Monday, January 07, 2008

Assignments...

Recently, I wrote a blog about "What if she'd said NO" concerning God's assignment for Mary, which was birthing and raising the Son of God.

You can read that here

One of the people who commented on my blog asked, "If Jesus does have an assignment for each of us and we are truly willing, what should we do when the door never opens to make the assignment a reality in our lives?"

First, I have to thank this person for bringing this up ... because it's something we ALL wonder about. Second, I think we need to ask a few questions to answer these questions, such as:

1. How do we know God's assignments?
and
2. Are God's assignments always fulfilled?

Of course, the answers aren't easy. There are times (like with Abraham) that God's assignment took a really, really, really long time to come to pass. Yet, looking back we can see that it happened. It became a reality in Abraham's life, even though it wasn't on Abraham's time table. (Abraham's story is told in Genesis 12:1-25:18.)

Then there are those things we THINK are God's assignments. For example, consider Saul (later to become Paul). He was out to destroy this "Christian" sect that believed in a guy named Jesus and was threatening all Saul held dear--the law and the temple and the promised Messiah. Saul was zealous, but for the wrong things. It took a bright light and a personal encounter with Jesus to get Saul/Paul on the right path. (Paul's story is told in Acts 7:58-28:31 and throughout his New Testament letters.)

These are two possibilities for willing followers of God:
1. God's assignment will happen, but it may take longer than we think.
2. God's assignment will happen, but it may be different than what we first thought.

I also want to add something that I learned from the book, "Experiencing God" by Henry Blackaby, which is: God often doesn't give us one big assignment for our lives, but rather He gives us smaller assignments that will benefit His kingdom for His purposes. Because of this, we must daily seek God to see where we're supposed to be and when we're supposed to be there. God doesn't give us a task and then sends us off to be on our merry way. Instead, He speaks to our hearts daily. He calls us TO things. He calls us AWAY from things. And looking back, we see His assignments are fulfilled but often in ways we never dreamed of or planned.

So how does this work in real people's lives today? Here is an example from my life:

In 1998, just when I felt my writing was "taking off," God made it clear I was supposed to launch a Crisis Pregnancy Center in our town. The center started with three of us and quickly grew as we saw God work in miraculous ways. For a while I was the director, a board member, and the coordinator for the teen mother support groups. (Which led to being the NW coordinator for MOPS--Mothers of Preschoolers.) Then, God brought people in. First a director, then lots of volunteers, then a coordinator for the support groups. And as He did, I felt free to step back from my responsibilities for the center and my position at MOPS (even though I LOVE that organization). It was then my writing really did take off ... in ways I couldn't have imagined.

About two years ago, I was still on the board and frustrated. I had started this thing and there were a whole bunch of people with different ideas for where the center should go! :-) They weren't wrong ideas, just different. I went away for a few days to pray and seek God for both my writing and other ventures. I felt a complete release from God, and I resigned from the board. It was a step of obedience ... just as starting the center had been a step of obedience. Then the writing really, really took off.

In the end, I think we don't need to wonder if God's assignment are ever going to come true. Instead, we need to make emancipating decisions that free us to explore God's assignments.

Emancipation can mean two things ... 1. to be free from oppression/servitude or 2. to make ones own way in the world. In my cause the latter became the former. My desire to 'make my own way' was what oppressed me. And once I stopped trying to figure out "my own way" and followed God's, then I found true freedom.

Emancipation to me means tuning into God and listening up. Sometimes it means adding something (even though it makes no sense). Sometimes it means letting go of something (even though I really don't want to). It's also understanding there are seasons, and just because God calls me TO something today, doesn't mean it's forever. And just because God calls me AWAY from something doesn't mean it won't come around again.

Currently, I still mentor young moms, but on a more personal level. The board has asked me to sign on again, and I'm praying about that. And as the seasons in my writing world are shifting, I'm paying attention to where God is leading, because that is where true freedom is found.

All that to say ...

God does have assignments for us, and I think both Abraham and Paul would tell us that sometimes they are far different than we think. But if we are willing to follow God's assignments, and if we are watching and obedient on a daily basis, I have no doubt that their fulfillment will become a reality in our lives.

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