By Lindsay Hart
Five years ago, my only prayer was for God to use me. I was feeling utterly useless. My husband and I were struggling to make ends meet and keep our marriage together as we waited for the arrival of our second surprise baby. We prayed for God to lead us down a new path, and we promised to follow in return. Almost immediately, he answered our prayer with an opportunity to move. We relocated from our hometown in West Tennessee to Upstate South Carolina with only a couple hundred dollars and completely surrendered hearts. Although the uncertainty was disheartening at first, our new life purpose was soon revealed.
Everything seemed to fall into place. Over the next four years, we were abundantly blessed with perfect jobs, a beautiful house, and an amazing church family. God answered our prayers favorably. The peace in our new home trumped the struggles we had experienced. Since we allowed ourselves to be completely vulnerable and obedient to the Lord, we felt like we were on the right path.
We were back in control. Or so we thought.
One Sunday, as I listened to our preacher give a sermon on boldness, anxiety and fear engulfed me. I felt it coming; he was about to ask me to be bold. The thought of God asking me to be completely vulnerable again left me sweaty-palmed and white-knuckled. I began an internal dialogue that went something like this: Please no, God. We have done so much for you and we just got comfortable. May I please sit this one out?
Then I heard it loud and clear, that still, small voice the Bible talks about saying to me, “Quit your job, focus on your family, and write a book.” I begged it to take back the words. Although it was tempting to give an immediate yes, it was more tempting to keep teaching first graders. Teaching was in my comfort zone. It was the career I spent years preparing for and had spent the last seven years doing. Now God was asking me to give it up. Why? What would people think?
After years of barely getting by, we could finally say we were “financially stable.” Sacrificing my paycheck did not sound appealing in the least. The time with my children sounded great, but writing a book sounded terrifying. Doubt slowly consumed me. The excitement of saying yes quickly turned into fear.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isa. 41:10 NIV).
Instead of ignoring what God had undoubtedly asked me to do, I embraced it with a surrendered heart. My husband and I prayed for wisdom as we budgeted for the substantial decrease in income. Feeling financially insecure only intensified my feeling of vulnerability. I could not imagine how we would manage, but I knew God would make good on his promise to take care of us. He always does.
Then he laid these words on my heart:
God uses his most vulnerable children to do his most honorable work. Our weaknesses allow God to demonstrate his strength.
The Bible says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
These verses give me hope in my weak, vulnerable moments. His agenda is more imperative than our own. He does not promise to make us comfortable but He does promise to never leave or forsake us. Being vulnerable to people’s opinions and our own agendas only yield small-minded goals for our lives. Being vulnerable to God’s vision and agenda produces big dreams that reward us more than we could ever ask or imagine.
Are our plans ever better than God’s plans? Absolutely not.
Lindsay Hart is a wife, mother of two, and elementary school teacher. She is on a mission to obey God doing whatever it takes to follow His commands in her life. Her obedience led to life changes such as taking time off work to focus on her family. Lindsay enjoys sharing her “God stories” and helping people grow closer to Christ. She blogs at lovedfirstbygod.wordpress.com.
Photograph © Bethany Beams, used with permission