Great Big Things: It's Time To Dream Again
Last June I sat preparing for a publisher meeting I had coming up. I was scheduled to attend a conference for authors and speakers. I was on the phone with my friend Kim as I watched my youngest son splash down inflatable water slides. Kim was helping me put together last minute business cards for networking purposes while at the conference.
I was having trouble with how I was going to present myself on my business card. I had already seen some of the cards from other attendees. They looked professional, like they had some experience to back up that shiny title.
I got nothin. I’m technically not an author. Aspiring, sure, but you can't put what you are aspiring to be, right? What if you received a business card from a contractor that said aspiring contractor. You’d likely not be throwing your money at him.
Some had multiple titles. Author, Speaker. But I don’t do speaking events like some of the more seasoned leaders who would be attending the conference. This was my predicament. The whom it would concern wanted to know my experience, my qualifications. Publishers wanted to know my social media numbers, my influence. Truth be told, I spent my days cleaning up messes, spending absurd amount of hours in the kitchen and folding laundry. Any other title I added would be an embellishment.
But I sat in the very comfortable safety of my longtime friend who loved me, so I didn’t need to worry about impressing her on the phone that afternoon. We laughed about the absurdity of writing Hot Mess on the card in fancy lettering, but that didn’t exactly scream, pick me, publisher! We discussed other important topics such as, At what point do we change our personal Facebook pages to Public Figure? We laughed until we cried at all the possibilities we could put on my business card. After passing on a few others like “Life Coach” we decided to get serious. (Please know I am not knocking anyone who are actually these things. These are valuable gifts and I have dear friends who excel in these roles, I’m just saying I know my own strengths and these things, are not my things.)
Later that evening I began receiving sample business cards from my friend/business-card maker extraordinaire: Shauna Shanks: Writer. Pass. Shauna Shanks: Speaker. What? No. I am getting an ulcer just thinking of public speaking. Shauna Shanks: Blogger. Sounds novice and un-polished. Shauna Shanks: Public Figure. See? She’s hilarious.
Finally, I knew what my card should say. We printed them out, and even the guy from Office Max smirked at me when I picked them up. Shauna Shanks, human. I passed them out and everything.
You know why this was so perfect? Because I realized if anything of any significance was going to happen, my qualifications were invalid anyway. They can’t harm me and they can't help me. If God wants a thing to happen, nothing in this life or the next can stop it if we stand in faith believing for it. If He doesn’t want it to happen, no amount of energy I exert can force it to occur.
Acts 5:38-39 says “For if their purpose....is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop (these men).”
This knowledge took all pressure off. I can quite comfortably know that I do not have to perform or measure up to any standard I have set. All that doesn't matter. My Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills. (Ps. 50:10) His reach is not measured.
This is good news for all of us. I was trusting Him to get my manuscript pushed through that meeting. Your mountain likely looks like something else, but the story is the same.
Little Human, Great Big God.
If you feel under-qualified, you are perfectly right where you should be and that limitation should not affect your faith one morsel. Pastor Mark’s message Sunday was titled, “It’s Time to Dream Again.” This concept is terrifying to some of us because we have no faith in ourselves. When told to write something on a business card, we can't come up with anything. Our qualifications are limited. We are disappointed in ourselves and we think God is too. We fear to hope because we know our tendency to fail.
But I am persuaded to have hope because I know God’s track record of not failing.
Regardless of our very human status, God prompts us to believe His promises spoken over our lives. He dares us to put faith in Him and watch Him move the mountains that stand in our way. He wants us to be completely, desperately dependent on Him so we cannot take any credit.
Taking credit for this journey would be like standing over the Grand Canyon and someone saying, “This is beautiful” and me responding, “Thank you. You're welcome”. That would be ridiculous. I did not dream it up nor create the Grand Canyon. I only made the climb to admire it.
He knows you are not qualified and He is ok with that. He wants you to dream big anyways. GOD CAN DO BIG THINGS. He creates them, He dreams them up and carries them out with a breath. We are only humans. But we are His. All that He is, is at our disposal as His children. (Galatians 3:26)