I've been asking God for guidance in recent weeks. He knows the desire of my heart - which is to teach the Word and encourage the believers around me to live in His victory - but somewhere along the way, I began to feel a bit lost, unsure. Like the path in front of me faded into an overgrowth of underbrush and I'm not sure where to turn next.
I don't know if this is typical of hearing God's voice, but often for me I don't hear Him say much about where to go or what to do next - until I choose a direction and take a step. Then, I'm pretty rapidly either affirmed or convicted about my choice.
It's been that way with the ministry of this blog. I love to write, I love to organize my thoughts using written language, and I love it when those things can help or encourage the people who read them; though there was a time when I preferred to keep my insights mostly to myself, God has affirmed every action that I've taken to share them with a wider audience.
You'll probably recall that I was recently convicted about the destructive way I've used Instagram to feed my sinful nature and neglect my spiritual work. But what initially sparked that conviction was a step I'd taken to broaden my audience: I had created an Instagram account especially for this website.
I knew within a few days that in this attempt to find the path again, I had stepped out in the wrong direction.
I knew it because I felt pressured to post every couple of days even if God hadn't given me anything to say.
I knew it because too many hours of real-life disappeared in the time it took to nurture and maintain virtual followers.
I knew it because when I saw other ministry bloggers fulfilling their calls in big and exciting ways, I wasn't overjoyed by God's work through them - I was dissatisfied with His work through me.
And it hasn't been easy to be told "No" (or maybe it's "Not yet") in this area. I'm an avid consumer of entrepreneurial podcasts and articles, so I was excited about the potential of reaching out to more people on Instagram; I must admit that I've found myself worried that if I follow my convictions and let it go, I'm just acting out of fear...or based on feelings...or giving up too soon. And the voices around me keep shouting: "You were made to change the world!"
But is that true?
(And whether it is or it isn't, is that the thinking that should be driving my actions?)
Three things I know about myself:
- I WANT to change the world. I WANT to have an impact. I WANT to be remembered. Because of that, I have to be very, very careful that "changing the world" doesn't become the goal - an idol. Walking with God has to be the goal. Every other ambition must bow to Him.
- I'm naturally a pretty contented person - until someone gives me permission not to be. And this is hardly new: weren't Adam and Eve pretty contented to live in the Garden and enjoy the presence of God until someone questioned whether it was enough? Do I want to change the world because I want to obey God, or because I've been given permission (by all those "You were made for more!" voices) to lust after a fruit that's not mine to take?
- I'm the product of a postmodern Western society, so by default I tend to identify with the "heroes": Joshua, King David, Paul. Individuals who impacted history. But what if I'm intended for anonymity, like all the characters in the Bible who remain nameless? Or what if I'm intended for a completely unjust calling, like Uriah the Hittite? Or what if I'm intended to be a secondary support player, like Priscilla and Aquila?
I don't doubt that God made every one of us with the capacity to change the world. But I do doubt whether He intends every one of us for that calling - in the postmodern Western sense, at least.
He has closed the door, for the moment, on using Instagram to expand the reach of my words. Graciously, He caught hold of my heart and showed me my straying and redirected my steps.
And it is well, because He knows me and my call far better than I do. He knows where I'm weak. And He knows where we're headed.
So I'll keep on writing here, sharing my insights and my heart in this humble space to what souls He selects to hear them, for as long as He allows. I'll keep studying the Bible and inviting others into it with me. And I'll follow Him wherever He goes.