You can tell if someone trusts you by their actions more than by their words. Trust is an ACTION verb. We have all been played by that smooth talker who says all the right things, but if you only look at his actions, you wouldn’t be fooled. I’ve always had a big problem with people who are too slick and yet… we do the same thing to God all the time. We pray for God to change our lives (Dear God, please help me lose weight) and then our actions are the OPPOSITE of our prayer. When our actions don’t match our prayers, we lack integrity. I couldn’t pray for God to make me the active and vibrant woman I wanted to become, and then binge on chips and ice cream and spend my free time in front of the TV.
Becoming is a ministry that is driven by God. I designed this piece of jewelry when I was baptized. The outside circle is a mobius, which is symbolic of constant transformation. The piece literally means “constant transformation through Christ.” The jewelry is meant to inspire those who wear it to be intentional in transforming their lives in Christ. And the sales of the jewelry help support non-profits, helping young Moms in crisis. Shortly after we launched the jewelry line, I knew God was asking me to do more with the ministry. The jewelry was just a symbol and God was very clearly pushing me to start a blog for Becoming. I fought him for 18 months because I thought I didn’t have anything worth reading. It was my husband (then boyfriend) who pushed me to start it last summer. I was complaining because I felt like God was asking me to blog, but I’m not Beth Moore; I’m not a biblical scholar and I still feel like a baby in my faith. But God told me, “just tell your story” and be transparent. I had been praying God would grow the Becoming Ministry, but I was unwilling to take the baby step he asked of me.
It took Dale pushing me, asking me if I had integrity in my prayers about Becoming, to take action. How did I think it would BECOME a ministry without some action from me? Would God just come in and magically hand me a ministry? No, God required me to take steps in obedience. I had to be a DOER of Becoming by telling my story, and it terrified me to be so vulnerable and transparent. So I stalled and blamed God that nothing was happening.
Why do we do this? Why do we pray one thing and then act in a way that produces the opposite result? We do it because we lack trust. When our actions don’t match our prayers we aren’t trusting God. I clearly wasn’t trusting God to take care of me and my outcomes. I was mistakenly thinking that I was somehow in control of the outcomes and, knowing how imperfect I am, I was scared that I’d take action and screw things up. I wasn’t trusting that if I take a step out over the edge, that God will not only catch me, but LIFT ME UP! I was actively defiant–and I still struggle with this.
James 1:22 (NLT) says, “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.”
In what ways do your actions match your prayers and God’s call for your life?
When we feel anxiety, it’s because we know we can’t control the outcome. If you’re human, you like control; if you’re a Mom, you love control; and if you’re a Single Mom, you feel like control is required to survive! This need for control leads to fear when we can’t control the outcomes. And yet anything worth doing is risky. Unpredictable. This keeps us paralyzed in our fear and in our current situations — we’re stuck. But the only one holding you back, my sweet friend, is YOU. You’ll have to let go of the outcomes and start taking steps of faith toward your dream, trusting that God will deliver on the other side. This was hard for me; what if I started the blog and no one read it? OR what if being that vulnerable came back to bite me? And what about my other dreams/fears? What if I lost weight and still ended up alone? Never mind that I’d be healthier, would I be lovable? That’s what I really needed to trust God with — that He created me to be LOVABLE! He created me for RELATIONSHIP!
I was terrified that I had a deep, tender desire in my heart and I might follow God only to find out that he didn’t have the same desire for me. I might do all of this work only to learn that God had a different plan for me. I had to let go of that fear and trust that if God did have something different for me, that it would be even better than my dream. But I had a hard time DOING what I knew needed to be done because that fear was paralyzing me. So I began to pray this prayer around love and marriage: “God, if this desire inside of me is not from YOU and your promise for my life, then please PLEASE remove it from my heart! It is too painful to feel so alone. So Lord, please take away this desire if it is not from you.” Instead of that desire dying, it got even more intense over time. So I trusted that God put it there and I began taking steps forward in obedience to who he was calling me to be:
Here are a few examples of actions I took in obedience:
- I started exercising 3-5 times a week and counting my calories using a smart-phone app.
