Last year was our first year in full operation as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, and as executive director, I was full of excitement and anticipation. There were big dreams in front of us, and I just believed it would all come together. I had little room for doubt, fear, or worry, probably because I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
Now we are in year two, and I am becoming more aware of what I don’t know in leading a nonprofit. And there have been moments in the last couple of months where I have been sinking emotionally under the weight of it. I am experiencing fear and worry and doubt as we continue to stretch towards growth and big dreams. I doubt myself, and at times I doubt God. Not in who He is or what He is capable of, but that He would choose to act in a mighty way again this year. We stand holding these massive pieces to a dream He has given us, and there is so much planned for growth and development in this year. It’s beautiful, and it’s heavy. I often doubt that I’m the one capable of holding the reins of an organization. There are even moments where I tell God that He may have the wrong girl for this job description.
Recently, though God is reminding me that He views me differently. A few weeks ago, I went as a leader to our student ministry’s Winter Retreat. There are many amazing elements to a retreat weekend, and one of my favorites is what we call the Prayer Chapel. It’s an experiential opportunity for students to individually go through different stations and focus on their personal relationship with God. I love seeing students have those quiet moments, and I enjoy it for myself as well. I helped with watching several groups go through before our own small group’s scheduled time, and I also kept candles lit, items accessible, and areas picked up. It was during this volunteer time that I took notice of a part of one particular station. The whole experience was based on 1 Timothy 4:12 and focused on “setting an example in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.” So, the third station was centered on love, specifically allowing kids to show love back to God through art and music. There were intricate word sheets students could color while listening to praise and worship music. One of those words was Hope. I was excited when I saw it. Simply because I have a tendency to feel like that’s my word...Hope. So, I made a small plan in my mind to grab one of those Hope sheets when it was our group’s turn to go through the experience.
Our small group was the very last one to go into the Prayer Chapel. That meant about 145 other people went in prior to us. This also meant that by the time we made it to the Love station, all the Hope sheets were taken. There were no more Hopes left. Ugh. I was mad! I wanted a Hope sheet, I mean, that’s my word. In the middle of throwing a mental tantrum, I felt God prompting me to grab another word sheet. I looked around and saw Believe, Beloved, and Chosen. I didn’t like any of those words and just about refused to take a coloring sheet. But, God prompted me again. And this time, He gently nudged me toward the word Chosen.
“Ok, sure, fine. Whatever. I’ll take the Chosen sheet,” was basically my heart’s response. (Yes, I can have quite an attitude at times). As I sat down with that sheet and began to color it with pencils similar to Bright Side blue, God clearly spoke to me. There are not many times when I can say there were clear words from God even though He speaks on a regular basis, but this time I heard them in my heart as if He were whispering in my ear.
He said, “I have called you to deep and hard things. You are chosen.” I was stunned by that and wept over the beauty and truth my heart needed to hear.
Chosen. Even in the challenging times of being obedient and taking risks. Chosen. Even in the midst of raising a family and serving others while trying to get a nonprofit established and growing. Chosen. Because my life is for His plans. And we are all called to step forward in faith and trust even when we don’t see the answers in front of us or understand why we are chosen.
Feeling the weight of responsibility of leading is a good thing, but being crushed under that weight is not. It is not up to me to make it all come together, I just need to keep being obedient and move forward one step at a time.
A wise friend once told me that when I’m faced with hard questions that I should take a look back on previous hard questions and see how God answered those in ways I couldn’t imagine. Those questions don’t loom as large as they once did, because God moved and revealed Himself through the process. My questions today may seem overwhelming at this point, but the truth is God will remain faithful and lead and guide me through this time as He has done in the past. And, one day, the hard questions of today won’t seem so insurmountable anymore.
I am called to deep and hard things. YOU are called to deep and hard things. I am Chosen. YOU are Chosen too. Bask in the knowledge that He has planted you in your place for a reason and that He has much to show you as He has much to show me.