I’ve had a conversion of faith, recently.
Don’t get me wrong. I still adore my God and Jesus is still my main man.
In fact, it was Jesus who brought me to this new found faith. It’s a weird, sort of rocky place to stand. A little like standing on a tightrope during a hurricane. But I’m there. Hanging on.
For the first time in my life, I have faith in myself.
Trust me. It’s not easy. I find reasons for doubt at every turn. I don’t feel smart or confident or capable. I am more consistently aware of my shortcomings than my strengths. I feel the big, empty gaps in my talent more than I notice what I am good at. Those wide, empty gaps are the obstacles I face in trying to live out my big, huge God-dreams. And God has given me dreams; slowly but surely he is bringing clarity around them. They seem to get bigger each time I allow my mind to wander.
Many people might call this a shortcoming.
I realized recently I need to protect these dreams like babies. I need to protect them from the people — including myself — who want to keep me safe from myself, who want me to slow down, be different, caution me to not take on too much. They love me. They mean me no harm. They don’t understand that these dreams are like helpless infants and I am their mama bear. I must protect my dreams at all costs lest they be dashed upon the rocks of heed and prudence. I’m not sure anything world-changing ever came of heed and prudence. And I want to be a world-changer.
Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Frances Hesselbein recently said, “A leader is simply someone who looks out a window and sees what is not yet visible.” This resonated with me profoundly. I see my dreams — huge, a little foggy, what I imagine a dust storm is like. Because it is not clear it is frightening. It is much bigger than me. And as I stand at the window, I have a choice. I can choose to be overwhelmed by the chaos of my dreams, or I can choose to grow up into my dreams and order the chaos into a powerful reality.
Growing up into my dreams is terrifying. Mostly because it means that I must swallow my precious, precious pride — that which keeps me safe and comfortable, in a place where I am the most talented person in the room. Let’s face it. That’s a fun place to be. It’s a place leaders gravitate to. But if you’re the most talented person in the room, there’s no one for you to learn from.
Instead, I have to purposefully put myself in a room full of people who are far smarter and more accomplished and better connected than I. I have to be the least in the room.
That. is. terrifying.
But God is like Parris Island. He is like Marine boot camp. He strips you down to your barest self and then dresses you in cloaks of purest white, purple royalty. And he does it lovingly (although it might not feel so loving at the time. It might feel more like, I dunno, excruciating pain and suffering. Maybe like you’re on Parris Island, from what I hear about Parris Island).
So he has prepared me for this. I feel like maybe I’ve made through boot camp. And because I’m his — and these dreams are his — I know I can have faith in who he created me to be. My daddy’s throne room is my playground. God of the Angel Armies has got my back. Why would I be afraid of a roomful of CEO’s?
Are you kidding? Of course I’m afraid of a roomful of CEO’s. But I’m going anyway, because the God-dream I have been given is more important than my fear or my security. It’s so important that I’m willing to be the least in the room.
So I have to ignore the quiet looks of disappointment I see on the faces of some people who think it’s not quite happening. I can not pay attention to the cautious warnings of those who love me, ripe with the silence of all the doubt they are not expressing. Most of all, I have to rise up like a warrior against the doubts that creep into my own brain that tell me I am not enough, and that what I see outside the window is impossible. I have to hold fast onto the vision God is revealing to me, even if it makes me sort of like Noah, building a boat on a mountaintop on a sun-shiny day.