You know that great idea you get in the middle of the night? It all sounds so do-able as you lay on your bed picturing the whole, complete scene. You drift back into peaceful sleep assured of success.
And then comes morning.
Was that God talking to you? It sounded so good last night… but in the light of day, was that really a good idea? Are you ready for a total upheaval in your life right now? Why rock the boat?
How many times do we hear the voice of God and dismiss it, I wonder. There’s plenty of voices in our head and not all of them can be relied upon. But every now and again, there is this clear, beautiful, positive voice. And we know.
We know we have been given a gift. A gift that marries all of our potential with all of our experiences and all of our resources and, well, to dismiss this gift would mean giving up on our Big Dream.
Each of us has this Big Dream, I believe. But if requires steps of faith. In the idea phase, we see the beauty and the potential; in the steps, we face our limitations. What I learned recently – or shall I say re-learned - is that God loves to reward every faith step that we take. And He showed me this so vividly at the women’s conference He laid on my heart to organize one deep, dark night last January.
I went to sleep thinking that it would be nice for the ladies of our church to spend some quality time together and go on a retreat. I woke up a few hours later with this full-blown idea of our ladies hosting a conference at our church to bless the women of our community. I saw the whole picture; the people, the food, the speaker. It looked amazing. But truly, it’s more of sensing then a seeing.
When I woke up the next morning, I didn’t have doubts; questions, sure; concerns, certainly, but not doubts. I kept quiet – which is unusual for me. I tried to listen and settle myself, rather than run and blab and tell the whole world. Not that there’s anything wrong with enthusiasm, but I believe when we want to discern the voice of God our main objective is to “hear” not to “do.” And the more I pondered the idea, the more I was sure this was His idea, not mine.
How do you know, you ask? It didn’t make me anxious or nervous. The more I thought about it, the more solid it became. The Lord assured me, as only He can, that my role was simply to take one step and then the next. Jesus calls it “abiding” in the gospel of John. I call it ‘staying in my lane.’ When I get out of my lane, fear is my bedfellow. I’ve learned to recognize that voice and rather than fight it myself, simply get back in my lane. In that analogy in John 15, it states very clearly that God is the one who is in control of the results, the fruit or lack thereof. I am simply the branch. It’s my job to do the tasks he shows me with love. And hope. And faith.
Okay, so I called the ‘speaker.’ She was a quick ‘yes.’ So far, so good. I spoke with my pastor and the ladies; another green light. I was able to find a time that worked for us and began spreading the word. There were highs and lows along the way, but I’d like to illustrate just one beautiful object lesson that I learned last week.
I had no way of knowing the exact number of attendees. I set up a registration page, but I was not getting a lot of action. I wanted, right from the start, to include lunch as a gratuity. To offer the conference free and then to take any money from love offerings to bless the speaker and worship team. But church is a business in some respects and we had to plan for the cost of lunch. This became a faith question for me and the Lord. He fed the five thousand, we read in the gospels, with baskets to spare, AND they hadn’t planned how it would happen. I did feel compelled to ask some local businesses to ‘sponsor’ our conference and was pleasantly greeted with money from a local grocer and pizza from a local restaurant. When we followed up with the restaurant they said they would donate three pizzas.
Hmmm, I better get a back-up plan. I had plenty of baked goods and salad, but the main lunch was a lingering question. I kept hearing God say not to worry. As the conference got closer and closer, I would literally feel sick to my stomach sometimes. Still, I sensed God saying not to try and figure it out. As a last minute safety blanket, I coordinated with the restaurant that I could call and order more pizzas that morning if needed.
Well, I’m amazed to say, I never needed to worry one minute. We had 25 ladies attend on Friday night, and 17 come on Saturday. The pizzas arrived hot and tasty that morning. We broke for lunch and small group discussion. There was a perfect amount of food – even one piece left over that got eaten cold at the end of the day!
I know this is not a story of Biblical proportions, but it was MY miracle and my reward for stepping out in faith. We could have been one short – but we weren’t. In Hebrews we read that without faith it is impossible to please God. "Those who come to Him must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6)
Do you believe? I know many women who are stepping out and creating their own businesses, or stepping in to positions that they may not (yet) be qualified for. I have a pastor who is all about crazy faith. And it just tickles me to no end to see God supplying all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phillipians 4:19)
In the past, my focus was on not overstating my needs to God. He showed me something new though. My needs are His needs. And what is His, well, it’s covered in glory. Big, beautiful glory. I could tell you of the friends He brought beside me, or the flowers He made bloom the day of the conference, but the object lesson here is faith.
Don’t discount what God is impressing you to do. Whether it’s something small, like praying over your kids today, or sending a friend an encouraging text message. Whether it’s big, like undertaking a life change, a new ministry, an investment in the Kingdom. Don’t be afraid. Just stay in your lane. Don’t focus on what you can’t do – focus on the One who can do it all. Pick up your shovel (so to speak) and I promise, you will not fail.
(If you have a faith story you’d like to share, please leave it in the comments section. If you want prayer for your Big Dream, leave that too. Let’s spur each other on to good works!)