Today I ran a photo contest on social media to brainstorm the title of this new photo. I actually created it late last night when it was dark and I didn't feel like going to bed yet! I had a few ideas of what it could be, so I asked my social friends to give their feedback. The two winners chosen were the titles “Beginning” and “Equipped,” which I'll combine to entitle it, “Equipped for a New Beginning.” Seeing that today is Rosh Hashannah, the Jewish New Year, I think it's a great reminder that God is equipping us for the new season!
Here's to new beginnings and a fresh season (and decade) to explore more of God's plans and creative callings for our lives! I love how Scripture reminds us that God's GRACE is what equips us, not anything that we can or have to muster up in our own strength. We simply receive the Father's gift of love that's already been paid for by Jesus.
He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
2 Timothy 1:9
No matter what kind of season we've just come through (good, bad, or simply busy!), we can always "reset" and trust God's grace for the new season ahead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, open my eyes to what You have given me, and show me how to apply it for the season ahead!
Recently I was faced with a leadership challenge that caused my heart to mumble, If I only had...
Maybe you can fill in the blank: if I only had more funding, people, resources, time, space... then I'd be able to accomplish my goals and see my dreams become reality. In my moment of frustration, I heard the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit say, Use what you have. I took a quick breath and adjusted my perspective: I don't have to have MORE, I reminded myself, I just need eyes to see what I already HAVE and build the skills and wisdom to utilize it well. I realized that God was not wanting to give me more, but to help me see how to be faithful with what I had the moment.
What you have, combined with the Holy Spirit's anointing and God's provision, is always enough for the next step. Jesus always used items within His reach to meet the need and spread God's love: five loaves and two fish, a coin from a fish's mouth, and a mud for a blind man's eyes. Sometimes He borrowed things, like a boat to preach from or a donkey to ride on, to add to His story. He changed the world with 12 men and amazing stories that still apply to our world today. Jesus used what He had and leaned on God's provision for the rest, always following the Father at each step.
In my creative journey, I've discovered that God gets so much glory from multiplying the “little” we have in resources to do much for His Kingdom. When we are faithful to use what He gives, it's amazing how anointed creativity accomplishes far more than having a big budget. Recently I was showing my film “Thin Places” about the Celtic saints in Ireland and Scotland, and people began to say,
“This looks like a million dollar budget film, and it's hard to believe that Rebecca isn't Irish because she's telling the story of our history so clearly!”
Inwardly, I laughed, because I knew I'd filmed the whole project with 2, well-used DSLR cameras and worked with 4 drone pilots to get the footage. Only one of the pilots were professional, and everyone else in the film were volunteers I'd dressed up in robes and put dirt on their faces to create the LOTR look I hoped would work for my audience. Some of the robes I'd created from wool blankets I'd found in a wardrobe, and others were crafted from heavy woolen blankets I found at a Army/Navy supply story. (It can be tough to find heavy woolen fabric!) When filming on beaches in Scotland, people constantly asked,
“Are you filming for Outlander or Star Wars?” It was pretty funny.
Partner all that with the fact that I can be pretty resourceful, but I sometimes need extra grace to balance everything that goes on in my brain... hoping people are up for the adventure as they come along with me to do something creative... like stand in a river, walk through a swamp, or climb a mountain with a bunch of chain mail and armor. I'm so grateful for friends who help me tell these stories! Somewhere along the way, the Holy Spirit infuses an authenticity and relevance into the projects we create with Him.
So what is your dream? What can you do to take the next step? Sometimes God brings a huge moment to launch us into our dreams, but most often it's the intentional steps forward that gain the most traction and bring us toward our goals. You can watch God move, one step at a time!
Prayer: Lord, is there a dream that You've placed on my heart for this season? What is the next step I can take in moving forward, using what I have, to accomplish that goal? Are there people in my life who will come along for this journey?
The last month has been a fantastic blur of colorful experiences in Ireland and Scotland while touring my new film Thin Places: Stories of Celtic Community and Extraordinary Faith. While the scenery was wonderful and the weather reasonably nice (although I did lead worship outdoors in the rain several times!), the true beauty of the trip was getting to draw a bit closer to the people who live there. Sitting with old and new friends over tea and good conversation was simply a delight! I fell in love with Irish sarcasm and old stories. :-)
Only a crazy person would go to another country and tell people about their history-- and I felt a bit silly as an American telling the Celts who they are and what they carry. My Irish friends were a bit shocked when I took them to museums they'd never been to and hills where the angels still camped, telling them that the Celtic Church is often considered the closest to the first century church that we have on record. No one teaches Celtic church history in schools, so they were dumbfounded and I felt a bit shy. After we had a good, hard laugh at ourselves, we were amazed at what God was revealing. They marveled at their history, and I marveled how God was revealing a message for today from the ancient past. We listened and learned from each other.
If we approach life as eternal students, God can use the stuff from every day life to build our wings. Maybe the story that will change your life is inside the person next to you. Or perhaps the next book you pick up will give you the needed “next steps” for your journey. There's always a chance that God may send you around the world to listen, learn, and even tell a story that touches others (– He's funny about things like that!). The stories we hear change us... the stories we tell change the world.
I challenge you to become a good listener, cultivate great conversations (and good tea), and discover the gold in those around you that will build your wings for the next flight. And learn to tell good stories... this world needs more bold, crazy people who partner with the Holy Spirit and craft captivating tales.
Prayer: Lord, teach me to listen with a pure heart. Show me how to cultivate good conversation, not because I need to be heard, but so that I can be a safe place for others. And from that place we can all learn to fly with You.