I Believe in You



Ten years ago, when we first started The Refuge, my faith community in Denver, I received an unexpected donation from a friend with a simple note enclosed. It only said four words:  “We believe in you.”

We believe in you.

The minute I read those four words, I started to cry.

And even now, years later, when I think about that note and the meaning it had all those years ago, I choke up.  

Here’s why:  Stepping out into leading The Refuge all those years ago was one of the scariest, most vulnerable things I’ve ever done in my life. I heard all kinds of voices in my head (and also from real life people, too, who disagreed theologically with a female lead pastor) saying that I didn’t have what it took, that it was out of my league, that I would fail.

Now, after all this time and experience, a lot of the insecurity about pastoring is indeed gone. But, alas, I have a whole new set of reasons that I still need people in my life who are with me, supporting me, encouraging me and believing in me.

In fact, without them, I’m not sure I could keep going.

Because real life—no matter our vocation or circumstance or education or faith—is hard.

Each of us reading this struggle with some form of doubt, worry and fear. No matter how strong, brave, settled, or secure we might be, we still question ourselves, feel stuck or find ourselves staying up in the middle of the night, replaying a long list of “could haves,” “should haves,” “what ifs,” or “if onlys.”

It’s human.

And it’s why we need others to believe in us when we aren’t quite sure we do.

“I believe in you” are powerful words.

Healing words.

Life-giving words.

Courage-inducing words.

What’s interesting for me is that it’s not hard for me to share these words with others. It’s not hard at all for me to believe in others, to see what could be for them, what future beauty could emerge in their life, or what they are called to do.  

However, believing in myself is sometimes a little more difficult.

I realize that sometimes I have great faith for others and not as much for me.  

I am guessing it all boils down to fear.

Fear of failure.

Fear of disappointment.

Fear of not being enough.

Fear of being too much.

Our fears prevent us from moving forward on our hopes and dreams and passions and calls.

But when I think about most every character in the Bible, I quickly arrive at a helpful reality—they were all afraid, too. They often didn’t believe they could take the next step, go any further. They were paralyzed, tired, ready to give up. But God kept speaking to them, stirring them, calling them to listen, to follow, to move in faith despite their fears.  

God believed in them.

And then I begin to think of all the amazing women I have known over the years, and the obstacles they’ve overcome to become more free, more strong, more alive, more passionate, more loving, more brave, more compassionate and more wise. None of that came cheap or easy; it came through the hard work of showing up, staying in, and moving toward Hope despite their fears.

If I took a little poll from each one of them, I am almost positive they’d say that a piece of moving forward on their journey came through others who somehow believed in them. To change, to move, to live out of a new place, to do a new thing, someone believed in them. Someone along the line said,

I believe in you. You can do it. You have what it takes. You will make it through. This isn’t the end of the story. You have a good future. You are worth it. You are enough. You got this. We believe in you.”

Yes, this is the gift we can give each other.

The legacy we can build up in one another.

The seeds we can plant in each other’s hearts and minds.

I wouldn’t be who I am today without the people in my life—both women and men—who weren’t afraid to remind me that they believed in me. That they saw what I couldn’t see. That they knew I had certain gifts that I didn’t fully value. That they knew how hard it was to keep going but they wanted me to make it.  This gift they gave me (and keep giving me) has sustained me, helped me keep going when I wanted to give up. It helped me grow up and out of some of the things that I was so insecure about. It helped shape me into who I am today.

I needed them along the way.

I need them now.

I will need them in the future.

SheLovelys, this is why we need each other so desperately, because in a harsh and broken world, it’s hard to get to new places and live out God’s call on our lives to be women of justice and peace and love, if we don’t have others believing in us, for us, with us along the way.

May we remember how powerful these four words can be in helping each other keep going—I believe in you.

I believe in you.

Thanks for believing in me, too.