Monday, January 16, 2017

Don't Do It

"Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.
The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns
and put it on his head..." - John 19: 1-2

**Photography by Melissa Talbot**

Sometimes other people's dreams, goals, and aspirations seem ridiculous, impossible, or even crazy to us. We may even be ignorant to their heart to the point of dismissiveness. Nothing kills a dream faster than the doubting tongue of someone close to us.

Recently, a friend of mine asked if I would go skydiving with her this spring. Without hesitation, the reply text included, "Are you nuts?", followed by another sentence saying, "Actually...I might."

There was a sudden awareness that even though the thought of willfully jumping out of a plane and plummeting to the earth at break neck speeds wasn't exactly exciting to me, it was an experience that was exciting to her.

It was something she gave careful thought to. Perhaps as part of a realization that was now a desire in order to break out of her comfort zone. To do something so...crazy, in order to bring life out of complacency.

Remembering back years ago, there were things that others conceived to be insane and nutty when announcing that I would be embarking on inner dreams.

Things like going to Uganda, alone, for two weeks to work in an orphanage and doing a working vacation in Italy for two months.

Then years later, I would take another, even crazier, journey. Five months at YWAM in Costa Rica with people almost half my age. It's not called Youth With A Mission for nothing.

Community living with hyper and Christ loving youth, numbering in the hundreds, was not overly appealing to a, then, 38 year old woman who was very comfortable in life. What lay ahead was nerve wracking and nauseating and ridicule from others only added to the building anxiety.

However, the desire to go was prompted only by the fact that God was calling me there and, in light of my own crazy thoughts about going, being obedient to God's call was crucial. Even in the face of knowing what I would be leaving behind.

Things like giving up a cozy apartment, selling a reliable car, and saying goodbye to someone I deeply loved. It also meant staring the death of my great desire for marriage in the face and, tearily, saying, "Farewell".

In all honesty, as hard as it was to say goodbye to the things of the heart, ignoring the aspiration growing within was impossible. It was a God given calling and desire, the best to receive because they are true, real, and promised to be fulfilled by Him.

Just like the dream to be married. There is no greater gift than to receive and believe that this covenant was hand picked. A promise that waits to be fulfilled. A desire that continues to grow, at times, to overwhelming proportions.

So, looking back to my friend's aspiration to push beyond the boundaries of discomfort and move toward what calls within, deserves applause, not ridicule.

Whether you are a Christian or not, there are great things that reside within you. Things both God given and ambition given. Things to stretch and mature beyond the confines of doubt and fear.

Glorious things believed and pursued because of an inner conviction. Big dreams being dreamed. The impossible becoming possible. Great or small, the desire erupts and calls for action.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was often told not to do the things He did in the Bible. Don't preach, don't teach, don't heal. Even His disciples told Him not to go to the Cross but Jesus' God given desire and His obedience to heal, forgive, and save the world never stopped Him even though suffering, rejection, and death awaited Him.

Don't let the words, "Don't do it", take hold. The desire to do what is inside you is there for a reason. Trust in God and let Him take you there.

Encouragement for the week:

You have goals, dreams, and aspirations. Maybe it's to lose weight, be healthier, or have a more intimate relationship with God.

Maybe it is something really big that, when mentioned, has only brought words of ridicule or mockery from your closest of friends. Maybe the word 'crazy' was even mentioned.

Dreams and desires are in you for a reason. Only you know what that reason might be. What's for sure is that they have been there a long time.

Whether you believe in God or not, those dreams and desires were given to you, waiting to be explored. You'll never know their true importance until you decide to take a step out and see where that dream/desire takes you.

Even if that step means believing in it or going out and making it a reality. Don't let someone tell you that you can't do it. Don't let someone shame you out of doing it.

If you are a Christian, these dreams and desires are God given. Trust Him to bring you into them and enjoy the journey along the way.

If you are not a Christian, your dreams and desires were given to you. Look for Jesus and He will bring you into those dreams and desires in a way that will be beyond your own imagination.

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