New vision comes to us like a gentle breeze or a gusty wind. Either way, it’s refreshing and stimulating. We survey the new territory God’s calling us to and picture the positive outcomes – more people served and more lives transformed. All is well until we reach a valley filled with a chilling fog of fear and doubt. Warding off negative thoughts and making steady progress equipped with God’s truth is a leadership trait worth developing.
When God laid out new territory for our ministry, we were jazzed. It readily aligned with our core mission and we could see how He’d been preparing us for it for years. Enter the father of lies and his “What if?” questions. Mine went something like this:
1) What if we have a hard time raising the money for the new territory?
2) What if, despite careful projections, it costs more than we planned?
3) What if our vision isn’t as successful as we hoped?
4) What if it takes far more time than we pictured?
5) What if my contribution to the expansion lacks luster?
When you’ve done your praying, your discerning, and your planning, and you’re still in the fog of fear and doubt – it’s time to saturate your mind with the light of God’s truth. Think on “What is” instead of “What if?”
1) And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). God isn’t obligated to fulfill your budget, but He will supply everything you need. If you come up short, He’ll either provide the money at a later point or alter the scope or timing of your expansion. The new territory is His. Trust Him with it.
2) The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps (Proverbs 16:9). Be wise in your financial projections and track expenses closely – but keep following God in faith as you advance. Be careful to only incur legitimate additional expenses, and then share them with supporters and wait for God’s provision.
3) Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word (Proverbs 16:1). Sure, we desire to succeed in reaching more people and seeing lives changed. But let’s release our plans to God, knowing He’ll bring forth what He desires. He calls us to faithfulness, not our version of success.
4) Listen carefully, those of you who make your plans and say, “We are traveling to this city in the next few days. We’ll stay there for one year while our business explodes and revenue is up.” It would be best to say, “If it is the Lord’s will and we live long enough, we hope to do this project or pursue that dream” (James 4:13 & 15). God is sovereign, and He’s not wearing a wristwatch. Let’s work diligently and release the timing to Him.
5) He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24). From beginning to end, the project you’re responsible for is God’s. He’s the originator of the idea, He called you to do it, He equips you, and He’ll accomplish it through you. The pressure and the spotlight are on Him.
Faith envisions God succeeding. Fear envisions man failing. Both envision. Both peer into the future and imagine. But faith has God triumphing on center stage. And fear has man flopping royally and publicly. It really comes down to who we’re focused on and whose image we’re most concerned about. Let’s focus on God and move forward in faith.
The best way to take the terror out of new territory is to take God’s truth into your heart.
“The best way to take the terror out of new territory is to take God’s truth into your heart.”- Lisa Hosler
When you face new territory, how has God helped you overcome fear and doubt? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.