It's not that I don't want to learn and grow. On the contrary, I'm part of a life/ministry coaching cohort, continuing education and I have several mentors. In addition to that I read countless books, and of course...the Bible. All these things are incredibly valuable to me.
Each time I receive a new tidbit of advice, I scamper to put it into practice and cross that off on the list of things that could be inhibiting further growth of the ministry. Many times it feels like one step forward, two steps back. It's never fast enough for me.
I find myself at the frustrated point of running to put endless things in place while at the same time, another crop of things pops up that are also suddenly missing. No matter how many good things are happening, I still have an insatiable thirst for more. I hate status quo. Many people would be satisfied to be exactly at the level we're at - but I'm not. Contented? Yes. Satisfied? No.
Years ago a pastor-couple who are friends of ours told us how things really broke through in the church they planted. For years they did just as I described above. Then one day they just got frustrated with it all and said, "We quit!" No, they didn't resign. They kept on doing things that needed to be done, however they completely quit trusting in those things to bring the results desired. They stopped having faith in those things to make the difference. And suddenly...the church just popped! It was amazing. They said after all that, they believed God worked that way just to prove to them that it was Him and nothing else.
It sounds kind of hokey to do that in one sense...to do a bunch of initiatives you put no faith or trust in. But on the other hand it seems very plausible to me right now. This is the place I find myself in. I'm now at a point that while I will keep giving my iniatives in ministry due diligence and be completely faithful to fulfill my call, I will altogether stop putting any trust in that to bring the breakthrough I desire to see. I have come to the conclusion that it really doesn't matter if I do all those things, if I am not completely trusting God.
Larry has been praying for years, "Lord, do something so big here everyone will KNOW it has to be God."
I have always believed that the saying that "if you do the wrong thing, it will eventually catch up with you." And, I have always believed if you do the right things, they will eventually catch up with you as well. In believing that, I have banked on the fact that if we just keep doing the "right things" with the church it will eventually catch up with us. I have trusted in the fact that being diligent will move us forward on to our next level. Now I'm realizing I can do the right things all I want but without complete trust in God, it won't work. I came to the conclusion this evening I have had a lack of trust.
Someone once said if a dream is really from God, when you lie awake at night it will scare you to death. If it doesn't your dream is too small. Tonight, I was scared. This year, aside from my ministry in the church, I'm taking two giant leaps personally. It's sink or swim in 2007. I am venturing into new territory in two areas and doing something I believe I am very called to do, however not without doubt that I can do them successfully. I don't like to fail and will usually not do anything I know I can't completely win at. I do not want to endure the shame of failure. Now I'm tackling two dreams that keep me awake at night. Two dreams that make me afraid of failure, with the church lumped on top of them.
So since I couldn't sleep (it's now almost 2 am) I got up, made a cup of mint hot tea, got my Bible and Secrets of the Secret Place by Bob Sorge, and my laptop and got in my rocking chair. As I was going before the Lord about all this, I came upon I Peter 1:6... "and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame..." I heard God say, "DO YOU TRUST ME?" Yes. "DO YOU REALLY?" Well, a few minutes ago I would have said no, but now that you're speaking to me about this, I'm starting to fill up with faith and trust..." 'IT'S AS SIMPLE AS THAT, DEANNA. TRUST ME AND YOU WILL NOT BE PUT TO SHAME."
So here is my new conclusion. I'm going to keep working at the same pace. (I still believe faith without works is dead...plus, I am called to give God my best.) Only, I'm not going to put any stock in that anymore. Those may be great principles - and very necessary, but they aren't the things to trust in.