So I’m in an interesting place in my life – very little is clear, yet I feel like I’m on the brink of something significant. I know with a fair degree of certainty now that all that I’ve gone through before – especially the hard and really painful stuff – has been preparation for what is yet to come.
I wish I could tell you what this One Big Thing (let’s just call it OTB for short) is, but here’s what I’ve come to realize: there is no OTB in life – at least not for me, anyway.
I’ve come to better understand that God loves variety and abundance, so why should He only have an OTB in store for me? I recognize that there may be several Big Things, or perhaps a handful of wonderful Medium Things, or maybe even a truckload of really fantastic Small Things. Chances are, He’s got some sort of combination in mind: a Big Thing here, a couple of Medium Things there, and a bunch of really great Small Things thrown in for good measure.
I’ve come to realize that my attitude – the way that I perceive and frame people, experiences, and things – is extremely important. I can either have Daily-shaped goals (remember that “Daily” is my pseudonym here), or I can have God-shaped ones. Either I’m the one telling God how things can go, or I can partner with Him and see where and how He leads.
Think of it like driving a car. Our human perception says that the car can go forward and backward, left and right. So, if we’re driving the car, we’d tell God, “I see four options: Left, right, straight, or backward,” and explain our justification for these options.
When God’s driving the car, it’s a whole different situation. The car can fly. It can change into something else entirely. It can disappear and then reappear. It can travel diagonally, upside-down, spin in circles, or even drive on one wheel.
When God’s driving the car, He can stop the traffic. He can ensure that the other cars do not hit you – in fact, your car can traverse even the most frightening traffic without even a scratch on the windshield. Remarkably, He can redirect the circumstances of our existence so that everything plays out according to His plan.
However, in order for the Lord to drive the car, He waits for us to patiently surrender the keys to Him. He does not demand anything, or even ask. He simply waits for us to realize that we’ve made a real mess of things – flat tires, dented fenders, three-car piles-ups, speeding tickets, the whole deal. Our driving record is pretty spotty.
Hear me: I’m not talking about a name-it-and-claim-it prosperity gospel here; rather, I’m simply recognizing that, in my life, God is preparing me for some unusual, challenging, and totally atypical adventures [note the plural] that I likely never would have chosen for myself. And these are multiple, intersecting experiences that seem to be happening around the same time. This is bewildering in a way – I’m more of a linear person, and would prefer that things unfold sequentially – but I must remember that God is not linear in the way that I am. He’s not linear at all, actually.
So I am both excited and slightly terrified about the God-shaped goals that are in my heart today. They don’t make sense, and certainly aren’t easy to accomplish. They require faith, trust, and vision.
However, in this context, “faith” does not simply mean belief – it means belief paired with action. I am being called to play an active role in the unfolding and realization of my God-shaped goals.
A thought came to me the other day, and I thought I’d share it here:
When God told Noah to build the ark (check out Genesis 6:11-22 when you get the chance), I can’t recall anywhere in the passage where it says that God gave Noah everything that he needed in order to build the ark. God simply told Noah to build it, directed him how to build it, and prospered the work of his hands. However, Noah likely had to acquire the timber and supplies himself, in addition to putting in the time and effort required for him to build the massive vessel. And all of this while his God-given vision was being mocked and derided by the rest of society.
As it was with Noah, so it is with me.
I believe God has shown me several things that He wants me to do, and I’m a little nervous about them, but otherwise, I’m generally on-board with the changes. However, I’ve been waiting for God to provide the wood and supplies. After all, it was hard enough for Noah to build the ark (like he had ever seen one before…?) – a little help wouldn’t have been too much to ask, would it?
Apparently so. Faith requires that we act, and occasionally take a risk. I wonder if Noah would have felt a little differently about the ark if God had just handed him everything he needed to order to make it? No – Noah had to invest in his vision, and I feel like I am being called to do the same (and similarly, I cannot assume that our society will either understand or endorse the faith journey that I am on. I barely understand it myself!).
By the way, did I ever mention that I’m a terribly risk-averse person? Yep, risk and I are not friends. And this is where the faith (belief + action) comes in.
So I’m grateful for these kind of amazing, but also incredible – in the “no way can I do this in my own strength and with my own resources” – goals. Let’s see what happens. I think it may be a wild ride, but wouldn’t life be terribly boring and unsatisfying otherwise?
Dear Lord, thank You for placing these God-shaped goals in my heart and mind. If I’m honest, I’m a little scared because I recognize that I have zero control here. This is all faith, and I know now that You are calling me to step out and act – well outside the confines of my well-appointed comfort zone. I need You to show up in a big way here, because without You, I know that I cannot succeed.
Perhaps that was the point of all of this. Hmm…. Oh wow – You’re good (clever, too). 🙂
In Your name I pray, Amen.