2017 is drawing to close which serves as a perfect time to reflect. While this hasn’t been a bad year, per se, it has been challenging, disappointing and frustrating for me personally. The year began with such promise! I was working with a literary agent, my calendar was full of speaking engagements across the country, and I had clear goals to accomplish.
However, over the first seven months of the year, everything about my writing and speaking ministry seemed to change direction. My agent dumped me; my 2018 speaking engagements are (so far) slim, and, overall, I’m feeling uninspired and unable to produce much content. I have struggled with feeling as if the Lord was snatching away all of my dreams.
Overall, this year has been humbling and hard.
As I grapple with these changes, the Lord keeps reminding me of a promise for us all found in Ephesians 3:20-21,
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Honestly, I ask and imagine a lot. I have always been a big dreamer with high aspirations. So, at first, this Bible verse stung more than it encouraged. I couldn’t help but wonder why God wasn’t doing immeasurably more than I could ask or imagine for myself and this ministry. And that’s when I felt the Holy Spirit say,
“Immeasurably more doesn’t always mean grander.”
I was interpreting this verse to mean that God will take my ministry farther than I dreamed it would go. And, He certainly has! Nine years ago I never imagined being a Christain speaker and blogger. However, my dreams have grown with this ministry, and now that God seems to be changing things, I’m struggling to accept the new (smaller) scope.
This is where faith comes in.
God can do immeasurably more than I ask or imagine, but I must remember that “immeasurably more” might look like a whole lot less. Remember the words of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah,
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. ~Isaiah 55:8-9
And the reality that many of whom God calls are not wise or from noble birth, but are just average people who surrender their lives to Him (see 1 Corinthians 1:26-28). Plans I make for myself are worthless and in vain. Psalm 33:10-11 is strangely comforting in this season,
The Lord nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation (Emphasis mine).
If God is decreasing my ministry, I must accept that as being more. It may look different than what I desire, but if it is where God wants me, I don’t want to be anywhere else.
How as 2017 for you? What big dream or plans do you have for 2018? Let’s be women who trust and believe — without bitterness or demands — that He will be faithful to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine. Not because of anything we do, but because of His power that is at work within us. And even if His plans don’t look like what we envisioned for ourselves, He will still get all the glory now and always.
Blessings on Your New Year!