I’ve had a dream for some time to speak to women about living their God-given destiny. In fact, the ultimate vision I hold in my head is me standing on a stage with tens of thousands of people gathered in an auditorium. That vision has been there for years – back when my children were little and leaving them wasn’t an option.
I’m still not certain when, how or why that many people would gather around to hear what I have to say, but it’s the vision in my head and it leads me on. The thing about it, it’s not some intense desire for fame or fortune. And if I never do it in life, it’s not going to gravely disappoint me. It’s just this “knowing” like someone gave me a flash forward picture of my future.
In December, I met with two dear friends in Zion National Park; and we spent a week, praying, meditating, and discussing the possibility of bringing women together and helping them discover their God-given missions and live them with courage, vision and fearlessness.
While there we caught the vision of something incredible, something beautiful. We saw what God can do with righteous women who love Him and who serve in their own unique ways, exactly where they stand. We left Southern Utah excited, hopeful and full of faith.
Little did we know that when we returned to put in motion what we’d seen in vision we’d be hit with a series of challenges that would make us question our vision and test our friendships, families, and faith.
Whether the challenges were the adversary seeking to thwart our plans or the chastisement of a loving God, I cannot fully say. Perhaps a combination, but what helped me endure them was seeing them in a different way. Rather than assuming we were doing something incredible and now had targets on our backs for Satan’s archery practice, I decided to look at them as blessings. What if each trial we endured was there to teach us something valuable that we needed to know? What if the challenges would shape us into the people we needed to be to effectively help these women come April 2010?
As I began looking at my challenges in this way, I found the gems within them. Once the spiritual lesson was learned, the trial resolved itself and moved onto the next one.
As I write this, we are less than four weeks away from our event, and I have felt the need to itemize the challenges – not dwelling on the details – but listing the lessons learned from them. As I did so, I realized that I’ve gained a lifetime of knowledge in a three-month period. It would take most people years to learn these kinds of lessons in a practical, experiential way.
Here are a few of them I learned (or re-learned):
- Get to the root of problems. You could spend weeks trying to treat the symptoms whereas fixing the root could take minutes.
- When faced with a daunting challenge, avoid going straight into workaholic, production mode. Rather, step back and ask God for His perspective. Ask Him to help you get to the root.
- Avoid the quick “please help me with this” kind of prayers and have a real conversation with God about your challenge and ask for something specific you should do. Many times the solutions to monumental challenges are incredibly simple. And God knows what they are! But if you don’t take the time to consult with Him, it’s harder for Him to tell you.
- Sometimes sickness is a blessing to make you step back and look at things differently.
- Communicate specifically. Don’t assume other people understand what you’re thinking or even trying to say.
- Just because you have a hobby you love doesn’t mean you should turn it into a business.
- When you build a life around something that ends up making you miserable, don’t shift the blame to the people who helped you along the way.
- Never abdicate your responsibility to receive your own answers. Other people can be wise and spiritual and give excellent advice. But bottom line, you need to get your own answers. You will be tested later, and if you haven’t gotten your own confirmation, doubt will be a monster that plagues you..
- Everyone’s human. Looking for the good in others is a wonderful thing, but don’t put people on pedestals. No one is always following the Spirit. No one is always making the best choices. We’re all human. It’s unfair to expect perfection in others.
- Some people are never going to apologize. Forgive them anyway.
- Forgiveness has the power to erase the pain, the hurt and leave the lesson. God really can push the memory of a recent offense so far back in your mind that it feels 10 years ago and has lost its sting.
- Never stick your head in the sand and hope problems will resolve themselves. Turn and face challenges head on, get to the root and get help quickly.
- Be careful to never make other people feel that your path should be their path. Let them know they need to ask, seek, and know what’s right for them.
- What everyone else thinks is the “right” thing for you to be or do, could be the worst thing for you.
- Gratitude is a hallmark of character.
- A sign of spiritual maturity is that we celebrate, acknowledge and love each other for our unique gifts and perspectives. Celebrating and acknowledging you and what you’ve done in my life doesn’t diminish me in any way.
- The desires of our heart govern our outcomes, thus the importance of getting down to your core values, core passions and purpose. Be careful what you wish for!
- Working harder can be a curse. When you think you have to fix everything yourself by working harder, you get in workhorse blinder mode and miss the obvious, little things that could simply and elegantly make things flow.
- Just because people are around you and see your example of a principle doesn’t mean they will understand or embrace that principle. They must desire to learn and be asking the right questions.
- Putting on a façade takes a lot of energy and stress. Being authentic and willing to let people know you are human is a more energy-efficient and effective way to live. There’s more joy, more peace, and more grace.
- In the pursuit of your dream, some people will interpret the hard things you endure as evidence you shouldn’t be doing what you are doing. Just because you face hardships doesn’t mean God is telling you you’re off track. Only you can know your integrity (remember Job).
- The vision we receive of the future, rarely happens overnight.
- When we ask God for a vision, He tends to show us as far ahead as we can safely see. It doesn’t mean it will be delivered on the time table you think or want.
- Never give up. Giving up means you’ll have to start over.
- Use your brain and be practical even in the face of a big vision.
- Trust God’s timing even when it looks like His timing is making your life difficult.
- Stay focused on the positive.
- Shift out of fear the moment it rears its ugly head.
- Find ways to maintain the vision even when it looks impossible.
- One of the greatest blessings you can have is friends who believe in and work alongside you in your vision. Thank God for them every single day! They may be the greatest miracle of all.
© Copyright 2010 Marnie L Pehrson