Approaching the Promise Land...Scared
What do you do when after all the time of waiting and working towards something, God says "Okay, we're here. It's time to have what you've always wanted"?
I know what the correct answer should be: I would go crazy! I'd thank God and probably cry out of happiness. I'd start yelling and dancing and singing. I'd call up my mom (real life) and tell my roommates and my friends. Maybe I'd have a party so everyone could see. I'd take a photo and post it on Instagram and Facebook. Then I'd be living on cloud 9 for the next few weeks and months just living the dream and enjoying it.
But what if God says "It's time." but you don't see any proof. No evidence.
I mean, "He makes rivers in the desert. He opens blind eyes. The lame walk. Barren women give birth. He opens doors in the middle of a wall. He can do anything."
The churched part of me declares truth, but another part of me takes a step back and hesitates. It's scared. I'm scared. Why?, I ask. How?, I request. Questions I say, but have no desire to actually know the answer to. I'm just stalling because I'm scared inside.
Scared? But why would I be scared of finally getting what I always wanted? Something has just been exposed.
I always liked choose your own ending books because it let me relate and dictate how I wanted the story to go. With every decision unfortunately, my mind also rushed to what was on the rest of those pages. What would have happened had I gone another route? What was I missing? FOMO was already at work in my 12 year old little brain. So in honor of my 12-year-old-self, and because I have more problems than one post can contain, I'll let you choose the path you can relate to the most. Also, I'll leave all the endings in the bottom of each post so you can work through them all... or aren't left wondering what was down the other path.
Part 1: Am I Good Enough?
Why am I scared of getting my deepest desire? What I'm realizing is my own self-worth doesn't actually believe I'm good enough for my desire. Would I agree with that statement if someone else said it? Nope. But when I realize the scary part is that I'm afraid I will lose it once I have it because I'm not good enough. I'm afraid the girl will realize I made more of a good first impression but am not all she thought once she has me. I'm afraid the dream job will require more of me than I have to give and they'll realize it and I'll be fired back to lower than when I started. I'll mess up my children or they'll grow up to rather be with other people instead of me. I'll get my promise, but will lose it because I'm not enough to sustain it.
Honestly, this could be the most difficult one to articulate because so much of this has to do with hearing for yourself from God. But I hope to share some of my journey that may shed light on the next steps in your path.
Fist off, I needed to ditch the false humility and constant degradation of myself. I tried the whole religious path of "It's not what I deserve it's what you deserve" which had some truth to it, but not the perspective I had on it. I will still trying to rid myself from the equation. Less of me and more of you Jesus. Less of me. Less of me. I'll just be back here hiding in the shadows...being Holy...so no one sees me. What kind of Dad would God be if all of His children spent time in the shadows, trying desperately not to be seen? I completely agree that without God I am nothing, will be nothing, and have nothing really to give. BUT I am not without God...ever again. I have to show up now! The world is waiting to see what it actually looks like to be alive. Marianne Williamson articulates this so well in her book 'A Return to Love':
We are made for greatness. It's not an insult to God to show up and expect big things for your life. It's a compliment showcasing how good your Father really is. It's only an insult when you think you've earned it or deserve it because of something you've done. (To read more about why more of Jesus and less of me is theologically flawed for Christians, read here.)
I knew that was true for all Christians, but then I had to walk it out in my own life. I have to actually show up thinking I had something to give. Show up knowing I have something to give. "You got this. Get ready to give. You've got something to give." I'd tell myself getting psyched up for a date, job interview, or social gathering of people I didn't know. "Alright, let's do this. You've got something to give."
"What have I got to give?" I'd retort.
"Dang. I was hoping you wouldn't ask that. Uh...stuff. You've got stuff to give. You're good at smiling and like...conversation...and stuff. I don't know, just go in there." My other side would quip back in an attempt to not go so deep into my soul unpacking even more insecurities. (Yes, my inner dialogue is arguing with myself both aware of and trying to hide my own insecurities at the same time...from myself.)