- I started saying YES to things I used to say NO to because of my weight and I started doing them now rather than doing them when I finally lost weight.
- I prayed specifically for the kind of man and relationship I wanted and I developed BOUNDARIES and STANDARDS that I promised to hold to when I did start dating. Example Boundary: I said no to sex from the time I accepted Christ until the day I was married.
- I started the Becoming blog by just telling my story and trusting God would deliver the message he desired through it.
This isn’t about the dreams you have for your kids or your family or your friends. It’s about YOU and who you are becoming in Christ! Are you becoming a dreamer? Are you ready to step into the adventure of seeking, depending and doing toward a better future God has planned? He designed you with a purpose! He placed tremendous dreams in your heart and right now, as you’ve read this devotional series, you have felt them BURSTING inside of you! Clamoring for your attention! Or, you feel fear. You’re scared of what he is asking you to do! Beautiful, sweet friend, he has even more for you than you can realize! The dreams in your heart are just the FIRST STEP on this adventure with God! And if you don’t know what your dream is yet, that is okay. Ask him to show you. Pray for confirmation, direction, and guidance. Pray for God to break open the hard shell around your heart and show you what that tender dream is. Ask for prayer about that FIRST STEP you’re supposed to take. Maybe your first step is letting go of that last bit of control and asking Jesus into your heart as your savior so you can put him in control.
Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV) says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
1. Describe the race that God is marking out for you. What has God shown you about where he wants you to go?
1 Peter 1:14 (NLT) says, “So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then.”
2. The enemy would love to trip us up and he uses our old strongholds to do it. There are things are all doing that hinder us from moving forward in God’s plan for our lives. Where do you need protection from you old ways?
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
3. If you trusted God would deliver on your dreams–on giving you a hope and a future–what would you be willing to do to prepare? What change would you be willing to make? What action will you take?
Trust God, Take Action:
This is the last entry in this devotional series and, like a good “type-A” woman, I want to leave you with a few practical next steps. If you’ve been following along I hope God has spoken to you and shown you what you need to do next, AND I believe you’ll need some support for the journey of Becoming A Dreamer:
1. Join a Bible Study and develop a daily (or at least weekly) habit of getting into God’s word. Belonging to a Bible study is a way for me to have structure and a deeper understanding of what I’m reading. There are studies starting at local churches all the time. Or you can gather together a few women you know and start one yourself. If you don’t have time to join a group, I highly recommend a daily devotional such as Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.
2. Find a Prayer Partner (or two). There is POWER in sharing your deepest desire or biggest fear with someone so they can pray with you. Will you take a first step today? Will you talk about that dream in your heart with someone? And offer to pray for them as well. You’ll be so energized and encouraged as you learn to pray for others in their dreams as well!
3. Take a Step in Obedience and Trust. I know it’s a step God is asking me to take when an idea pops into my head that I KNOW I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. Or I also know it’s from God when I hear about what someone else is doing and feel convicted. The Becoming blog was not my idea!
4. Write Down Your Prayers. Whether you keep a journal or email them to yourself, it is powerful to be able to go back and SEE God’s faithfulness to you over time!
As we close, let me pray for you:
God, we need you to take us on a new journey and each of us to a place of HOPE, JOY, and PROMISE as we explore the tender desires and DREAMS that you have put on our hearts. As we begin the long and exciting adventure of TRUSTING YOU with our dreams, we will encounter obstacles. We will have doubts and fears that will clamor for attention. I pray for protection over each person who reads this; protection over her mind and heart. God, fear and insecurity have no place in her mind and heart; no place in the life of your daughter. You have told us, we are Daughters of the King! Remind her today of who YOU say she is, God! Show her who YOU are and that YOU are ultimately the ONLY Trust we have; Love on her and speak to her heart as you awaken the potential inside of her. Show her who she is Becoming! Show her a glimpse, give her a Vision — YOUR Vision — for her Future! God, THANK YOU! As you prepare the way, please remove roadblocks and put a CALL on her life that is undeniable!