The next vital step to getting your story started is realizing the importance of not only your authorization, but also your participation. Due to spending the last decade or so of my life as a strength/conditioning coach for various sports teams, needless to say, I’ve acquired a few subconscious habits along the way. Truthfully, some of them feel like a blessing, such as patience in the process of developing people and/or their skill sets, while others feel like a curse, like being able to quickly spot weaknesses, great or small, that are leaving them exposed and easily conquered. These habits have become such an intuitive response that they seem to have a life and mind of their own, often times showing up unsolicited and unannounced (at the worst possible times, in the worst kind of way).
After multiple failed attempts in resisting their urge and trying to be someone I’m not, I’ve decided that working with them instead of against them is the better pursuit. The way I’ve done this is by making adjustments when and where necessary for the sake of preserving them as the gifts that I know they can be and were intended to be. One specific adjustment is that I’ve shifted from calling them “weaknesses” to calling them “blind spots”. Truthfully, it’s the same thing. It just seems like the greater majority of society is more receptive to (and, in turn, more easily impacted by) the one (blind spots) in lieu of the other (weaknesses). Why people would rather be called “blind” than “weak” will forever remain an enigma to me, but I’ve made the adjustment so that the ultimate goal of strengthening it and/or them can be achieved.
With all that being said, a blind spot I’ve identified that has loomed large over humanity (with Christians and churches leading the way) for quite some time has been a lack of participation with their inspirations.
Through our confessions, we’ve made Jesus the Savior of our lives and have commissioned Him as the Author of our Stories, yet, so many of our stories remain unread, untold, and unlived.
We’ve yet to realize that it’s possible to be “written in” as the main characters of our stories, yet never become the leading actors.
Again, to reiterate what was written in the previous post, a story written does not guarantee that it will be a story lived. Living in purpose requires that we learn to live on purpose – that we stop waiting and start participating.
See! God has promised to live with us, on us, in us, and through us (to the extent that we allow), but He has not promised to live for us.
This that we have been called to is a CO-mission: a partnership where the fulfillment of our stories is dependent on Him doing His part and us doing ours. His part is the inspiration. Our part is the intention. Therefore, the prophetic word, dream, or vision that He inspired you with 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago that you’ve been “waiting on Him” to bring to pass has been waiting on you to bring to process. From His perspective, waiting is not forgetting, or settling, or setting aside for a later day. Waiting is moving (see Isaiah 40:31) – it’s flying at heights that others can barely breathe in, running at a pace that most grow weary in, and walking distances that many faint in.
This is why “putting your dream on the shelf and waiting on God to bring it to pass FOR you (things I’ve been advised to do)” is a terrible idea.
Your dream wasn’t made for a shelf; it was made for you. However, its manifestation will not happen without participation. Waiting is not participating. Complaining is not participating. Praying for what God has already promised is not participating. Participating is participating. And you can begin by exercising one extremely practical, yet, powerful concept:
Dictionary.com defined the word “Practical” as:
- Of or relating to practice or action
- Consisting of, involving, or resulting from practice or action
- Engaged or experienced in actual practice or work
In a letter to his spiritual son, Timothy, Paul wrote:
Do not neglect the gift that is in you; it was given to you through prophecy, with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident (I Timothy 4:14,15 HCSB).
As a coach, “practice” is a task I understand on many different levels and what I really want you to see concerning Paul’s admonition is the ultimate aim of “practicing”: PROGRESS. We’ve all heard the ancient saying, “Practice makes perfect”. In my experience, I can tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.
Practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes prepared.
It’s all about using the present to prepare for (progress into), not wait on, the future.
What does that look like for you?
Let’s assume you feel “called” to speak or preach. The next logical step is to develop the gift. You can start “practicing” RIGHT NOW. I realize you may not have a crowd, but you do have a car and a 30-minute commute to and from work every day. Start there! Speak to yourself or to the imaginary crowd in your mind. Record it so that you can hear what you sound like. Video it to see what you look like. If you really want to be brave, then find a place where you can set up empty chairs to speak to. Prepare the same way you would “as if” the chairs actually had people in them and soon you’ll reach a day where they do.
The bottom line is this: without practice there won’t be progress and without progress the pages of our stories don’t turn. I don’t know the details of your God-scripted story – that’s for you to discover – but I have a sense that each page and chapter was written to build on the previous and the advancement into them is entirely dependent upon our own “readiness” to receive it, which is our responsibility, not God’s. The late Myles Munroe once said:
“Your destiny is chosen by God, but its fulfillment is decided by you.” Your destiny is your untold story and it is subject to your decision to get involved – to merge the premise of the character with the participation of the actor in order that the written word may become the lived truth.