Things got a bit ‘Mastermind’ at our house the other evenin’. I don’t mean I was put in the spotlight in the big black chair and given a limited amount of time to answer questions on my specialist subject, though, I reckon, ‘What are we doing today?’, ‘What will we be doing tomorrow?’, ‘What’s for dinner?’ and ‘Why?’ should probably all be areas in which I am a potential expert 😉 In this case though, my ‘Mastermind’ moment was more of the ‘I’ve started so I’ll finish’ kind.
When we painted the playhouse (i.e. place where mummy gets less mad when sand is carried through a door and spilled than through other doors that have been attempted) last year, I always wanted something to just finish it off, you know what I mean? (Cue the husband eye rolls and furrowed brow of confusion). Having tried a couple of ideas, nothing was quite working for me, until I happened to see a wee house a bit like ours wth gorgeous coloured lights and so, the idea was born/ stolen (delete as you feel is necessary, though, initiation is the highest form of flattery, right?).
Now, I struggle with two conflicting issues: 1. Impatience. (When do I want it? Yesterday or maybe the day before would be good). 2. Getting around to it. (Yes, I really want it done, but something keeps getting in the way and it’ll probably take ages anyway … if you follow us on Instagram, you’ll probably see this when my decoration plans are still nothing more than that in another year!).
Well, with my better half kindly making dinner for us, I decided the time had come and so, the assembly of the lights which have been sitting in the cupboard for weeks and was started about a month ago, was taken in hand and completed and so, it was time to hang the lights. ‘It’s Christmas!’ our youngest declared. Followed by, ‘Pretend it’s Christmas’, when I tried to set her straight – sometimes, you just gotta run with it!
Balancing pins, by now tangled lights and myself on a less than sturdy chair was not probably my finest moment, but things were set to get more interesting for, in a weather better suited to Christmas, though all too real in August too, it started to rain. We’re always told that we shouldn’t say one thing and do another when trying to set children an example, so, what good my ‘Go in or you’ll get wet!’ cries we’re going to do as I did my circus audition in the rain, I’m not sure.
I considered stopping; the lights were assembled, I knew what I wanted to do with them, but, I couldn’t help thinking how ridiculously long it had taken me to get this far and so, ‘I’ve started so I’ll finish’, became my silent mantra. It dried up (after I’d finished, obviously) and, I went in to enjoy dinner, pleased that 1. I hadn’t had to cook it (ALWAYS a winner!) and 2. The thing I’d be wanting to do for a while had actually been done!
Do I think running around in the rain is something we should all be doing? Probably not. But, despite really wanting to stop when things weren’t going the way I wanted them to, I was so, so glad that I had kept going. When we hit a wall in life, whatever that might be, it can be so easy to give up, to step back and decide we need a break and, sometimes, that is just what we need to do. But, there are other times, times when we know only too well that the thing we need to do most is keep going, even though it seems like the hardest choice.
Much like rain when you least want it, fear and anxieties can pour down on us and make us feel that we’d be better walking away. That there’s someone better suited than us. Someone more able. Someone more ‘perfect’. Someone more qualified. But that’s where we underestimate God. He made us, He knows every detail of us, He has a plan for us that fits no one else and He does not want us to fear or feel inadequate.
That’s doesn’t mean that we won’t get frightened or have doubts – being human creates those moments for us – but those moments do not have to control us. The wee chorus reminds us: ‘God is bigger than all my problems, bigger than everything…’ I believe that there are times when God places something on our hearts, something that won’t go away and, I believe that as we seek His will, He will show us a way forward or, make it clear that we need to step away. But one thing is for sure, if there is something’s that God is calling you to do, or something that He wants you to continue doing, He won’t expect you to do it in your own strength and He doesn’t expect us to be perfect, even though so often we seem to see this as a kind of necessary requirement.
Looking at the story of Rahab recently, I was really humbled. It’s so easy to expect God to use only people who match a particular kind of ‘perfect’ criteria. And yet, her lifestyle was anything but commendable. But God was still able to use her. Or, what about Jonah? He knew exactly what God wanted him to do, but because he felt the people didn’t deserve to hear, he chose to run away and then, despite being saved from drowning, he got grumpy because God is loving and gracious. But God used him too.
It is incredibly easy to look around us and see people and situations as very black and white; right and wrong can seem so clear when we’re standing on our soapboxes, but the fact of the matter is, we are all in need of grace and none of us is more worthy or deserving than another. We might not be as ‘socially unacceptable’ as Rahab. We might even side with Jonah and wonder why an individual or group of people else should be shown love and forgiveness, but, here’s the thing: we don’t see as God sees. He look on us all with eyes of grace. There’s a reason why John Newtown called it ‘amazing’.
We need to remember that we all start from a point of need and, while none of us is more or less deserving of grace than another, neither is any of us any less able than another to act when God has something He wants us to. Moses was called by God, but he made his excuses. He couldn’t speak. Yet, it was he that God would use to lead the Israelites and deliver the Ten Commandments. How was this possible? Because God saw something in Moses (the murderer), that he didn’t see in himself. Moses questioned his suitability in Exodus 3 and 4, but for every doubt, God had a solution. His promise to Moses in Exodus 3 verse 12 is still the same for us: ‘I will be with you.’
We see life like the hashtag: #fromwhereistand, but God sees this moment you’re standing in from the perspective of eternity and all – seeing, all – knowning eyes.
We doubt and fear and question our own abilities, but that’s the amazing thing: We’re not asked to act in our own abilities. It’s been said:’ God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called’ (1 Corinthians 1 v 27 – 29). Don’t rule yourself out because you’re not good enough. If we were to wait for a perfect person to step up, we’d have a long wait.
If God has put it on your heart to act, no matter how big or small that act may be, don’t let doubts or fears rule you out. In His strength, God will enable us to serve Him. In spite of our shortcomings. The God who turned the staff into a snake, made water come from a rock, sent a fish to swallow a grumpy, reluctant man from drowning and used these people in spite of their failings, can use you. Don’t underestimate God – and let’s face it, we do it so easily. Instead, trusting in His guidance and provision, shield yourself away from fear and doubt, under the umbrella of His faithful promises.
The wee house could exist without the lights. It did before and, more than likely, it will again at some point. They’re not all hanging in perfect symmetry with the most ideal fixings, but they are there and they make a difference. Looking out in a dull day, it’s nice to spy the little smile of colour that they bring.
We don’t need to concern ourselves with having everything carefully lined up, with getting it all right all the time or about being perfectly equipped. God made us all completly unique individuals because He has a purpose that only we as individuals can fulfill. There’s a colour that only we can bring to this world that no one else can, however big or small, how open or secret that may be, always remember that. So, no matter what doubts or fears may be raining down on you, if there’s a God-given purpose on your heart, then do a ‘Mastermind.’
Don’t wait for perfect timing, perfect circumstances or perfect people. Instead, trust a perfect God to carry out His perfect plan. Whatever you do, remember that you don’t do it alone. Philippians 1 verse 6 is such an encouragement in reminding us that, ‘He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.’ He’s started and He’s promised that He’ll finish. Maybe that’s what you need to do too.