Amy Carroll » Investing Passionately » A (True) Tale of Two Assignments

A (True) Tale of Two Assignments

Yesterday I was faced with two assignments.

The first one takes my breath away. It’s the fulfillment (seriously? already? my word for the year?) of a dream God planted in my heart when I was twelve. It makes my heart beat fast, and if I could, I’d spend every waking minute working on it.

Though the decades-long waiting period sometimes deferred hope and made my heart sick (Prov. 13:12), the fast forward progress makes my heart leap… and sing… and boogie!!

Today I was talking to Lisa Allen, a leader and friend, and honestly, I almost couldn’t talk without hyperventilating. The words gushed out of my mouth a hundred miles an hour, a flood of excitement and praise. My exuberance made her giggle a little, and she shared some wisdom she dispensed to a crowd last weekend. “Amy,” she said, “your true calling is what makes you get up and keep working even when you’re tired. Your true calling is what you’d do even if you won the lottery!”

She’s so right. This assignment isn’t just a best yes. It’s a baton-down-the-hatches-because-she’s-about-to-explode-with-joy yes!! (Here’s where I have to leave you hanging, but I promise I’ll let you in on it soon. I know. That’s not nice!)

But then along came my second assignment of the day. It’s not at all the same.

I dread it.

I’d like to avoid it.

It’s 20,000 leagues out of my comfort zone.

If I won the lottery (Since I don’t buy tickets, I technically can’t, but just hypothetically…), I’d pack up my friends and family, sail far away, and would refuse this assignment.

Because I’m clearly NOT excited about the second job, does that mean it’s not an assignment from God? Because I can’t muster up one ounce of enthusiasm for it, does that mean I should say “no”?

I’ve been reading Exodus with First 5, and from where I sit, Moses’ assignment looks even worse than my second assignment. He had to deal with difficult people and the fallout of sin. He had to manage disaster and convince others that the hard things were the things God wanted them to do. Moses had to say what God told him even when nobody wanted to hear it, and finally he led a stiff-necked multitude into the desert for more of the same. Why did he say “yes” if he wasn’t stoked about it?

Because it brought him closer to the presence of God.

Because he was part of a story bigger than himself.

Because it was an act of service.

Because it was a service of love.

Because it was the right thing to do, and he was the one God gave to do it.

Recently I read a Christian leader on social networks say that we should only say “yes” if it’s an enthusiastic yes. If it’s an emphatic “yes”. If it’s an excited “yes”. I love this leader, but I beg to disagree. For my second assignment, I’m called to say “yes” even though every piece of me screams to say “no”. Why? Well, because:

Obedience always brings us closer to the presence of God.

We’re all part of a story bigger than ourselves.

It’s an act of service.

It’s a service of love.

It’s the right thing to do, and I’m the one God has given to do it.

What’s your assignment today? Is it a bursting-with-joy version or a hang-on-tight one? I’d love to pray for you if you leave it in the comments. (Note: For confidentiality purposes, you’re allowed to be as vague as I’ve been. God knows the details, and I understand.)

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There are only a few weeks left to download the Leader’s Guide for Breaking Up with Perfect for free! After Feb. 6, the Leader’s Guide and these videos that are now available to you will go on sale.

I’m having so much fun making Teaching Tips for Teachers each week as I’m teaching a small group in my own church. Filming the videos while I go through it myself is keeping the tips highly practical. Here are the links in case you missed last week or if you subscribe.

Teaching Tips for Teachers–Week 1

Teaching Tips for Teachers–Week 2 (or watch below)

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15 Comments

  1. Perfect love casts out all fear

  2. Perfect love casts out fear! God is Love. Thank you.

  3. Lorelei Lanyon says:

    I to have a dream, a vision if you will. God has shown it to me some time ago. A lot has happened since then & at one point I thought he had changed his mind. I love to mentor, coach if you will. I have quite the history..everything from prison, addiction to homelessness. If there is even 1 thing that I could share with someone experiencing those things in their own life right now to encourage them, give them hope or guide them in a better direction..That is my life’s mission. To heal the broken-hearted. I remember how it felt to be in those situations & just to have a friendly face filled with love & encouragement would have really made a difference for me.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Lorelei, I so believe that “healing the broken-hearted” is your call and part of the redeeming of your own story. Powerful, beautiful stuff!

