My friend and I were talking about some projects that we've both been wanting to start for a while. We both have some time off work at the moment so we want to take the opportunity to explore various ideas we’ve been pondering – the “one day” projects, or “when I have a bit more time” dreams. And yet we have all these fears and questions that can paralyse us: the fear of knowing whether something is God’s will, the fear of knowing which idea to choose and go with, the fear of failure or wasting time. And so the danger is that we’ll both end up not doing anything.
We live in the age of options so we very often get choice overload and decision paralysis. But I'm learning to just pick a route, go with an idea, choose a dream, chase a goal and go for it.
In Deuteronomy 1:6-8, God said to the Israelites "'You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey" and then goes on to list all of the places where He wants them to go. I wonder how the Israelites felt with the long list of places God was calling them to go: the hill country of the Amorites, the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. That list may have been pretty overwhelming for them. Where should they start? Which order should they travel to these places? What if they failed or it was going to be costly? I think often God says the same thing to us – He says "I've given you all of these passions and ideas and gifts and dreams, you've camped out on them long enough, turn and take your journey. Do them all, start somewhere, just move!”
In verse 8, God says “See, I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land”. He doesn’t tell us it’s a road or a path that we can easily veer off and choose the wrong route, he tells us it’s a land, open and vast. God’s will for us is so often a land not a path, a field and not a tightrope. We can explore it and have choices and options – it’s not linear so as long as we’re listening to his voice, to the boundaries and guidelines he gives us in scripture, we have permission to play.
For the Israelites, it was a journey that should've lasted 11 days, but it took them 40 years. I don't want to camp out overwhelmed with all these ideas, and end up 40 years down the line still dawdling and procrastinating, putting off things that would have taken me 11 days.
It all starts with the first step. You have to just start and do something.
Running a marathon was always a "someday" thing. I could barely run 5k but I signed up for the Edinburgh Marathon in the October ready for a May race. I'd always wanted to finish one so I decided to just do something and sign up for one.
Getting a dog was a "someday" thing. We had talked and talked for years about whether we could fit one in to our lives and into our house and what kind of dog we might want. And then we decided to do something and go and visit one at the dog shelter.
Starting a church community was a "someday" thing. As was selling our house and writing and living abroad and vlogging and becoming parents.
After giving myself a good pep talk though, I've started working through the list & am busy initiating some projects that I've wanted to do for a while. Who knows if they'll be fruitful or any good, but I believe that God honours being a faithful steward of the idea, my talents and the time He’s given me.