My husband loves to watch “Shark Tank.” If you’ve not seen the show, here are the basics: Entrepreneurs are given the chance to go before a panel of self-made millionaires, (or “sharks”), and pitch their business. The entrepreneurs have to convince one of the sharks to invest the full amount of money in their business in return for equity in that business, or they get nothing.
It’s a pretty interesting show. The panel is full of wise men and women, people who started at the bottom and have made a name for themselves y being business smart. Sometimes the entrepreneurs have great business ideas that are invested in. Sometimes, the ideas are not so great. Some are down right stupid.
For example, recently, my husband watched an episode with a woman who pitched an online dating site. It combined the anonymity of online dating with the idea of handing out a “business card” with information on how to find your profile. There were lost of problems with her business, including the fact that over a 3 year period, she had invested $120,000 of her own money and had gone from having a good solid lifestyle to sleeping on friends’ couches to make ends meet. She was losing money every year.
Every single shark told her that her idea was not going to work and to let the idea go. One went so far as to call her “delusional.” She was so set on her business that she just couldn’t face the reality that it wasn’t working.
This got me thinking. How often do we do this in our lives? How often do we speak to God about our dreams? We have such a “great idea” about something we want to do. We keep asking God to help us, to prosper it, to give us favor, to propel us forward, to make us a success. I think we often use the “ask and you shall receive” and “he’ll give you the desires of your heart” verses for selfish reasons, when really, our dreams should glorify God. He does everything for the sake of His great name, not ours.
I went to college specifically to be in broadcast journalism and my amazing friend Amy did the same. My desire was to do sports; she wanted to do weather. She was, immediately, put into a position to start learning to be a meteorologist and did the weather live for our 5 o’clock newscast on our PBS station. The girl was good, that’s for sure!
I can’t quite remember how long she spent in that position, taking the communications classes she needed & practicing her on-air skills. Maybe a year and a half, maybe two years? And then, she decided she wasn’t going back. I was so sad that we wouldn’t be working together anymore and, for a moment, I tried to talk her out of the idea of changing her major. I remember asking her why she was quitting, and I’ll never forget her response.
“I’m doing it because I want to be famous, not because that’s what I’m called to do.”
Whoa! That took some guts to give it up after 2 years of money spent, classes taken & skills learned. She changed her major to Religion and she and her husband are now the youth directors at church.
Weather was her dream, not God’s.
I want to encourage you to stop and take a look at your dreams. Are they just yours? Or are they the dreams God has given you? Take a moment to stand before God in your own shark tank. And, if it’s of God, then take that idea & run with it, no matter how hard it gets. But if He says it’s not working, it’s too risky, it’s not something He wants to invest in, then it’s time to let it go and let Him give you a new dream.
“I once saw a large tree that had been struck by lightning many years before. The trunk was badly split and bent, but the growth of recent years was sturdy and straight. Bark had grown over much of the once-exposed heartwood, leaving the trunk misshapen but well protected. How is it, I wondered, that a tree could grow to strength and maturity around such a crippling injury?
I once knew a young man born in the inner city. His self-concept was badly scarred from parental neglect, racism, rejecting teachers, and years of failure. His values were deformed by the survival ethic of the street and by the hurt that had become a burning core of anger. I saw new growth form a protective covering over his open wounds and broken dreams. A strong new character developed, marked with unique sensitivities and perceptions. How is it, I wondered, that a young man can grow to strength and maturity around such deforming childhood experiences?
I once knew a Christian counselor whose life was marred by sin and whose character was bent toward deceitfulness. He struggled with rebellion against authority. His need for power was intertwined with his efforts to serve. He was plagued with insecurities. Spiritual and emotional growth, as well as years of socialization, largely concealed the kinks and twists at his core. But I knew how gnarled his character was, for I knew him better than anyone. How is it, I wondered, that God could use him to be a healer of others?
I have seen God take the broken, deformed things of this world, bless them with new life and sanctify them for his special purpose. From a broken tree, God provides shade in the summer. From a deeply scarred youth, he forms a person of unusual compassion and understanding, a model of hope to the disheartened of the inner city. From the twisted personality of a counselor, he shapes a healer of emotional pain and uses a rebellious nature for creative purposes.
I am reassured to know that the straightness of my grain is not a precondition of usefulness to God. And I am humbled to see that out of the twistedness of my wounds, he designs for me a special place of service.”
Excerpt From: Robert D. Lupton. “Theirs Is the Kingdom.”
God has called each of us for a purpose! Don’t let the path your life has taken slow you down but instead let God use our battle scars to His glory.
“Set your church on fire! Win this nation back! Change the atmosphere! Build your kingdom here we pray!”
The words from Rend Collective’s “Build Your Kingdom Here” have been on repeat in my heart and mind since we found out we were moving here. I think the honeymoon phase of our trip is slowly, but obviously, closing its lovely lace curtains. This week has been the most trying of the three. It will be weeks like these in the coming months that make Cole and me sit back and think, “Why are we here?” What I have learned, and will continue to be reminded, is that God’s will is nowhere near dependent on me. If I am willing, he will use me. If I am not willing, he will use someone else. My flesh desires to be entitled, to think that I play some important role in being here. I don’t. Christ in me does. When the cup called “Rachel” dumps out the filthy, contaminated water it carries, there is room for Christ’s clean, crisp, cool, purified water to fill it up so much that it overflows out of the cup and into other cups. But the nasty water MUST be gone. I desire so much to be rid of every drop of contaminated water and filled with the refreshing character of Christ.
And speaking of contamination, I got a vicious stomach bug this week, and now Cole is catching a throat thing that seems very strep-y! Lesson: whatever sickness the kids get, we will get. Sharing is caring!
In case you’d like to know, this is shaping out to be our weekly schedule at KCH:
5:00 – Lead morning devotional on Mondays and Wednesdays
Belizean Fun Fact: The Mennonites (huge population here) are just as Belizean as anyone, and their ice cream is SO GOOD.