Question #4 - "What If?"
It often takes years, sometimes decades, for a disciple to really begin to have the foundation and the freedom to discern their true desires and God’s unique dreams for their vapor of a life. But this is where a person gets about the business of making a true dent in the darkness with the light of their life shining brighter and brighter as they’ve uncovered their hurt, recovered their heart, and discovered their design and destiny placed inside of them by their Creator.
It is important to be in a community of Christians, a comradery of close companions, to begin to chase after the wild and wonderful life God has put you on the planet to explore and experience. I cannot emphasize enough how crucial a communal conscience is to fulfilling your purpose in life.
Together with these intimate allies you come to understand that God didn’t create us to live a safe life, a comfortable life. There is no way to read the Bible and not notice how all the characters God used most mightily were the ones who stuck their necks out and took risks for the King and the Kingdom. They wanted to get in on the action even if it meant repeated failure. They weren’t afraid of death or defeat. They aimed high because they knew that a rich, full, deep life was found in doing great, even impossible, things for God. They believed they were meant and made for a mission with an indispensable role to play in making it happen. As people mature in their faith, they are mulling over all kinds of possibilities...“What ifs” fill their mind as they fantasize about the future. They don’t want to waste their life.
“What if I conquered that fear and took that leap of faith?”
“What if I volunteered at that homeless shelter…heck, what if I started one?”
“What if I made great wealth so that I could give all of it away?”
“What if I mentored young men without a strong father-figure in their life?”
“What if I started that business and employed over 100 people to take care of?”
“What if I memorized large portions of Scripture as an agent of God’s truth?”
“What if I created that ministry in the church that no one wants to do?”
“What if I left the comforts of America to share the gospel in a hard place?”
“What if our family sold our huge home, downsized, and invested the money in fighting trafficking?”
“What if my wife and I took 10 newlyweds under our wing and walked with them for the duration of their marriages?”
“What if I used my skills in business to start a non-profit to serve the deepest needs of the world?”
“What if I’m not alone and there are others who want the same exact thing as me to happen?”
What if God truly had all my heart? What could be possible? What do I look like at my greatest potential? These are the things that begin to dominate one’s mind as you realize that life is short and eternity is long. You dream of making God’s dreams come true using your gifts to make a difference, a consequential difference for the glory of God and the good of humanity.
But this is also where the battle heats up with counter “What ifs”.
As you sense the Spirit of God stirring up your heart to be the change you want to see in the world, and move to enact that change, you become a target of the Enemy. He doesn’t bother stationary saints; he is looking for moving targets who are tapping into their God-given potential and looking to use it to turn the world upside down. The battle ground is the mind, it’s where everything is won or lost, and if that is where all these dreams and ambitions are being birthed, he will add his own “What if” questions.
“But what if I try and fail?
“What if I take the step of faith and fall on my face?”
“What if I take the step of faith and fall on my face?”
“What if no one joins me and I look stupid?”
“What if it won’t work and it’s just a dumb dream of mine?”
“What if I say what I’m thinking and it’s shut down?”
“What if I’m just making this up and it’s not a real need?”
“What will people think and say about me?”
“What if I hurt someone along the way, which I probably will?”
“What if it’s not worth all the energy and time I put in?”
“What if I spend a lot of energy and money on something that doesn’t work?”
“What if people misinterpret my passion for pride?”
“What if it causes others around me to feel like I’m trying to make them feel guilty?”
“What if I dream big dreams and pray big prayers and somehow God doesn’t show up?”
“What if wanting more is the beginning of disillusionment and disappointment?”
You see, ‘what ifs’ go both ways, and anyone who tries to move the needle or get the ball down the field is going to be “opposed” to some degree. Sure, God offers some protection, but a good bit of this dangerous journey of dreaming requires a maturity to fight off and through the conflict and criticism, whether it’s internal or external.
But this is know, if a believer/disciple is not called beyond merely right belief and good behavior into the realm of risk and faith, peril and possibility, daring and danger, then he or she will eventually drift becoming lukewarm and idle. This feeling of only taking up space on the planet will begin to gut the point of their faith, to act boldly on God’s behalf for His great purpose of redeeming the broken world and reconciling it to Himself.
People don’t know it, but they long to join God in his pursuit of redemption and reconciliation. Worse than bad they want their lives to matter, to make a difference in something bigger than themselves, something with eternal weight. And so they dream. “What if?”…
As this life becomes more normal, and it should, the disciple will wake up nearly every morning with burning desires, wondering how to ‘actually’ do the dream. It will not be good enough to have great ideas and lofting ambitions, they will want to see these things come to pass in their lifetime or beyond their lifetime.
And the question born out of that “holy discontent” or “holy dare” each morning is quite simply, “What now?” What do I do in this moment I’m stewarded to invest myself in the realization of God’s dreams that He’s planted in my soul? This the moment of truth.