The ladies reading this may have trouble relating, but I bet all the guys will relate. I have this amazing ability to focus like a laser on a specific project or task. While it may sound fantastic, honestly, that’s just another way of saying I really stink at multitasking… and I really do. I think it’s a guy thing.
So, back before ever receiving the vision for New Hope, I was in a neat growth time with God. I was reading about David, a man after God’s own heart, and about Moses who talked with God face to face the way a man talks with his friend. I’m sure every one of us has wanted to be called God’s friend, to please Him to that level to be called a man or woman after His own heart. It was actually a few months in to that time that we initially felt the call to open New Hope. A year would pass first though as God prepared us.
So, back to my first statement, I find it VERY easy to get locked into the completion of a task and the forward movement of God’s assignment for me. It can take a place of importance that overshadows everything else around me. Literally, I could miss meals and sleep and hardly notice. Unfortunately, I could also miss my morning prayer time. I could miss my frequent thoughts of God throughout the day. I could miss my time before bed reflecting on His goodness and offering thanks to Him. Those are all times I treasure, but I can work RIGHT over them. My pastor would call it “getting so busy in work for the Lord, that we forget the Lord of the work”.
Of course, it’s still for Him, right? I mean I’m following the mission He has given me….. right? But in truth, it wasn’t really my love for the kids that drew me to New Hope, at least not per se. It was my love for God and my desire to be closer to Him. Then in my manly way, the very assignment He gave can become the thing that ultimately gets in the way of my closeness with Him. Again, I think it’s kind of a guy thing. We can wind up doing that with our families too.
I made a statement to my wife Bonnie many times during that year of waiting on God that, “He’s not just using us to build a shelter, He’s using a shelter to build us”. I still get frequent reminders of those words today. When I pray for inspiration in solving a particular problem and I still struggle, I ask why and I’m reminded that God didn’t want me to need Him in order to solve a problem. He just wanted me to need Him. The problem isn’t the important thing, I am.
While I know the finished product of New Hope is close to God’s heart, His vision is never that small. As I build, I am also built. And when it comes to building Art, New Hope is one of the many tools on God’s workbench. He loves me enough that He won’t short cut my growth just to get the doors open a little quicker (although I probably would, haha). In the midst of the occasional frustration, New Hope as it turns out, is one of the tools God is using to actually answer my original prayer, to fashion me into a man after God’s own heart.
As TD Jakes says, “No matter what you are trying to build, whether it is a business, a ministry, or a relationship, give it time to grow.”