Erica Wiggenhorn writes Bible studies and teaches biblical principles for life change. Her latest release by Moody Publishers: Letting God Be Enough: Why Striving Keeps You Stuck and How Surrender Sets Your Free examines our fear of inadequacy and how God points His people on a path to freedom by defining their identity and resting in His sufficiency. Instead of leaning on self-reliance and remaining shackled by self doubt, we begin to grasp the goodness and faithfulness of God.
We are honored to catch up with Erica for this exclusive interview.
Q: Erica, thanks for doing this interview. Besides being an author, you are the founder of Every Life Ministries. Tell us more this ministry and your involvement there.
I struggled with desire and consistency in reading my Bible for years. I wanted to create tools that would help people not only get their face in the Book and live like it's true, but to enjoy the process and feel empowered to study the Bible on their own after walking through one of my resources with me.
Q: Congratulations on the forthcoming release of your new book LETTING GOD BE ENOUGH. Briefly, what's the book about?
Contrary to the world's RX for self-doubt- unroll your resume and cite your qualifications and past successes, or stand in the mirror and remind yourself why you are enough- none of which is bad advice, it's just inadequate advice. Because we all face circumstances and situations where we have no past experience to draw upon. No previous successes to site. Then what? We cannot cure cancer, put the prodigal on the path back home, force others to forgive us, resurrect a ruined relationship, see the addict free...we cannot humanly do any of those things. But God can.
When God called Moses to a season and an assignment that felt impossible to Moses, God never unrolled his resume and gave him props as to why Moses was the guy for the job. Which would've been nice for a guy who clearly struggled with self-doubt, to hear some atta boy's from God. But God doesn't give Moses any props, He simply promises His presence. God would be with Moses and bring His plans to pass. The plan never depended on Moses performance it rested on God's promises.
Q: Why did you write this book?
This book was born from my own struggle of my fear of not being enough. For a season, an assignment, an opportunity, a relationship and how it led to endless cycles of performance and people pleasing in an attempt to be enough for all people at all times. The bottom line is trust- do I trust that God's capabilities are great and that is character is good? That He is forever faithful? Most of our struggles with trust come from an imperception of God's power or lack of intimacy with His character
Q: The sub-title is what captivated me: Why Striving Keeps You Stuck and How Surrender Sets You Free. How can surrender and not striving set us free? Can you explain?
Striving is rooted in the lie of self-reliance. Jesus plus me. God needs me to do certain things in order to accomplish His plans. If I don't the plan will certainly fail. So we are so busy striving we become trapped in endless cycles of performance and people pleasing rather than resting in the sufficiency of God.
Q: What does it mean to surrender to God? Does this mean we do nothing?
Far from it! When Moses originally attempted to deliver the Israelites from Egypt, he did it in his own strength. In the way he thought best. We read about it briefly in Exodus 2. And he failed epically. So he fled to Midian to a life of obscurity as a shepherd. But God did not leave Moses there. Moses had not surrendered to God, he ran from God. Then when God told Moses to return to Egypt for a do-over, he argued with God about it. My son trying to fix the printer. And how when I ask him to do something, he will do it, but he always has to do it his own way. He always has to bring his own twist into it. Which generally doesn't go well.
Surrender means saying to God, "I can't do this on my own. Only you can do this God. And I bow before you and acknowledge my willingness to do it your way.
Q: How do we know we have surrendered to God and not striving?
Illustration of faith vs. trust- life in the wheelbarrow. When we are at rest and focused on God, we are surrendered. When we stand back, or run ahead, we are striving.
Q: In the book you focused very much on Moses in the Bible, why Moses?
I refer to Moses as the greatest self-doubter in the Bible. The way Moses is described in Acts 7 by Stephen in his sermon and the way Moses describes himself in Exodus 3 & 4, you would hardly believe they are one and the same person! Most of us, especially women, we like Moses, downplay our gifts and abilities, always can find someone who we see as better or more gifted, and generally balk at any sort of accolades being spoken over us. Speaking illustration of saying something you appreciate about the woman next to you, now tell the woman next to you something you appreciate about yourself and there is generally crickets in the room, because we struggle to see ourselves in that way.
Q: How can this book be of help to those of us who are struggling with self-doubt and anxieties?
Inviting them to focus on the 3 promises God gives Moses in Exodus 3:
1. The promise of His presence (I will go with you)
2. The promise of fulfillment (when He brings the people out...not if)
3. The promise of intimacy (you will worship me on this mountain- witness my wonders and walk in my goodness- Moses would know that God was worthy of his worship and service)
The $50 bill illustration- Jesus is the tape holding us back together- that's the gospel. Our value has not changed, but the tape has made us stronger...our limitations are not our lament. They are an invitation for God's power to be on display in our lives. Like Paul says, "I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses that the power of Christ may rest on me.".