As we celebrate this brand new year and brand new decade, many of us may feel like it’s the same ol', same ol'. The same obstacles may still be in front of you. Maybe you pushed a dream farther back into your mind than you have ever thought you would. I would like to encourage you to begin that conversation with God about what He is asking you to do that you need to say ‘yes’ to. It could be something really big, or it could be many small things that each make a big impact in someone’s life and God’s Kingdom.
After God continued to push me outside of my comfort zone, I walked our ladies at our church through the book study that I had written last fall, the companion to my book Perfectly Weak. I had just finished it in September and felt relieved--like I had done the thing God said to do and was done. He, of course, was not. He continued to push me farther out of my comfort zone to teach the study to the ladies of my church in October. Being that the study is about saying ‘yes’ to God, I felt like I needed to continue saying 'yes', myself, to God.
Sometimes I really think He has us teach things in ministry that we actually need most ourselves.
As we finished our study, I was so blown away at how God moved on the hearts of those ladies. We made a ‘yes’ board and these are things they wrote that God had put on their hearts, but they had not yet said 'yes' to:
-To actively pursue reconciliation in a family relationship
-To pray for every one of my students by name
-To begin holding art therapy classes
-To stop resisting community
-To set my alarm earlier in the morning and give God my first fruits of being in His Word and His Presence
-To help others realize there is life after addiction with Jesus
-God is asking me to step out of isolation and not live in fear.
These goals are each so unique!!
We teach people that they are uniquely gifted by God and to use those gifts. I am here to remind that you are, too. He has equipped you and filled you with dreams others want to shut down. There are so many reasons we put off saying 'yes' to God.
And I have found that Satan can’t actually defeat us (because Ephesians 1:19-23 says that the incredible greatness of God’s power—that is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead--is available to you and lives in you), but he can whisper lies and talk you out of walking in that power. We can choose to listen to the lies and just stop. That’s what I did for a time. God’s grace pulled me out of hiding from purpose, but many times we get stuck. We get stuck in pain, in hurt, in loneliness, in burnout, and decide to give up.
This book study encourages you to keep going—to look up to God and ask Him what is He teaching you, how is He moving in the midst of what you are going through—instead of looking at what you can see and focusing on the situation.
I want to share a sneak peak of the study with you to encourage you to keep stepping out there in ministry. I want you to take a few minutes to answer these questions for yourself. Maybe write them down and talk to God about them this week.
Week One of the book study asks the reader these following questions:
Is there an area of your life in which you’d like to stay safe and comfortable when God is asking you to step out in faith? Think through that and write out the amazing and miraculous things that could happen if you took that step.
One of the major things God kept pointing out to me was that I was hiding. He was asking me to step out into my calling and purpose, but I was saying 'no' because I had been hurt. I didn’t want to take the risk of getting hurt again.
Are you hiding from what God is calling you to do? Is there an area in which you know you need say YES to God?
Do you ever find yourself trying to get God to do what you want Him to do instead of remembering that we are here to do what He wants us to?
Do you struggle with “I can’t” thoughts? What are some steps of obedience you feel like you need to take, but think you can’t?
Do you ever fall into the trap of seeing everything you think you aren’t instead of seeing all that God is? God doesn’t need our expertise; He just needs us to be willing. When we focus on our own limitations, we limit what God can do through us. Are there any weaknesses you need to yield to God so that you can fully rely on His grace that is sufficient and power made perfect in those weaknesses?
Dreams & Steps of Faith is ENTRY TWO in our blog series for January, Perfectly Weak, featuring the insights from ministry wife and author Casey Graves. Share with us what you find yourself hiding from or what dream you have pushed back behind other things.
Casey Graves is a wife, momma to two girls, and co-pastor/planter of Foundations Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She enjoys a good cup of coffee with a friend or a family date day when she finds some spare time. What draws her to Sanctuary is her desire to truly share her vulnerabilities and struggles to help others dealing with similar wounds and insecurities that come with ministry. Casey recently published her first book, Perfectly Weak, now available at Amazon.