Equipping the Called

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder but, when I go for weeks without posting to my blog, the only thing I feel more of is fear.

Fear that the craft I spent years developing will slowly slip away until I wonder if writing was ever one of my gifts at all.

Experience has taught me that confidence, like a muscle, develops with use. And the longer we go between workouts, the less useful we become.

All of us, at one point or another, have watched someone accomplish an amazing feat and said to ourselves: “I could never do that.” What we should have been saying in these instances is: “I have no intention of trying.”

As I type this, I am watching the movie The King’s Speech with my daughters. In the scene that just transpired, speech therapist Lionel Logue was talking to his wife about an argument he’d had with a patient.

“This fellow could be great, but he’s fighting me,” Logue explained.

Without realizing that her husband was talking about the son of a king who suffered from a severe case of stuttering, she replied: “Perhaps he doesn’t want to be great.”

I have to wonder if God feels as frustrated as this therapist when people say they want to do His will, but never take the time to find out what it is.

Luke 12:48 states that to “everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Why then do so many of us know what our gifts are and fail to develop them? Could it be that we fear success more than we do failure?

Every time I think that what God is calling me to do is more than I can handle, I tell myself the same thing that I say to my daughters when they don’t want to take their medicine: Don’t think, just drink.

God is challenging all of us to do the same by drinking more and worrying less about the cup He has placed before us. Those who do will find that if we don’t think we can do something, it’s probably because we’ve been thinking about things too much.

Colin Firth’s character in “The King’s Speech” definitely thought too much when he doubted his ability to assume the role of king. To allay his fears, the therapist said: “Every stammerer fears going back to square one. I won’t let that happen.”

Our king feels the same way about us so don’t let your dreams die for lack of trying. Instead, remember that God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. And the best way to gain confidence, is to do.

Finding Our Way

This year, I completed Beth Moore’s bible study, Breaking Free: Making Liberty in Christ a Reality in Life.  One of the things that I enjoyed most about the topic was that it got me thinking about my calling. I am all about movement; and as soon as I read on page four that Beth’s gift is guiding believers to love and live God’s Word, I started pondering my life purpose until it became clear that what I am passionate about is progress.

My calling is encouraging people to learn from what they live through and do something to improve their lives. It is with this Say-No-To-The-Status-Quo philosophy in mind that I began searching for a way to take my ministry to the next level in 2011. Because God’s will often builds upon what we’re already doing, I thought that my next challenge would involve finding a wider audience for my writing and speaking topics; and when a friend invited me to travel with her to a women’s conference in North Carolina, I happily agreed.

I’d been wanting to attend this annual event for several years because it included appointments with publishers and the opportunity to be mentored by a member of a national speaker team. Arriving over-prepared for both, I was surprised when none of my work seemed to  matter. A hoarse voice made it hard to effectively deliver my presentations, and the editors that I met with refused to look at anything I had prepared. It was like God had closed doors so fast that I had no chance to walk through them; and I left the conference feeling even more confused than before I signed up to attend.

Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend once said: “Sometimes on the road of life…getting lost is how we find out way.”ˆ1

I was on this road (and on my way to the airport) when clarity came in the form of another conference attendee who had been assigned to our limo at the last minute.

“What do you do for a living?” I asked her.

“I’m a life coach,” she replied.

Although my first reaction was skepticism after she told me about her minimal amount of training, my second one was curiosity as I wondered: Is God leading me to this profession?

My answer came a few days later when Bill agreed that becoming a life coach would give me the training I needed to realize my dream of creating a goal-setting and accountability group ministry for churches.

In September I started a 6-month training program to become a Board Certified Life Coach, proving that life doesn’t just happen when you’re making plans … Sometimes it happens because of them.

I had to step out in faith to pursue what I thought was a good path, before God would lead me to a better one. Never was this more clear than when I opened the textbook for my core coaching class and read that “coaching is about insight, learning, and choosing to act.”ˆ2

As soon as I saw this definition, I looked back at my notes from the Beth Moore bible study that I completed earlier in the year and confirmed that it was almost identical to my calling: I want people to learn from what they live through and do something to improve their lives and God made sure that the first person to get an education … was me.

What I learned is that God’s will does build upon what we are already doing. And when one door (or two) closes, it’s because He has an even better one for me—and all of us—to walk through.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

ˆ1 Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do ( Brentwood: Integrity Publishers, 2003), Back Cover.

ˆ2 Patrick Williams and Diane S. Menendez, Becoming a Professional Life Coach, p. 105