Happy New Year!
I have to confess. Some years I drag into the new year. I’m not a big resolutions person anyway, but I’ve faced some years in the past with a “Why bother?” attitude. The alarm clock looked like the enemy as the break ended, and I dreaded the return to routine.
This year, however, I’m feeling excited and energized by a fresh start. There are new adventures on the horizon this year, and I can’t wait to gallop toward them. This is a very accurate visual of how I’m feeling at the beginning of 2015.
I think one of the reasons I’m so hyped up is that a couple of these new adventures have been “inspired risks”, a term I used in this devotion. What’s an inspired risk? It’s a step that seems risky because of my own limitations, but it’s actually the safest place to be since it was born in the heart of God.
In the comments section of the devotion, I was incredibly motivated by several women who shared stories of the fruit of their inspired risks. These stories filled my heart with hope for the results of my own leaps of faith. In the midst of these stories, Drew asked an incredibly thoughtful and insightful question about inspired risks…
How do we know if its God-inspired or self-desired?
It’s so important to know and remind ourselves of the answer to this question. Too often our leaps into risk are simply a reaction to our feelings or “following our heart”. The problem with that method of weighing risk is this truth: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9 NIV) Too often we follow our heart into relational disasters, financial ruin, or career failures.
How can we know the difference between self-desired risk, which is a bad idea, and inspired risk, which is a God-adventure we don’t want to miss?
This is a checklist I’ve put together from listening to wiser friends:
1. It must be consistent with scripture.This is a deal-breaker. If our next move violates the Bible in any way, it’s not God’s will. Sometimes when I’m not sure, I’ll ask someone who I trust to have a deep, comprehensive knowledge of scripture like my pastor or a mentor. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 3:16-17 NIV)
2. It’s confirmed through circumstances and wise friends/mentors. Although this might not happen immediately, without confirmation I always start to hold my motivations to the light. If circumstances aren’t falling into place, it may just indicate that God has given a vision with a wait. Just this year, God has opened a door that I’ve longed for since I was in my 20s. I can’t wait to tell you more about it as it unfolds!
Here’s a huge caveat as you approach others for advice. I’m very careful not to pull the “God-card” with people who I trust to advise me, and I absolutely hate it when people do it to me. When we lead with “God told me to…”, what are others supposed to say? It shuts advisers down, and you can’t get true feedback in a setting where the “God-card” has been played. Instead, I try to open with “I’m trying to make a decision, and I want to hear your thoughts and wisdom.” There will always be naysayers to inspired risks, but cultivating truth-telling friends and mentors in our lives gives us people we can turn to for trusted counsel. “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22)
3. It’s a task bigger than what you would have dreamed yourself. Almost always, God uses our gifts but calls us to what seems impossible. This is a point that Lysa TerKeurst makes in her book What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, and it’s one I love. Feel like you can’t do it on your own? Good. Think you need more equipping than you have? Excellent. Scared you’ll fail? Even better. These are the circumstances in which God shows up and shows off.
[Tweet “Our short-comings are the fertile ground for God’s undeniable power and glory.”]
So weigh that leap of faith you’re considering. How does it line up with these checklist?