In the middle of the night on November 13th, Heidi couldn't be more asleep but I lay there in what felt like a cotton coffin, totally awake. I desperately wanted to sleep but I was searching for so much more….I was searching for rest. Know the difference? A tired body needs sleep but a tired soul needs rest -- I couldn't find either.
I wrote this prayer in my prayer journal:
Lord, I can't turn off my mind. It's racing with ideas, vision, moving, and fundraising. I'm pregnant with stress. My chest is tight and my body feels heavy. Do you feel that in me too? Teach me what it means that "your burden is light and your yoke is easy." Teach me. I need to learn to trust you and give my anxiety to you. Lord, I'm restless. I give you my need to be successful. I give you my need to perform well on Fresno's public stage. I give you my need to be productive to not waste our donors' money. I give you my need to control my future through strategy and technique. AmenThen I turned off the headlamp that illuminated my prayer journal, put my pen away, and prayed that morning would come soon. I must have fallen asleep shortly after…. I don't remember.
As the sun rose, I went about my daily routine -- coffee, scripture, prayer journal, and a good book. I read these words penned by a writer who has become like a friend to me. He wrote:
"Jesus wants us to tap into the generous heart of the Father.
He wants us to lose all confidence in ourselves because 'apart from me you can do nothing';
He wants us to have complete confidence in Him because 'Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit.'"
As I read those words, I thought, "Aha! In my prayer journal last night I was really praying that God would teach me how to lose confidence in myself so that I can learn to have complete confidence in Him! Jesus is teaching me how to faithfully abide!"
Paul Miller writes, "It really is faith that is at stake - the suffering is really a side issue. Just to tell Jesus what I need and leave it with him is such a struggle."
So here we are….14 days left in Canada and called to make life-long followers of Jesus by planting neighborhood focused churches across Fresno -- churches that seek the renewal of their neighborhood and city. That's the vision... but it's not what's at stake. Jesus wants me to grow in faith -- to trust him, to put my confidence in Him, and to faithfully abide, telling him what I need and leave it with him.
Vision is the easy part…it's faith that's hard.