Raise your hand. Sign up now. Jump right in. Don’t think, just do it. I find that those phrases are my response most of the time in life. Just recently, I have changed my attitude. I am always so anxious to help out and use the gifts that God has given me. Sometimes though, I have to wonder, “Does he need and maybe want someone else to fill that role.” Maybe if I just wait to say yes, someone else will step up; sometimes I just jump-the-gun way to quick. I raise my hand to volunteer and don’t even think twice about it because it seems to me that I am doing God’s will. Am I? Maybe not. God may be waiting for someone else to raise their hand. He might need me to take a back seat and let someone else take their time to discern. Sure, I could do it, but it is possible that God has other plans (those plans may not involve me).
I like to think that I am able to do most anything with God’s strength (which is true), but I forget to take into account that He needs others to do this too. I have a tendency to believe that I am the only one who can accomplish a task (that I set my mind to), and because of this I forget that God needs me to move back and let others take the lead. Prideful, I know. When I get into this mind frame, I try to back away from a situation and pray about it. I pray that God will show me when to let go and let others step in. I pray that God will help me to guide others into that volunteer role (or whatever position it is). I pray that God will humble me, so that I see that others are just as competent as I am (probably even better). Just like praying for patience, praying for humility can be dangerous. God show us through trials how to find our patience and humility when we ask. I like to add in my prayers for patience and humility, “Heh God, can You go easy on me?”
So what causes me to jump into action? Somewhere inside of me I do have a desire to succeed. I like success. I like to know that the gifts that God has given me are being used for His good. I have always been ambitious. These are not bad traits, but when they are abused, I am no longer working for God, but for myself.
I struggle with this balance all the time. When I jump into something without prayerful consideration, I don’t include God. There is NO WAY I include God when I don’t take it to prayer first. I might think that God wants me to do it, but I have not asked Him.
An example of this would be when Pete and I started looking for houses. We both knew we wanted to downsize our lives, but I just assumed that Pete was on board with how I felt. I never asked him. I never talked with him about his needs. I just started looking for houses. Now, I am lucky that Pete is pretty patient with my impulsive behavior. He humors me along, and then reels me in. He had some pretty heavy duty reeling to do this time (like reeling in a 10’shark)! I was on a mission. Anyway, what I found out is that Pete was still working through this plan mentally. He was taking the time to pray about it, read about it, and make a decision. I was going on instinct. All of the sudden during an Adoration hour, I realized that I needed to pray about it. Yes, I had come to the conclusion that downsizing was the right thing for us, but I needed to really take God into the conversation. When I finally did this, we found the house. We are still in the process of finalizing the agreement, but I think God wants this to take time. He wants us to see that jumping into this is not a good idea. We cannot leave out prayer and time with God in the decision process.
James 3:14-15 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. Wisdom of this kind does not come down from above but is earthly.
James is right! There will be no wise decisions made when ambition is within our hearts. When we are only looking at our work here on earth through self-ambitious minds, we are not asking God for wisdom. We are looking to ourselves for wisdom, and that is dangerous. No matter what your career is in life: housewife, executive, teacher, pastor, etc; if you don’t allow room for God, you will not succeed in His eyes. You may succeed according to the world, but it will be short-lived and unfulfilling. If you succeed with God – you will experience joy and fulfillment that is truly meaningful. As Mother Teresa says, “God doesn’t require us to succeed, but only to try.” The tricky part here is that God’s idea of success may be that you allow someone else to take over. You may never get any credit for the success. God’s plan may involve someone else, and you are the key to letting that happen. He needs you to step back, to pray and to listen to Him. Success may look very different than you expect, and you need to put aside all the selfish desires of earthly success in order to do God’s will.
What is God calling you to do today (trust me He has a plan for you today)? Have you prayed today about what God needs you to do or maybe not do? Before you “raise your hand,” ask God for advice.