Emma Tanner

A Work in Progress

On Eagles’ Wings

on June 20, 2013

Last week, I gave a presentation. I was talking about The Princess Project, a subject dear to my heart. My talk was well received, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Nothing very remarkable there, you might think. But bear with me.

Let me take you back in time a few years. Let me introduce you to a young woman recently graduated from Cambridge University Vet School.  She has recently got married, moved to London, landed her dream job. And her confidence is at rock bottom.

All through school, she has been defined by her academic achievements.  Being ‘the brainy one’, the ‘swot’, was even how she saw herself. In her eyes, this is how she gains approval- so important to her- and how she makes people happy.

Except at Cambridge, that didn’t happen. She wasn’t the brainy one any more- just slightly the wrong side of mediocre. It seemed to her as if everyone was good at everything. She wasn’t good enough at playing the flute to join the orchestra as she had at school. Her times weren’t fast enough to make the swimming team. When she got a third at the end of her first year, it was a big blow to a struggling ego. If I’m not clever, she asked herself, who am I?

When she graduated six years later, for a while she thought she’d found the answer. She was a vet! That was a definition of herself that she was happy to adopt, and that people could readily accept. But most of the time she didn’t really feel very good at that, either. She found her first year as a newly qualified vet in turns exhilarating, exhausting, and an extraordinarily steep learning curve- but mostly terrifying. The thought of speaking in public would have reduced this young woman to a quivering wreck.

That was twelve years ago. What has changed?


I am still a vet (and, hopefully, a slightly more competent and confident one!)- but I have learned not to let that define me. I am very happy to still be a wife- but that doesn’t define me either. I have been fortunate enough to become a mummy- but even that isn’t primarily who I am.

Who am I? A daughter of the living God. I was made for relationship with Him. Knowing that I am loved the way I am, that nothing I do can make God love me any more- or less- brings a real confidence with a sure foundation. He loved me long before I loved Him. He sent His son Jesus to die for me way before I was even born. He knows me better than I know myself, and has had a plan for my life in place since the beginning of time.

I have learned that relying on my own strengths and abilities is much less effective than relying on God. As the Bible puts it:

I can do anything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Phillippians 4:13.

When I do things by myself, I am grounded by my own limitations, real or imagined. When I do things in God’s strength and power, the sky’s the limit.

Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

So that’s how I come to find myself accepting speaking engagements with excitement and enthusiasm rather than fear and reluctance. I have experienced at first hand that when you do something which is beyond your earthly limitations, but ask God for help, He shows up (and that the next time, it gets easier!) I’m starting to realise that I like the person who God created me to be much more than the person I was struggling to be before. By God’s grace I’m learning to soar- and I love it.


One response to “On Eagles’ Wings

  1. And it’s such a good view – of both earth and heaven! The eagle is also symbolic of St John’s account of the Gospel – by one especially close to Him…


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