Every October my older brother Eric organizes a “Man’s Weekend” up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This is where he gets together with a select group of friends to play poker, smoke cigars, shoot guns and eat manly food like steak and potatoes. Aside from the eating, I attend Man’s Weekend for none of those things. I go there to watch DVDs with Ken, the guy hosting the whole thing. (This year we rewatched the excellent Firefly series, which he thankfully introduced me to a few years back.)
As I drove back to Lubbock from Tulsa, I had a good 7+ hours to think and pray. I listened to various podcasts (Andrew Wommack, Charles Stanley, InventRight), but eventually turned everything off and just drove in silence, pouring my heart out to God.
And my heart wasn’t happy.
Since May of 2008, God’s been faithful in everything He’s called me to do. In creating Mills Creative Minds, in giving where He’s led me to give, in placing my ideas into the hands of other people to develop – in everything. Everything I’ve needed or cried about, He’s brought me to it and through it, respectively. But as I drove I was increasingly frustrated, and I let Him know it.
Ever since Kara was born back in June, I feel like I’ve been moving in slow motion. All the projects that I’ve been working on are slowly, very slowly, coming together. But there’s still so many questions and worries trying to take root in my mind. What if the ideas I’ve handed off don’t make it to market? What if weeks and months pass and I’m STILL where I am now, making little visible progress? What if, what if, what if?
The primary factor of my frustration was my lack of time. Last year I had a good 5 hours a day to devote to my ideas and educating myself in how to protect and license them. These days I’m pretty much limited to Tuesdays and Thursdays, with a paltry three-hour window on each. So going from 25 hours a week of productive, devoted work time to a meager 6 hours was… well… downright depressing.
So I poured my heart out to God, in shame and frustration. Why did He order things the way He did? Why did He call me to work on my ideas, to work on a book and now care for a newborn – all at the same time? The task seems impossible sometimes, because what I have to offer is so limited and what needs to be done is so overwhelmingly huge. I’m stuck at Point B and I’m trying to get to Point Z. And I’m strapped to a tortoise for a taxi. It just didn’t make sense.
And then God spoke to me. Kind of.
He didn’t speak audibly, or even with words. He just flipped a switch in my head and reminded me of a story from long long ago.
Jesus was teaching a large group of people, and they were getting hungry. When his disciples came to him and complained that he needed to send them away to they could eat, he threw them for a loop.
“You feed them,” he said casually.
I’m pretty sure their jaws dropped in disbelief. What did he say? What…? How…? So they tried to reason with Jesus, explaining how feeding a group of 5,000 people would cost eight month’s of a man’s wages. That wasn’t pocket change, and even if it WAS they didn’t carry that kind of cash around with them anyways. (Much less a pocket large enough to hold it.)
Jesus wasn’t deterred. He asked them what they had to give to the situation. They asked around and came back with a dismal report: only five loaves of bread and two cooked fish. That was it. THAT was what they had to offer. Five loaves. Two fish.
Then Jesus did the impossible. He took what little they brought to the table, devoted it to God and His glory, and sent it back among the people. Who were fed. Until they were full.
The Bible says they started with five loaves of bread and two fish. And ended up picking up baskets of leftovers. BASKETS.
The meaning behind the vision was immediately clear to me. My complaint? “I don’t have enough.” God’s solution? “Give me what you’ve got – I’ll take care of the details.”
So according to God, if I’ll give Him what little time I have to offer each week, He’ll bless it and make it productive and send it out to accomplish His will. That’s a pretty incredible concept. And I’ll be honest, if He hadn’t injected this truth into my heart like that, I’d have a hard time believing it.
But as impossible as the concept is, I’m choosing to believe it. I’m choosing to believe that He’s in control of these things, and that nothing that’s happened or will happen surprises Him. It surprises ME, without question. I’m surprised (read: “freaked out”) all the time by the circumstances of my life. He’s not.
The coolest part? Confirmations. When I’m serious about opening my heart and my schedule to Him, relinquishing my control of accomplishing His visions with my power, He sends me signs to reassure me I’m on the right track.
Today’s sign came through a book I was recently given, “Pearls of the King” by Lee Domingue. Domingue talks about the fact that God needs kings to accomplish His will on earth. In the same way He provided for the baby Jesus by sending three kings to supply his needs, God wants to raise up kings today to continue to provide for His Kingdom’s causes.
As I was reading the first chapter this morning, I came across this sentence:
“With the heart of a king, all you need to do is use whatever is in your hand to give and allow God to multiply it.”
Wow. I had planned on writing this column for a while, but reading this only confirmed for me that today’s the day to do it. Right now. Before I do anything else with my time.
So I share all that with you in the hopes that you’ll be inspired to also release the stranglehold you have on your dreams and goals. God needs you, needs your willing heart to accomplish what He’s called you to do. But it’s not up to you alone to do it.
Rely on Him. Trust Him. Believe that He will be faithful to the completion of your vision. All we need to do is bring Him what little we have to the table, and trust that He knows how to spread it accordingly. After all, it’s not our buffet – it’s His. He’s just letting us help Him in setting it up.
“Being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” – Philippians 1:6