For quite awhile now, God has been telling me to let go. I toyed with the idea, but I just couldn’t do it.
Until Friday afternoon.
On Friday afternoon, I finally let go.
When I was about fourteen, I decided I was going to follow Jesus with everything I had. My pastor gave a sermon about the gifts and talents God blesses us with and challenged us to give them back to Him, committing to use them for Him rather than ourselves. So I did. Shortly after that, I quit choir and discovered a love for writing. And college helped me discover my editing abilities. I grew to understand the life-changing power of a story, fiction or nonfiction, and I decided I wanted to spend my life helping other people tell those stories. My internship sealed the deal: I was going to be a fiction editor and that was that.
But then I graduated college and got a job as an administrative assistant with the youth department at our church. With the way everything fell into place (another story for another day), I knew it was exactly the job God wanted me to have. And even though I was doing a lot of writing and editing for the church, I struggled. It wasn’t what I had planned for myself. Surely I wouldn’t be there long before I landed my dream job. But God kicked me in the butt a few times, warning me that my bad attitude about my job certainly wasn’t going to help me enjoy it. And I certainly couldn’t make a difference if I just thought of it as a job. So I started thinking of it as a ministry, and my attitude improved.
When I had the chance to leave for a non-editorial position at the company I wanted to work for, I realized I didn’t want to leave. But I still struggled, thinking now wasn’t the right time, but someday soon it would all fall into place.
And then came Friday afternoon. It was the last session of the Global Leadership Summit, long after I had tired of sitting in the church sanctuary, and long after I had decided I was ready to go home, Bill Hybels (the senior pastor at Willow Creek Church, where the Summit is held each year) told us the local church is the hope of the world. Yep, true. Great. Are we done? And then he said this (not a direct quote, but pretty close):
One of the greatest privileges in the world is when Jesus taps you on the shoulder . . . and asks you to help Him build His Church. Don’t be the woman who ignores Him.
At that moment, I knew God wasn’t going to let me mess around anymore. “You’re done,” He said, “Just let it go. This is where I have you. I want you to use your gifts here, where they’ll build up my church. Settle in. This is your ministry.”
Though Hybels wasn’t telling the 100,000+ people listening to quit their jobs to work at a church, I knew I needed to take his statement literally. It was time to give up my dream in favor of a much bigger, more exciting, more worthwhile dream: helping connect others with the Hope of the world—not just the buildings full of well-meaning Christians, Sunday school classes, and Christmas programs, but with the body of Christ, the hands and feet of the only one who can radically change the human heart.