  4. Hi, Amy! This is my first time reading one of your articles. You are truly a blessing and have such wisdom; giving what is obviously lots of forethought to what (and how) you want to say what the Lord has given you to speak of. Thank you.
    Although I haven’t always lived my life as such, I’ve been a Christian since just before my 19th birthday. At present, I’m 60. I’ve read my Bible through more than 20 times. I could tell you lots of times when I’ve seen the hand of God in my life. Most recently being 1.5 yrs ago when I had 2 aneurysms burst at the same time. After major brain surgery and 2 wks. in the hospital, I came back home. I’ve since had a 2nd brain surgery, 6 aneurysms in all. God saved me from them, that’s all I can say. Needless to say I surprised the doctors and my family and friends by surviving the first time. When members of my family were at the hospital, they mentioned to me that everyone had thought that I wasn’t going to make it bc of the stroke I’d suffered. Still groggy from the medication, I immediately told her that I made it through bc God wasn’t finished with me, yet. That’s so very true!
    Thanks, again, for such a loving article. I’m going to be following through with watching for your “letters” to us, your listeners.

  5. Okay, I’m DYING to know that EXCITING assignment! And I’m thrilled that God has put something on your plate that will make you dance with delight. Loved the truth you shared here today, Amy. I needed that reminder that obedience quite simply is reason enough for the “yes” when God asks. Can’t wait to join you in some serious praise as you fulfill your exciting yes:)

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Thank you, sweet friend!! I don’t think it will be long, and I can’t wait for the wild dance party! 🙂

  6. Mary McCauley says:

    I am excited to hear about your joy in the new adventure. I feel more like Moses most of the time, why me Lord? I am not the one who is capable of this! Yep, that’s how I feel when faced with many of the things I have to do. Yet I know that God has a plan, a purpose and if these are to be done, well right now they fall on me, and in HIS strength I can do them. At 65 I am still struggling with God’s purpose and feeling useful in the season and place in life I am currently placed. Yet I know God is here, and if I keep my focus on HIM, choose gratitude as an attitude, lean into Him, I can enjoy the journey, filled with surprise gifts and blessings. May God bless you as you listen and obey! that is my motto. Listen and obey.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Mary, I love your motto! It made me laugh, because that’s exactly what I used to say to my boys when they were little. After reading what you wrote, I hear my Father saying it to me!

      Right now I’m reading the manuscript for Suzie Eller’s next book called Come With Me. It’s the most wonderful and challenging book I’ve read for awhile. In it, she encourages us to be the 13th disciple, and it addresses so much of what I wrote about and you commented. Can’t wait to share it with everyone when it’s released!

  7. Amy, I’m excited that you have the exciting assignment! And I totally agree with you. Some assignments hurt, are not pleasant. Yet, like Jesus, who for the joy set before Him, despising the shame…, we follow our Shepherd. I think that is why Jesus didn’t ask Peter if he loved the sheep. He asked him, “Do you love Me?” We accept some assignments because love them. We accept others because we love Him!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Debbie, your insights never cease to amaze and inspire me. Your tie-in to Peter and last 2 sentences are PROFOUND! I hope everybody reads the comments, and I may just have to quote you in next week’s blog post. Love you, friend.

  8. Sheryl Gasser says:

    Amy, I love the way you write. I can just see you in each of these circumstances since hearing and watching you speak in October. Goodness–you have me hanging. Don’t keep me here long. Right now, learning to live on a different continent is my assignment and some days are better than others. Yesterday and today were “others”. Thanks for praying for me.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Sheryl, you’ve said yes on a whole different level than most of us do! I have the utmost respect for you. For any of you who are reading the comments, Sheryl and her husband have left a very comfortable American life to give their lives in Africa. I’m definitely praying for you as Africa becomes your new home. (And praying our paths will cross again on another continent!!)

  9. Amy,

    Those exciting opportunities that put us over the moon can be an easy yes. But you’re right, I’ve always felt in my gut that some things we do b/c we need to. I’m not sure I felt called to work in the nursery when my kids were little, but as a mom with littles, it was my delight and responsibility to take a turn. Course, every church is different, but there are clearly some yeses that are pure obedience to God.

    And now I can’t wait to know about fulfilled dream! Eek!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Thanks, Lisa! I can’t wait to share!! I’m with you. “Duty” is a word that we don’t use much any more, and it’s come to have almost a negative connotation. What would have happened if The Greatest Generation had felt the same way about duty? If I only said yes to what appeals to me, I’d lay around in my pjs all day eating cupcakes and watching reruns of Family Ties! (Just kidding. Kinda.)