God, You want me to do what?!
Have you ever felt a nudge (or sometimes it’s more of a push) to do something way outside of your comfort zone?
It could be something seemingly simple like talking to someone you don’t know – or don’t like. It could be giving time or money that you feel you can’t afford. It could be doing something really BIG – like starting a women’s ministry that is unlike anything you’ve ever heard of. Just for instance.
It seems so simple to say, “God, I’ll do whatever you ask.” But then when He does ask, it’s like, “Well, that’s not what I had in mind.”
Recently, a friend mentioned the Old Testament prophet Elisha and how when he was asked to follow, he slaughtered his ox, built a fire to cook the meat with the wood from his plows, and kissed his mother goodbye. Just. Like. That. No turning back.
So Elijah went and found Elisha son of Shaphat plowing a field. There were twelve teams of oxen in the field, and Elisha was plowing with the twelfth team. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak across his shoulders and then walked away. Elisha left the oxen standing there, ran after Elijah, and said to him, "First let me go and kiss my father and mother good-bye, and then I will go with you!"
Elijah replied, "Go on back, but think about what I have done to you."
So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.
1 Kings 19:19-21
I want to be an Elisha. When I’m asked, I just go looking for the matches to start the barbeque. No turning back.
In Bruce Wilkinson’s book, “The Dream Giver”, he tells the story of a man named Ordinary who lives in the Land of Familiar. It’s all very comfy, cozy, and predictable. Then, Ordinary has a Big Dream given to him by the Dream Giver (God) but when Ordinary decides to follow his Dream, some of his loved ones discourage him. “That won’t work.” “That’s too risky.”
Have you ever heard those types of things when you’ve thought about your Big Dream? Maybe the negativity came from others and maybe the negativity was whispered softly in your ear – playing on a continual loop. “That’s foolish.” “You aren’t qualified.” “Why would God choose you?”
I believe that God has given each of his children a Dream. A special purpose. A project that is yours to do.
And you don’t always need to be fully qualified to do it.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.” I’ve found this to be true for me.
I was always shy and quiet. I appreciate being in the background. Then one day. One day out of the blue, I’m listening to a presentation at church about Pregnancy Ministries, a local group of crisis pregnancy centers. I had never thought much about them but when the presentation was over, I all but ran to the lobby and grabbed one of each flyer on their table. Next thing you know, I’m signing up for training classes to be a Peer Counselor for teenage girls facing unplanned pregnancies. Me?! What in the world?!
When I look back, I now remember God nudging my thoughts toward the issue of abortion for a year or more before that. I was gaining knowledge and insight in preparation for what was to come. He had already begun to equip me.
Did I ever regret having the scary faith to do something so out of character for me? NEVER!
Did I need to dig in and learn more so that I was fully equipped for this privilege? You bet!
I loved serving those young women, and I believe that I helped make a difference in their lives. If nothing else, they knew they were unconditionally loved by me and Jesus.
I served there for 11 years. When I felt God nudging me in another direction, I drug my feet because I didn’t want to leave. When I began that journey, I never would have thought that it would be so hard to move on. But God then began equipping me for another Scary Faith Big Dream.
Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
I believe that one reason God likes to call the unequipped is because then we can’t claim any success for ourselves. If we aren’t qualified, then it is obvious where our power, strength and successes came from. It’s all HIM.
When God called a group of us to begin The Connection, I found myself doing all kinds of things that I wasn’t experienced at or equipped to do like creating a website, speaking in front of people (Insert a picture of Moses here. “Lord, I can’t speak!”), and setting up a non-profit. We hired someone to do the paperwork. Sometimes being equipped means knowing when to ask those better equipped to help.
Time and time again, God has shown up, equipped us, led us to people better equipped, or just plain dropped things out of the sky. He has shown His power in mighty ways!
Yes. It is scary to have Elisha-like faith. But when you do, the rewards – for you and those you serve – are immeasurable!
What is your Big Dream? What is God nudging or pushing you toward the lobby to do? Grab the matches, kiss Momma goodbye, and get going!
Lord, I thank you for giving us dreams. You don’t really need us to accomplish things for you. You bless us with Big Dreams. They fill us up and force us to rely on You for the outcome. You are a good, good Father. I pray that anyone reading this would clearly see the Big Dream you have for them and that they would have the courage to take the first step of Big Faith. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Mandy Hood is a board member and executive director of The Connection. She loves to facilitate women connecting with each other and helping them grow in their faith.
Mandy and her husband have been married for 41 years and have 2 adult children, 2 in-law children and 3 grandchildren. Every year, they look forward to GramCamp – three days of spoiling and fun.