This is where God and community come in. You'll need to ask those questions. "How do you see me? What do you like about me? What am I good at? What do I have to offer?" Ask God first. Don't stop asking until He tells you. Then once He tells you, keep telling yourself verbally and mentally. Tell your self it again weekly if not daily. Don't worry, it'll probably sound stupid and fake and embarrassing at first. You'll get over it. Took me 2-3 weeks of complimenting myself in the mirror before I realized it didn't feel weird anymore. I started taking the first page of every journal and just asking God "What do you like about me?" Then writing down everything that came into my mind. Even if it sounded stupid, petty, vain, like it was from myself. I've written down everything from "You love people really well." to "You have a nice butt and good toenails." It's important to know what God likes about you because He has this way of saying it in a way that it means something so deeply that it alters something in our very core. If you only hear what you're good at from community, then you'll define yourself by your performance and how well you do. Your community will share and confirm things or stir things up inside, but always go to God and give yourself the present of hearing Him say it. P.S. He's always saying nice things about you and He never gets tired of telling you again. It's His delight. (Zephaniah 3:17; Luke 11:5-10)
Finally, know this. If it's God's good pleasure to give us the kingdom (Luke 12:32) then why would He set us up to lose the kingdom? Before you state that your deepest desire isn't in the kingdom because it isn't one of the "Holy" things (because I've been there and argued that), please note the Kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21). The more you spend time communing with the Trinity, the more Their desires become yours. As your being transformed, your desires actually become on Their to do list.
He wants you to succeed. He's setting you up for success. You are bought at a great price and have great worth. You are not what you do, but you have much to offer. You are what He says about you and that is extremely valuable. He is not going to set you up to fail. He has placed the desire inside of you and He has prepared you for this desire.
Joshua had 40 years watching Moses and studying under him before he took over. God is not surprised by your dreams or your promise land. He has prepared you and made you for this. It's time to step up, show up, and walk in increasing growth, favor, and grace from the Lord for your new season.
Other resources I recommend that have helped me:
Supernatural Ways of Royalty by Kris Vallotton
Wild At Heart by John Eldridge (For Men)
Captivating by Staci Eldridge (For Women)
"Good, Good Father." - House Fires
Part 2: Is this going to happen?
Why am I scared of getting my deepest desire? What I'm really looking for is assurance it's actually going to happen. I live in a culture where we see the impossible happen all the time, but a constant source of ache of my heart and conversation with God is "Don't get me excited if we're not actually doing this. Please don't toy with me." So often I feel like God is saying "Okay, get ready! Here it comes." I get excited, my hope level skyrockets, and I am on high alert all day...then all week. Still on alert throughout the whole month...and maybe into the next few months. Each time we go through this process, my hope level doesn't spike as high and the fallout is much shorter lived. The word tells me "You are not a man who should lie or change your mind. You do not speak and not act. You don't promise and not fulfill" (Numbers 23:19).... oh, but boy, does it sure feel like it. I know You're do not lie or change your mind, but You feel like the boy who cried wolf. And I am tired of running to see what's not there. "Are we doing this or not? If so, when?! Because I'm tired of getting all excited and prepared and NOTHING CHANGING!."
I love Abraham in the Bible. Not just because we have the same name, but because I've learned so many lessons from his life and the way he walked with God...even when he had no clue what was going on. Abram is 75 years old before God makes the promise to him that he will be a great nation. 75 Years. Sarah is 65. That's around 636 missed
God's willingness: I was trying to kill off all of my desires not realizing that they were given by God and He actually enjoys giving His children good gifts. He, after all, is a good Father. It's His delight to give His children gifts that they want. The only times He withholds is because they're wouldn't be beneficial for us, at all or at least not in this season.
What is God doing? Not what I think is He doing?
Part 3: FOMO
I believe that this is the enemies last ditch effort to stop you from walking it out. The devil is the king of the vague "what if..." questions that make us feel like God is holding back from us. His interaction with humanity was "What if God is holding back from you? What if you could really be like Him?" In the same way, he will come in and whisper "Is this really it? What if you could have a better job? more money? A more beautiful fiancée? What if you have kids but miss out on doing those extra things while you're still young without kids? Are you just settling?" The whispers will go into full on conversations that scream so loud you'll find yourself immobile for years making sure you don't miss the next other thing that's better.
Part 4: Changing Lifestyles
After so long, I'm not sure I really expected anything to change. I've almost given up the desire for them to change, most likely due to unmet expectations and hurt. Beyond that, I've developed a lifestyle around my wilderness journey and am not sure I'm ready for it to change. I have my routine that allows me to be the most efficient I can be. I just got my house the way I like it. I have my circle of friends who I get to see and spend time with. I have next few months and years planned out... or actually, I have some plans down but I also don't want to be tied down with too many restrictions.
This is the promise that I've given you.