We just crossed over our two year anniversary of living in Spokane. So much has happened since then that it feels like another lifetime. Our friends had let us stay in their house for the first few weeks. They weren’t moving over until a month after us so we were the first ones to live in their new home. It was like camping indoors. Paper plates. Plastic cups. Hot dogs every night.
Right away, we got to work. Danny and I would be on either side of a folding table as we started creating ways to let the city know we were here. My husband is a techie guy. He was immediately comfortable making homemade videos and creating Facebook ads. I, on the other hand, was way out of my element. Having never taken any classes on graphic design or website development, I spent my days watching 8 year olds on youtube tell me what to do. Not exactly confidence boosting.
Here’s what I have come to realize…our american culture over prioritizes comfort and happiness. We are getting more and more used to convenience and things custom designed with all our individual preferences. While I am a fan of things done my way (hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, yada yada)…becoming a church planter has forced me into uncomfortable waters. And I didn’t know what was in me until I was in a situation where I needed to find out.
Learning how to start something out of nothing has been the most challenging thing I have ever been a part of. Just when you feel like you have one thing figured out, there is another thing on the horizon waiting to be tackled. But I have learned that grace extends further than helping me not sin; God’s power is ready and available to enable me to do things for His glory that are far beyond myself.
So here are some reasons why I think you need to get yourself in over your head and do something that scares you….
- It’s biblical
Story after story in the Bible tells about men and women who stepped out of the story they were living and into a much bigger story that God was writing. They left behind addictions, insecurity, their own plans, and ordinary living.
David traded tending sheep for ruling a nation. Daniel traded going with the flow for influencing a kingdom. Esther traded a safe, posh life for standing up for the voiceless. Peter, James, and John traded a profession they knew for an adventure that was both scary and overwhelming.
2. You experience God differently when you need Him to show up
It’s easy to trust God when you don’t really have to. When you are sitting in a boat on a calm sea leisurely rowing for a shore you can see, it isn’t too difficult to talk all day about trusting God. But when the winds pick up and the clouds settle in, everything changes.
Peter picks up a lot of flack for trying to walk to Jesus on water and failing. I think Peter experienced something that day that took the other disciples a while to figure out. He had walked on water, if only for a moment. And when he started to sink into the waves, Jesus had been right there to pull him back up again. It’s a powerful revelation to not just know the impossible is possible, but to have experienced it as a reality.
3. Your life becomes an adventure
One of the things that has been really fun for me and Danny throughout this church planting journey is seeing other people get inspired to take big risks for God. We laugh about how it works out well that we are so ordinary because others look at how God is doing something extraordinary through our young church and think to themselves, “If they could do it, so can we!” I like recounting all the stories of our journey because they speak to how big God is and His ability to do extraordinary things when we say yes to Him.
Indulge me a moment and imagine your life five or ten years down the road. What kind of stories will you be telling about what God has done in your life? Will they be pretty much the same as everyone else or will there be an element to them that makes the other person look at you a little crazy and wonder if you are making this stuff up? Will they speak of God’s greatness or your own ability?
I am not trying to tell you what to do, but here’s what I think you should do (sorry, it’s the preacher in me coming out)…
- Get around adventurous people
People influence people. That’s what we do. If you want to step out of ordinary and into the adventurous life God has for you then rub shoulders with people who are doing it. Read their books. Serve on their teams at church. Do whatever it takes to let their brave rub off on you. And for the record, people who take risks and people who say yes to God are not necessarily the same thing. You can be edgy but the motivation is self-serving instead of God-honoring.
2. Pray scary prayers
“Be careful what you ask for. You might just get it.” That’s a good thing, though, when you are asking for the life God actually has planned for you. Start praying about what God has in store for you, your family, your marriage. Ask Him for the strength to say yes to Him even when you are scared to death. Remember, He wants you to walk in everything He has called you to more than you do.
3. Ask good questions
There is a big learning curve when you get yourself in over your head. Don’t let it discourage you. Find people who have gone before you and let them help you learn. God provides in ways that we don’t always expect (like 8 year olds on youtube.) So get out of your box and look for the connections He is trying to bring your way. And for heaven’s sake, be teachable! Nothing delays learning and actual growth like thinking you already have all the answers.
4. Remove “I can’t” from your vocabulary
Maybe it’s true of you but it is never true of God. When you say yes to God, you become a powerful, unstoppable team. There are no limitations left. He is the Creator who calls something out of nothing. He is the Savior who rescues from the deepest, darkest pit. He is the Provider who makes springs appear in the desert. He is the Redeemer who turns everything for our good. You CAN because He is able and willing to give you everything you need to live the life He has called you to.
Ok, ready to do something a little crazy? I hope so. Because life’s too short to play it safe. There’s a leadership role waiting for you to step into. There’s a marriage waiting for you to invest heart and soul in. There’s a person waiting for you to tell them about Jesus. There’s a kid waiting for you to take him or her under your wing. God has big plans for you. Get yourself out of the boat and start walking on some water!