God’s Extreme Makeover: Courage Edition
I’ve never been much of a New Year’s resolution type of girl. There’s just no point in trying for me. Like most people, I would forget whatever goals I set for myself by February if not earlier. So I never bother with it, but this year was different.
I have been working with a success coach for several months now, and when the new year rolled around, rather than suggesting that I prepare a random list of lofty and unrealistic lifestyle changes, she challenged me to select a concept to explore for 2013. This concept would be something like: beauty, elegance, purpose, love, happiness, strength, virtue, style, joy ,etc. I would pursue it and try to live this concept, infusing into my overall way of being––so much so that it would become part of me. Obviously, the goal of this assignment is to foster my own growth, development, and personal transformation. “Hmm.” I thought. “What should I choose.?” The answer was not so clear initially; I considered purpose and a few other things, but nothing seemed to feel quite right. However, once I centered myself and really listened, it was clear for me: I would pursue and explore courage this year.
The truth is that all too often I play it safe; sometimes I choose the easy, the logical, the clear, and least-scary option. My job for example, while it is a good job––that I am terribly grateful to have in a tough economy––it does utilizes hardly any of my talents or gifts. It doesn’t challenge or push me to be better or to give more. Several years ago, when I finished my Master of Divinity degree, I just could not understand how my unique set of interests and passions were going to provide a livelihood for me. I was a singer (with no band), part-time flautist (good but not quite a pro), budding preacher (not interested in pastoring), and writer (with no book or publisher) who liked youth ministry and was especially passionate about empowering women and girls. How in the world was I going to make a living with that set of gifts and interests? What church could hire me full-time? And to do what? How was I to provide for myself? What options did I have? In my own mind, not many. So I went after a job with great benefits and decent pay doing work that I am not passionate about, and though I try my best, at the end of the day I am unfulfilled. **sighs** You may ask, “Well, if you’re so unhappy, then why haven’t you left? Why not pursue your dreams?” Well the truth is that I have been scared. Plain and simple, fear has been running my show.
Enter super-awesome New Testament text in the super-awesome Message version of the BIble.
“And that special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed––keep that ablaze! God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold, and loving and sensible.” II Timothy 1:6-7 (MSG)
It is certainly no accident that a few weeks ago, I preached my trial sermon on this text.
Here, Paul writes to Timothy encouraging him to keep alive the gift of God that is within him. In fact, he says, “keep that ablaze.” And to be sure that Timothy understands, he advises that God has not given him a shy or timid disposition, rather God have given him boldness (power)! I love it! God’s desire is that we step out boldly with the gifts, purpose, and mission that God has called us to! We are not to shrink, play small, or take the easiest way. This doesn’t mean that we take unhealthy risks, or act foolishly. Rather it simply means that we do not have to apologize for who we are or who God has called us to be, but step out confidently in the direction of God’s urging.
As I have been meditating on this text for several weeks now, I have felt God making me more confident, stronger, and bolder. Even after just one month in the new year, I sense God’s presence and power in my life like no other time before now. It has been amazing to see the way the Lord is opening doors and making ways not in my circumstances, but within in me. God’s power has enveloped me as I surrender my life totally to God. And I am ecstatic about what I will look like at the end of the year. Yes, I am a participant in God’s Extreme Makeover: Courage Edition. And by the time the Lord finishes with me, I will be a fearless kind of girl, ready to journey into the unknown with God, fulfilling the purpose God has for me.
Do you find yourself taking the easy most comfortable route in life? Do you sell yourself short? What ways are you holding back? Are you bold with the gifts God has given you?
If not, I encourage you to meditate on II Timothy 1:6-7. Open yourself to what God desires to do in you. Everyone may not understand and that’s okay. What matters most is that we surrender our own wills to God’s––and that is the beauty of it. God will do all the work here. We are not the deliverer, God is. We are not the healer, God is. We won’t be able to transform our lives, but God can and God will. Let’s invite God inside ourselves to redecorate, renovate, and transform us into who we were always supposed to me. Let’s go together. And like I shared last month, it starts with a yes!
A Prayer For You
Powerful and Loving God, you who graciously entrusted me with a special ministry. Set me ablaze with your power and love that I may boldly share the gifts you gave me, giving honor and glory to your name forever. In the awesome name of Jesus I pray and give thanks. Amen.
Arionne Y. Williams (AME Zion Church)