Written by Amanda

8/22/2017

When You Are Wondering What God Can Do With Your Life


Five years back, I got on a plane and flew to the other side of the country so I could attend a blogging/writing conference. I went with big dreams and a hope that God would take my desire to write and make much of it.

On one of the last nights of the conference, I went down to the hotel lobby to be alone. I picked up the book I was in the middle of reading—Anything, by Jennie Allen. It is about what happens when you pray big prayers: God, I will do anything. As I sat reading in the lobby, I felt moved to pray that same prayer, and I meant it. But deep-down in my heart of hearts I probably hoped that the answer to my prayer would be that my writing talent would be discovered, and I would write books that would change lives.

God answered my prayer like He often answers prayers: how we least expect it.

As I sat, I knew—like knew-knew deep down in my knowing place—that God was asking me to walk to the pub down the street. My heart beat quickly. Surely I had misheard the Lord. Surely my imagination was running wild. Surely God knew that I had never been to a pub and that this was a Christian writing conference where I could be judged for such a thing.

I couldn’t shake it though. I wanted to ignore it, pretend I hadn’t heard, and find something else to do in hopes that God would change His mind.

I wish I could tell you what a simultaneously humble and marvelously obedient Christ-follower I am. I’m not. I could give you an embarrassingly long list of times I tuned out that quiet voice, but those don’t make for interesting stories. The best stories are the ones we live when we are curious enough to follow Christ wherever He leads.

I wonder if that’s where all faith starts, as curiosity? As much as I was scared of what would happen, I was curious to find out if I was really hearing God’s voice and what God meant to do if I exited those hotel doors and walked towards a pub.

So I did.

Would you like to hear what happened?

My path crossed with a perfect stranger whose accent I recognized from my days of working at a missionary headquarters. We exchanged names and our connection to the little country of Côte d’Ivoire.

As I began talking with him, I knew I was meant to bring Jesus into that conversation. I did it the only way an introvert who stinks at small-talk knows how: abruptly. Um, do you know who Jesus is?

He didn’t. So, I shared the gospel and my testimony with a shaky voice cut through with my overusage of “like” “totally” and “um”. It wasn’t even close to perfect. I kept waiting for him to laugh and say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” I couldn’t figure how it was “working.”

On a Friday evening in downtown Harrisburg, a white housewife placed her trembling hand on the shoulder of an African college student, and with bowed heads and a simple prayer, they confessed they were sinners and professed Jesus Christ as their Savior.

I’m still not sure how it worked.

I only know it had very little to do with me.

————–

Perhaps there is quite a lot we could say when we look at the first two verses of the book of Jonah. About how the word came down, or about who Jonah is, or about the kind of city Nineveh was. I just want to look at the first two words of verse two: “Arise, go…”

He moves us as He wills to do His Will. It has very little to do with us and everything to do with who God is.

I keep a post-it note above my desk to remind me how I want to live: “The question isn’t who are you, but who is HE.”

If we are to be the kind of people who live out the Great Commission—the big “Arise and go” of the New Testament—Go ye therefore—we would do well to think far less about ourselves, psycho-analyzing our gifts and talents and what we want out of life and comparing all that to everyone else around us. All we have is to pray simple prayers of faith: God, I will do anything, because there is nothing You cannot do.

The truth is, there are only a small handful of times in my life similar to my encounter in Harrisburg. Most of the time my “arise and go” looks quite simple because it’s where I already am. I have three kids who call me mom, a husband, a dog, neighbors and grocery store errands. I often vacillate between feeling restless and feeling like I’m doing a terrible job at all of it (and surely God meant to pick a far more patient person to mother these kids). Everyday, especially the ordinary ones, I have to remember to arise and go where I am sent, even if it’s just downstairs to scramble eggs and brush hair and pray over boo-boos. It’s not about me—not really; it’s about Him. It’s about who He is and what He can do. And He uses every scrap of our obedience—from telling a perfect stranger about Jesus to everyday acts of small faithfulness.

I heard Jill Briscoe at this year’s If:Gathering say this about the Will of God for our lives: “You go where you’re sent, you stay where you’re put, and you give what you’ve got until you’re done.”

It really is that simple. For the times we don’t get that knowing we’re meant to walk down the street to the pub; for the much harder everyday living that sometimes feels more like groping in the dark—when it comes to knowing the will of God for your life: You go where you’re sent, you stay where you’re put, and you give what you’ve got until you’re done. And you never lose your sense of curious wonder over who God is and what He can do—even through you.

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Amanda is a law enforcement wife and a homeschooling mom to three. Her family has called Reality Church of Stockton home for three years. When Amanda’s not pulling her toddler off the bookshelf or explaining to picky eaters why vegetables need to be eaten, she enjoys iced lattes, bird watching, and deep conversations. She lives clinging to the hope she has in Christ that in spite of all her short-comings, she shall be called an overcomer yet. You can also find her writing her broken stories on her blog at Amanda Conquers.