paper and weave them into pictures I see in my mind’s eye. They bring so much understanding to my heart when I re-read them. It reminds me of Psalm 119:105. “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.” It also reminds me of I Corinthians 2:13. “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, exclaiming spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.”

So, if what I said in the previous paragraph is true, then God is the one who has a hand in my writing. He is giving me the words to put onto paper, to weave into pictures, to minister in His Name. But the doubts and fears creep in to my brain especially after the past few weeks. If I’m a trailblazer, then the biggest thing I’m going after is doubt and fear. I feel unworthy to bear the name of Jesus-follower. I’m too different to do anything for God’s kingdom. And for me to think that I could actually write. I can hear the cruel laughter right now.

But, maybe the point I’m missing is from a story in Mark 9. Jesus is talking to the father of a boy who is possessed by an evil spirit. Starting in Verse 21, “Jesus asked the boy’s father, ‘How long has he been like this?’ ‘From childhood,’ he answered. ‘It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.’ ‘If you can?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!'” Those last words, “help me overcome my unbelief.” Maybe those are the words I need to use with a Christian brother or sister and have them pray for me. Maybe those are the words that would remove the crippling anxiety and depression from my heart. Or maybe they are just the spoken words God is waiting for me to use to bring Him glory in a world that devalues honesty and makes our faith a shadow of what it could be. Authentic community–maybe the first steps begin with me, and, as I accomplish them, maybe they could trail blaze a new beginning for my faith!

Praying God’s blessings on you all today!