A week or so ago, while in a worship time giving my life to God as I was lead by the songs, God spoke something I was not expecting. It was in the context of what I was giving to God – my thoughts, words and presence, my calling. He said, “Gary, you can’t wing it.” I knew exactly what He was referring to. I had been living at a pretty fast pace, from phone call to meeting to e-mail. I was banking on “in the moment” discernment, wisdom and recall based off of my life experiences and learning.
God was saying to me that I can’t do that and have the impact I desire to have in the lives of others. In other words, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Do not be wise in your own eyes.” (Prov. 3:5 & 7) God was addressing my pace-of-life, but more poignantly, He was surfacing what I believed others wanted or needed from me – my understanding, perspective and experience. What we all need more of is God – His words, kindness, presence, revelation, and intervention.
Often we have no idea where a person is at or what they need in a given moment. They may be on the brink of despair or being overwhelmed or quitting on something or someone. Just looking into their eyes, or a hand on their shoulder, or a few words, or simply our being with them could change everything. Think of the things that have changed your life, negatively or positively. Has it not been someone’s words or their silence, or a person’s presences or their absence, or a person’s gaze or their looking away? How can we possibly know what someone needs when they may not really know? Only God knows, so we must ask Him, staying close to Him in every conversation and activity.
The assault is always the same against the glory that we possess and are to offer to others – the accusation that you have nothing of significance to offer, others they don’t want what you have, it won’t go well, you’re on your own.
The truth is that our life, our presence, our effect is weightier than we understand. The only one who underestimates the power of our life, in the spiritual realm, is our self. It’s going to take an unrelenting insistence on intimacy with God and undaunted courage in our offering to others. As the tag line states in the movie trailer for Tears of the Sun, “The lives of many rest in the courage of a few.”
You are courageous and noble hearted.
So Gary, you were winging it. God said to stop. What did you do differently and what has been the result?
Love the post. Just recently as I have been under some extreme pressure at work, I have changed my habit for my 30 minute commute. More & more I am not listening to radio, music or teaching CDs. As good as it all is, I am finding the need to use that time to settle my thoughts, or let God do it and guide me into what is really important for that day. I think it is helping me be a better husband, parent, employee and warrior.
Like you, I’m trying to spend more time with God each day and trying to be more attuned to His voice and movement throughout the day.
So timely. What I’ve been experiencing this week on that note is not that I don’t have anything to offer, but I’m just exhausted! This fast pace and following God to give to others can wear a guy out. So, the seeds of exhaustion are planted by the enemy. Once those seeds have sprouted, other things begin to grow (like mold)… The Glory I posses by His grace IS sufficient. That I know. But… The unGodly feelings of being disrespected or taken advantage or not heard are the sneaky little unexpected feelings I get when I’m exhausted. So, we continue on and guess what? He provides wind for our sails so that we have the energy and stamina to continue on. He gives us all we need!
2 Peter 1:3 NIV
New International Version
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Thanks for the transparency of your journey. One thought you expressed spoke to me based upon an event yeterday.
You said- “Often we have no idea where a person is at or what they need in a given moment.”
I had a chance encounter with a co-worker I have wroked with only sparingly. During the small talk she asked what I did during the recent ice storm with everyone losing power. I told her I spent alot of time reading. She asked what are you reading? I hesitated then answer my passion has pulled me into reading books on “Calling”. Then I shared some personal events in the past few years that brought me there.
She responded with an equally compelling desire to find her “Calling” as well as past disappointments that she couldn’t interpret. We talked for an hour. At the end I promised to provide her with your reading list, plus my own recommended books that bring clarity to the events of our lives and the pursuit of calling.
We both parted encouraged! I believe another soul is moving down the path to discovering thier “calling”.
Thank-you Gary. This was so needed and good for my heart. I feel the same way about this life “undaunted courage,” seasoned with “intimacy with God.” Both are needed and there is no middle ground.
Its good to have you at the table speaking these things to us… let it be said of us we fought gallantly and walked humbly right to the end.
sounds better than “fought bravely & died quickly”
Sounds like God is taking this time to re-orient your journey somewhat, or at least your approach. It is very evident that your heart is coming through in your words. One thing I noticed, if okay to say, is that in the first couple of paragraphs you used the word “I” a number of times…but by the end of your thoughts you had shifted the focus to others. The beauty, in my humble opinion, is that God has given you a gift to help others in their respective journey and that He is nudging you back towards Him.
So I have a question for you that your blog brings up. I used to periodically hear the voice of God inside in some very powerful ways, including some stuff out of the blue at the Wild at Heart Boot Camp and other times while journaling, watching movies, worshiping God, working out, etc. Almost 4 years ago when I was working out and watching Antwone Fisher for probably the 10th time and wrestling with a decision as to whether to adopt two boys from foster care (which we did), I distinctly heard the voice of God say “I didn’t call you to be comfortable” and also heard Christ’s voice from scripture when he said “when you do it to the least of these”. It seems that since we made the decision to adopt these boys and be obedient to God, it has been radio silence. I have repeatedly asked God to speak to me and have tried to not “control the conversation” but have not heard much. My guess it is not the transmitter (God) but the reciever (me) but I would appreciate any insights you can offer. Thanks for your blogs. They help. I would love to be able to go to some of your retreats but living our calling out right now with these two boys pretty much doesn’t give us any margin for anything like that.
Mark… I’m encouraged by your story. Thanks for sharing your heart.
You probably already know this but I want to remind you of something Gary once said… The enemy of your heart wants you to believe its either you… or, it’s God with the problem. But there is a third category — the enemy. (remember Eldredge’s 4 streams?). Inviting others into intimacy in your life can bring with it generations of oppression. Your kids have an enemy of their hearts too. Pray against the enemy… Directly… Forcefully… In Christ’s authority… Silence his voice… Perhaps it is the volume of his voice that is hindering you ability to hear God’s voice.
You sound like a great guy who’s heart is right… Hang in there! God is not far off. I have compassion for your situation and I will pray for you. I hope the very best for you.
From the heart of a fellow journeyman (no accusation here),
Gary, so true, we do not really know how or when we affect others.
As a professor for 30 years, I can attest to many encounters with some of my old students after graduation. One such student was a new professor now on our teaching staff. He told me I had a great influenced him and that it changed his life. I was curious when I taught him and what course.
He said it when he took my Introduction to Business Course. I asked if it was my talk about Operations Management, he said no…my talk about Marketing, he said no…my talk on Accounting, he said no….I then asked what then did I do that changed your life? He said you were so organized, it impressed me. My live was in chaos. You gave me direction and discipline.
What a great story. Thanks Rob.