I had a totally different blog post for today, for yesterday. It was fine. Actually, it is a really important message that I will share another day. But even as I was writing, I felt a nudge letting me know that it wasn’t what I was supposed to share this week. In my blog, I’m experimenting on what days are the best days to share my encouragement with you. My goal for this week and last week, was to post first thing Thursday morning to test the engagement. If you know me, you know that I like to follow through on commitments that I make to myself. And even though, no one is checking on my work, I was starting to feel nervous as I was lying in bed on Wednesday night. I was nervous because I knew that if the message that I wrote wasn’t the right message, then I wouldn’t meet my commitment to myself. I don’t like not following through. I’ve been trained throughout my entire career to set daily commitments and follow through. It’s engrained in me. Apparently, it’s so engrained, I will even push back on a nudge from God to reach my personal commitment.
The problem is, it’s my commitment, it’s not God’s commitment for me. It wasn’t what I was supposed to share. I’m just trusting that sharing my heart will serve you today in a way that God wants, even if what I wanted was a different message.
I also want to share (if you’re new here) that I’m in a season of transition. I’m in a season where I am trying to be as sensitive as possible to the nudges that I get from the Holy Spirit. In this season, God has made only one thing crystal clear to me. I am to rest and wait on God. You might already be anticipating where this is going. I don’t like to rest and wait…on anyone, especially as it relates to my ability and desire to produce and grow things. Turns out God knows this about me, so I receive reminder nudges every.single.day when I start resisting the waiting and the resting. The message is very clear. “Elena, rest and wait on me. In the waiting, encourage others.”
This morning I was feeling particularly punchy in my desire to “do” literally anything productive. I’ve taken the last thirty days off. It has been wonderful AND I’m feeling ready for what’s next. I knew I needed to start negotiations with God. By the way, if you’re one of those people that thinks that negotiating with God is not ok, I get it. I believe that negotiating is part of being in a relationship. God can handle me. My conversation went something like this, “God, it’s been wonderful resting but I’m good now. I’ve heard all I can from you. Vacation is over and it’s time to produce, it’s time to move something forward, it’s time to make decisions, it’s time to go. Ok? Ok, good.” I guess you could say it was a one-way conversation. It felt really good to just let myself think those things. It’s what I’m used to thinking. I felt like myself again. Then I opened up my devotional and the first message was from Psalms 37:7 “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” Annoying. What in the actual heck God? Are you kidding me? We’re still in the waiting??? Didn’t you hear me? We’re moving forward!
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Psalms 37:7
Because I’m already annoyed, I go about my day and decide I’m going to ignore the direction about my blog post. I’m going to post the other one anyway. I trip around my website, it’s literally a fight every week to get something posted. If you ever thought you were a big deal but then want to be totally humbled, create your own website. You will feel like a total idiot. I open up my phone to play some music and I get a notification from the Bible app, Verse of the Day: Psalms 130:5 “I wait for the Lord, I expectantly wait, and in his word, I put my hope.” Seriously??? God, why are you being such a know-it-all?
I wait for the Lord, I expectantly wait, and in his word, I put my hope. Psalms 130:5
A few minutes later, I get a message from a previous colleague of mine. He’s an advisor that is about two years into starting his own business. He is just one of those people that I’m always cheering for – I want to see him win in everything he does. He works so hard and he’s so well intentioned. He’s smart. His heart is to serve people. His message to me said “I need some encouragement please, I am struggling.” In that moment, I knew where I had gone wrong. I was asked to “Rest and wait. In the waiting, encourage others.” My other post would have been informative (for so many people, God!!!), but it wasn’t what God asked me to do. He asked me to Encourage. As if I might not be paying attention, God shows off again. This verse popped up from Hebrews, “Let us consider how we may spur on one another on toward love and good deeds…encouraging one another.”
Let us consider how we may spur on one another on toward love and good deeds…encouraging one another. Hebrews 10:24-25
I immediately responded to my friend. I took some time to encourage him with scripture, to build him up with my words. I don’t know how that will serve him (if at all) but I know that it got my attention off myself and on to encouraging someone else. Maybe that was exactly the encouragement he needed to pursue his purpose. Maybe in his pursuit of his purpose to serve people financially, he was the answer to a future client’s prayer for a financial guide. As his future clients engage with him and receive great advice, perhaps they can be generous with their resources and bless someone else’s socks off.
Here’s the deal, it’s not very often that God is this clear with me about what I’m supposed to do. I wish I was one of those people who gets DM’s directly from heaven. But it doesn’t work that way for me…yet. God wanted me to rest and wait and in the waiting, asked me to encourage others. It’s so clear. Yet my human nature couldn’t stop thinking about myself. If I’m being completely honest with you, it wasn’t that I was just focusing on myself. I was allowing fear to take root and move me to action. For me, maybe you too, fear is extremely motivating. It isn’t always a bad thing. In this scenario though, it’s not healthy for me. If I don’t get productive, I’ll become irrelevant. If I don’t get productive, I’ll run out of money. If I don’t get productive, people won’t respect me… As I was engaging the fear and thinking about myself, I was missing the opportunity to serve other people, to encourage other people. I was missing the opportunity to do what God had told me to do. I needed that nudge from my friend to get centered on what I’m supposed to be doing…Encouraging Others. In my obedience, perhaps a ripple effect happened to serve so many other people. Who knows?
My question to you (and myself) is what are you focusing on that might be holding you back from doing what God has called you to do today? You might push back on me thinking “You don’t know what I’m going through. How can I serve people when I’m going through illness, cancer, infidelity, divorce, infertility, job transition etc? How can I not engage fear?” I get it. I’ve had those thoughts and questions too. You’re human. Your human needs, desires or challenges are real. My desires and needs are real too and I know God has a plan to fulfill those desires in a way so much better than I could even imagine. I’ve also experienced personal devastation for my family when what we were fearing most came true. I think specifically about when we lost my beautiful mother-in-law to cancer. And yet, engaging fear didn’t actually help us prepare for that devastation. Fear only kept me from experiencing joy in her final days. It also likely prevented me from serving other people during that time.
God has called you to something today. It is likely different than what I’ve been called to do. But, don’t underestimate that calling, even if it feels like something so small. You might be part of a much bigger picture. Something that you will do in obedience will create a ripple effect. God never makes mistakes when he calls people to step forward in faith, ever. You’re exactly the right catalyst to serve and love people. If you’re self-focused or wading in fear like I was, it will prevent you from that calling, from your purpose.
Is God calling you to do something and you want to ignore it? Is it hard? Will it take you out of your comfort zone? Will it expose you to rejection? Don’t wait on the sidelines in fear. Don’t underestimate how fulfilling your calling could create a ripple effect to serve and love people. What is the one thing that you can do to follow through on that calling?
- Are you a leader that needs to make a bold move?
- Is there a change that needs to happen in your parenting?
- Is there a bold conversation that needs to happen?
- Is God challenging you in your faith?
- Is there an investment you’re called to make that feels challenging to you?
- Is God challenging you to make a financial gift? It’s been on your heart but feels like a stretch?
- Is there a career shift that God is leading you to make?
We’re not always ‘in the know’ when it comes to how God is challenging the people around us. However, we often get bits and pieces from family, friends and colleagues about their goals, dreams and challenges. How can we come alongside them to support them? Is there a way for you to come alongside someone as she pursues her calling or as she steps forward in obedience? Does she need to be encouraged? Does she need to be challenged? Do you just need to be beside her? Could you take a moment to send her a text, give her a call, write her an email, or drive to her home and be with her face to face?
I hope this helps you. I see you. I love you. I’m cheering you on!