Getting to Where You're Going
"... continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out." Nehemiah 4:21b (NIV)
While it's true that God ultimately accomplishes His purposes in ways far beyond what we can ask or imagine, we have a part to play in His plans. God recently had me read the book of Nehemiah to see how one of His servants accomplished the huge task of rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem.
I came away with a deep appreciation for my part of success—organization, communication, energy, delegation and hard, hard work. Scripture actually says that Nehemiah and the Israelites "...continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out." (Nehemiah 4:21b NIV)
I've been guilty like many Christians in talking about my calling and spiritualizing "trusting God" without being willing to follow Him in obedience into the day-to-day labor required to build His Kingdom.
How about you? Is something keeping you from doing the work? Perhaps you're faced with paralyzing questions posed by fear? "What if I try and fail?" "What if nobody else believes in me?" "What if God doesn't show up?" or worse "What if I've misheard God and am missing His will?"
Or, are there distractions and time-wasters that take your focus off of what you know God's wants you to do?
It's taken me many years to come to a place that I find the thought of working toward my calling encouraging rather than discouraging. I'm encouraged that it doesn't take innate genius or prodigal gifting to fulfill my calling. I don't have either of those.
In an article published in The New York Times, David Brooks wrote about the place of hard work in success. He shared:
"The key factor separating geniuses from the merely accomplished is not a divine spark ... Instead, it's deliberate practice. Top performers spend more hours (many more hours) rigorously practicing their craft."
A study cited in the same article said that musicians who were said to be virtuoso practiced 10,000 hours; 5,000 more than those simply considered to be good.
It reminded me of something I'd heard in an interview with my friend Lysa TerKeurst. She said that many people ask how she became a New York Times bestselling author overnight. Her answer was simply, "Through 17 years of hard work. I determined that I would do all that I could do while completely trusting God to do what only He could do."
I'm called to become an increasingly effective communicator for Christ, not so that people can stand in awe of Amy Carroll but so that they can stand in awe of the One I speak about—Jesus. I'm called to help other women to grow too. I can't do that unless I'm a life-long student, learner and worker.
What's your calling? Are you doing the work? My definition in this case is simply moment-by-moment, day-by-day obedience to God's Word and the leading of His Spirit. Some days that will look like moving forward while other days it will be stillness, waiting and listening. Either way, let's start working right now!
Dear Lord, thank You for the calling on my life. Even though parts of my heart are nervous and struggle, I want to do the work and walk in obedience to You. Thanks for helping me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
"Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." ~Thomas Edison
Pray for freedom from fear or distractions. Plan for time to work on your calling. Prepare your heart to hear from God.
Proverbs 31:17, "She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks." (NIV)
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