In Pastor Terry’s inspirational book TEN, he discusses the importance of audacity and how God created us to “Be an Actor”. As a lifelong philanthropist living in East Africa, I can certainly attest to the validity of this dynamic. God did not put us on this earth simply to bide our time until we go to heaven. There is purpose to our existence.
Pastor Terry asserts, “God doesn’t come down and show up just because we have a dream and are waiting for it to materialize out of thin air. God typically chooses people who have, in some way, given Him something to work with. We have to act!”
I operate in what Pastor Terry and I refer to as “Post Modern Missions”. I often talk with missionaries struggling to raise funding or waiting to hear from God what they should do next. They are quite content to sit and wait for God to just pour his blessings out into their lap.
Pablo Picasso said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working”.
I believe God desires to find us working. He needs our work in order to bless it. When we deliberately foster our BHAG (Big Harry Audacious Goal) and actively pursue bringing it into fruition, I believe God looks down and says, “This is someone I can work with”.
God equipped us with an abundant imagination. As children, it naturally exudes from us. For a short time, society fosters this ability in us. But as we grow older, we are conditioned to believe our imagination is only an escape from reality. Somehow it has become a negative character trait. We are also taught that we are not able to do great things due to our abundant limitations.
There is a consequent pervasive belief that we should not waste our time imagining things we couldn’t ever achieve anyway. What?
This is about as asinine as deciding I no longer find speech to be a necessary aspect of my life. For some reason society has deemed imagination to be this frivolous, ethereal element that is no longer a part of a normal, respectable adult life.
Thank God I am in no danger of normality.
Can you think of anyone that did anything great that didn’t employ serious amounts of imagination, audacity, hard work and constant belief that their dream would come into fruition? MLK wasn’t exactly sitting in his armchair waiting for a revolution.
It’s a rare occasion a day passes without me saying to one of our staff or interns, “Just act as if”. I work each day with zero doubt that what I’m working towards will come into fruition. I act as if it’s already happened. My mind is already there.
As we pursue our BHAG, we struggle, overcome and gain wisdom and understanding – in that order. In my years of philanthropy, I’ve experienced a lot of what most people would refer to as failures.
However, I have learned to view them, not as failures, but as necessary steps to success. In the absence of those “failures”, I would never have gained the wisdom, character and relationship with God that is necessary for me to live the preferred future He created me for. All of this happens when I’m working, rather than sitting idly waiting on God to show up.
I believe we were all created with the capacity for greatness. I believe God expects that of us, and He’s a bit disappointed when choose to limit ourselves and just wait for a miracle.
It doesn’t just fall into our laps. The process of fostering big dreams, having faith that they will come into fruition, believing in our ability to achieve them, overcoming setbacks and an aversion to complacency are all integral elements of living the abundant life we were intended to live.
God calls us to live a purposeful life, a TEN life. And He equipped us with the tools we need to do it. We can live this life abundantly. Be inspired, believe in your dreams, and when God comes to bless you, let Him find you working.
This blog post was written for LivingTEN.com as a commentary on the book TEN, written by Pastor Terry Smith of The Life Christian Church in West Orange, New Jersey. Angaza is currently facilitating the development of a leadership curriculum and workshop series for Rwandan leaders based on the principles of TEN.