I admit I watch too many epic movies. They are awesome! Who doesn’t shiver as Crowe walks into the arena in Gladiator, Moses parts the Red Sea or when Sally Fields holds up the UNION sign while standing on a desk in Norma Rae. The music is playing in proportion to the look on their face; clearly showing they are in the zone of kick butt purpose.
To me that is what being called by God to do something is like. Often it’s as I hang out during my time with God. I’ll ask, tell and at times remind Him that I am R-‐E-‐A-‐D-‐Y to do whatever He wants when He wants…..ooo rah! (Yes, Jarhead reference)
At the beginning of the year I heard plain as day God call. So when He dialed and I said, ‘What’s up G!? Been expecting your call!’ and he said ‘I want you to go over here to this new place called the Bridge and help them do a church plant.’
Deb: ‘God…you want me to do what?’
God: ‘Deb, you heard me…’
Deb: ‘But G, I lead this group now where I’m at, I serve here…’
God: ‘Deb, you heard me…’
Then I went Moses and I looked behind me and thought I may see someone else. Nope, just me.
(Insert second gulp here)
That saying, ‘be careful what you pray for’ came to mind. And as He asked me to walk away from the comfort of being at the same church for seven years and help plant another I was faced with the ultimate reality that God sees what I don’t. In His request (as He never demands) He was asking me to leave a comfort of leadership and go follow Him. Like Moses, whom had it made with his stepfamily, God was asking me to do something out of the ordinary; step out of the boat. So through confirmation after confirmation that it was Him I said yes.
And then the music played, I lived happily ever after and all was awesome: NOT.
I forgot about one little thing. The enemy is a stupid head. That slippery sucker does not want me to be in purpose. Rather; he will do what he can to cause division, enrage anger and take me away from the greatest weapon of all: Love.
How did this manifest? It showed up in hurt, in release through misunderstanding, through false fear and through self-‐doubt. You see, I thought everyone was going to be cheering me on as I stepped out of the boat. And though many did, others were in the boat saying ‘get back in’. I was not the only one in the arena. But like a gladiator we stepped into the audience for all to watch. And though some cheered others secretly hoped a lion would eat us.
The enemy is also a liar. He will use rumor, innuendo and confusion to cause division. A dear friend’s voice came to mind when I heard, ‘remember WHO the enemy is’. And with that came fortitude to ignore distraction no matter how much it hurt whom the enemy chose to use to do it.
I had forgotten that with a call comes a strengthening that occurs in leaning into it. That faith is strength, as I trust the God who called me. That doubt is the distraction and even the well-‐meaning friends of Job can be a bit twisted and confusing. I found through faith that God provided everything I needed. As I was released (Christian word for fired) from my previous church before I was ready, God created new friendships and strengthened old ones. As I turned and avoided a paw from a snarky lion, God gave me the eyes to see through His and know that not everyone will understand His call. Through the arena of the call I learned the battle is ultimately His and I just need to bend and weave through it.
As the Bridge comes to the end of its first trimester of birth I smile like a new momma and see the other parents who also answered their call smiling too. No, it hasn’t been perfect, but it has been BLESSED and I don’t regret a minute of it. As I stand on my proverbial desk and write out my sign ‘CALLED’ I hold it high and stand strong through the trials and tempts of turning around. With a bit of sweat on my brow of humanity I learned that following God is not the easy path. (I believe He mentioned that) But like Norma Rae, I am confident that no matter how scary standing out was, that is what I was called to do.
The cost: Priceless.
The blessing: every time a new person walks through the door. Perhaps you!
As I look out and see the pastors at the front steps, where pastors should be to greet the people, I smile and celebrate I was brave enough to pick up the phone and answer when God dialed my number.