Guys compartmentalize. That’s what the experts say. When they go to work, their mind goes with them.
Us girls weave everything together into a messy knot where you can’t tell the beginning from the end. We go to work but our minds are getting on the school bus with our children or rifling through all the things that need to get done at home before everyone returns for dinner. Everything is coming at us at once and it can make us feel overwhelmed if we aren’t careful.
I can remember asking a mentor in my life, “How do you do it all? Being mom, wife, and filling such big roles in leadership? How do you find balance?” It’s a question I have heard from many others over the years. And I think it is a place of fear that keeps many women (probably men too) from leaning into big dreams.
Here is the truth I have come to own: God will not call you to do something that He doesn’t also provide the means by which to do it.
Time and time again throughout the Bible, God called people to roles and tasks that were far beyond them. As they stepped out in trust, they found that a shepherd’s sling was more powerful than a giant’s sword or that a bunch of lanterns and trumpets were enough to overthrow a massive army or a few words between husband and wife could rescue an entire people group from annihilation.
I don’t know what David, Gideon, or Esther imagined when God called them to their roles. But I like to think they were a little surprised at the way things turned out. Maybe they spent time stressing over the details, like you and I, only to realize that God was way ahead of them and His plans were bigger (and more thought out) than their wildest imagination.
Here are three things I have learned are important for pursuing God’s call on your life-
- Know your season
God may have called you to lead in ministry, start a non-profit, write a book, adopt a child or a hundred other things. It doesn’t mean it will happen tomorrow. A dream of church planting was buried in our hearts for over a decade before we saw it become a reality. Often there is a season of preparation that God leads us through before we step into the fulfillment of purpose.
Remember the story of the Israelites? God gave this tribe of nomads the promise of a land that would belong to them. That’s a big deal for a people who were accustomed to a homeless lifestyle. But before their journey brought them to the promise, it led them through a desert.
The desert wasn’t just a delay tactic to increase their desire for God’s plans (unlike your parents strategy to sing every Christmas carol ever written before they let you open presents.) It was the training ground for the Israelites to develop an authentic relationship with God.
In the place where they were stripped of everything that felt comfortable, these people came to learn that God was all they needed. When food was nowhere in sight, He provided out of thin air. When all they could see was dry ground, He brought water out of rocks. When the enemy raged all around them, He led them to safety. The desert taught them to trust in a God who makes the impossible possible.
There might be seasons with small children underfoot, working a job that pays the bills but doesn’t feed the soul, or developing the skills you need to step into the role God has called you to. Embrace the purpose of each season, knowing that He who has started a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.
2. Have a plan
“Work like it depends on you, pray like it depends on God.” Those words from Mark Batterson are repeated often in our home. We know that only God can play His part in this story He has called us into, but there is also a part we need to step up and work hard at.
Juggling multiple roles in life makes things busy. If I’m not careful, I will find myself constantly in motion without actually going anywhere. A strategy keeps me focused on what is important and taking the right steps to produce good results.
Danny and I regularly talk about what our kids need, what our marriage needs, what our health needs and how to create habits that produce great results. We read books, ask good questions from those who have gone before us, learn from other’s mistakes, and always strive to be teachable. A plan for parenting, marriage, spiritual health, and pursuing the call of God keeps us from being overwhelmed and focused on taking one step at a time.
3. Don’t let fear win
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is that of Nehemiah. God called this guy who is working for the king in another country to the role of rebuilding the walls of his hometown, Jerusalem. Crazy doors open up to make a way for Nehemiah to even start this project but when he finally turns the key to the dump truck, opposition shows up from every corner. People aren’t excited about what he is attempting to do. And they do their best to scare him into backing off.
Nehemiah’s response continually inspires me. He refuses to even entertain them. They write letters, send messengers, even use the people closest to him to try and get him to just listen to their wild accusations. But he won’t give them an audience even for a moment. His eyes are so focused on what God called him to that he doesn’t leave any room for fear to creep into his heart.
Listen, God is going to put some big things in your heart because that is how He is and how He works. It will be tempting to let fear come in and remind you of all the reasons that you aren’t cut out for this role. Don’t believe it. This isn’t about you as much as it is about the God who invited you into this story. He called you, He has thought through all the details, and He will do far more than you ever imagined possible.
You can do it! I believe in you. More importantly, God sees something inside of you that you don’t. He is in the process of drawing out the gifts and passion to call you into a role that will bring Him glory. Trust Him.