God has called me to a new season – after a long season of pastoral ministry in the church, he is calling me to minister to people outside the church. That is all I know. I am not sure where that will lead or what exactly God is doing in me to prepare me for it, but I do know I am in a season of preparation. And I know I am being called to step into it and not look to the right or to the left – but to follow his lead and know that he is with me, and that God has gone before me, and I will have what I need to do what God asks me to do – even if I am not feeling it now, I can trust that in time I will – God’s perfect time.
This is a beautiful truth, yet the reality of living it out can look much different. I have a tendency to have the greatest confidence as I hear God speak to me and I am ready to rock whatever he has put on my heart. And then I look to the right, and to the left, at other people doing what God has called me to, only they are doing it way better than I could ever envision myself doing… and then I doubt. And those old familiar lies begin to creep back in my peripheral. They don’t actually set up shop again, but they are in my view and within my earshot. You are not that good. God is never going to use you to do anything significant. You are not good enough. My eyes come off of Jesus and I begin to sink…
I think about my favorite Bible story, The Woman at the Well John 4:1-42, and I wonder why I love it so much? She was that girl who everyone avoided, well, because, you know. She didn’t fit in. Not because she didn’t want to but because life was life, and it doesn’t always deal us the hand we would like. The common thought is she was a woman of loose morals. But that is really not the full story. The reality is she was a victim of the culture that gave woman few options and even less value. A more plausible story lies in the value of a woman in that culture – their ability to conceive a male child. If you could not conceive a male child your husband might divorce you. If your husband died and you were childless, you were way less desirable to the family and without children, quickly became a burden. It might not be long before the other women abandon you too out of fear your bad mojo might just rub off on them.
So, here she is, a barren woman just trying to survive. Coming to the well when no one else would be there, she finds Jesus waiting for her. When Jesus offers her living water the image is cool refreshing water, not easily found in the desert, and her body longs for it. As she takes what Jesus offered, she is changed by the Living Water that refreshes her spirit. She is so immediately changed that she leaves her water jar – the one thing she needs to carry life-sustaining water – to run back to the very people who ostracized her to share the good news and point them back to Jesus.
I am reminded of how much I relate to her. I felt like that girl in high school. I realize now that was not my identity, but a lie I was believing. Jesus changed everything for me too. And now my heart is for meeting people where they are, sharing the good news, and pointing them back to Jesus.
Even as I heard God speak of my new season and direct me to step out by starting my website, blogging publicly, and starting an online Bible Study, I faltered for a moment, just like Peter as he got out of the boat and started walking on the water. So many other people do it so much better. Another lie. Another distraction from moving forward. BUT GOD.
About a week or so ago I was out for a run. As I ran by a corn field I heard in my spirit (that still small voice of God), “the fields are ripe for the harvest.” Taking a closer look I noticed the fields went on as far as my eye could see, and I heard in my spirit, “there is so much work to be done, I need everyone doing it. Stop comparing yourself, you will reach people others cannot, and others will reach people you cannot.” I realize the truth, the time is short, we are all called to share the Gospel and point people back to Jesus. Each of us has a different sphere of influence and a different platform, some big, some small, all critical for the kingdom. And so I press on in prayer, seeking and trusting God to lead and guide as I move into this next season. I step out into new things and try to keep my eyes on Jesus and my ears open for the still small voice of God, ignoring the catcalls of the enemy from the sidelines. The lies of the enemy only have power if I listen, and at best, the only power they have is to distract me, momentarily, from the work God has for me. When I listen for the still small voice it speaks loud and clear, I am Goodenough in Christ. And so are you. The words of God are true and right and eternal and will give you power to do way more than you could ever hope for or imagine.
Where is God calling you to step out? What voice will you choose to listen to? The fields are ripe for the harvest – what are you waiting for?