On Wednesday, in preparation for our Grand Opening, I held a prayer and tribute night after we closed inside Bellwether. Sometimes in the craziness, (myself at least) especially when you’re working hard (with your own hands to build something), you tend to take more credit than necessary when things are finally finished. So as we were planning all the Grand Opening events and parties, it was all about Family night, or VIP / PRESS night, or Grand Opening Events, or this or that.
And as we were caught in the middle of this mess, I took a deep breath and said I wanted to have a prayer night before the opening as well.
Because here is the truth - humans are not really truly creators. We are simply combiners. We can only work so hard with our God Given abilities, with the created things God has already placed in our lives. I’m serious - at the end of the day, all of “our” creation, is really just a combination of us working with what God has already provided and blessed us with. So when planning our celebrations, I wanted to make sure my praise and my thanksgiving was pointed in the right direction.
I don’t believe in self-made. I just believe in being brave.
You see – Bellwether is so much more to me than a store, or a bar, or a coffee house, or a barbershop. It’s a home. It’s a home in maybe the purest form of the word. Meaning, I built this place with nothing but community in mind. Numbers, or margins, or the amount of people through the door will not be my measure of success with Bellwether. My measure of success at Bellwether will be measured by community and life impact. How many marriages come out of this place? Or lives reunited? Or confidence restored? Who will meet in here an their lives will forever be changed? Who will work here and gain the encouragement they needed to step out and be brave and fulfill their own dreams?
That’s success to me.
But here is the scary thing... how do we actually create that – it’s fucking messy and it takes being vulnerable.
The way the enemy has been messing with me lately is with the idea of clarity, purpose, and direction. Going through the building phase of this place, and in my own personal life, I have this deep deep longing for clarity; for direction; for advice to be on the right path.
I have been searching and reading and praying for clarity. Lord – give me direction. Tell me where to go – tell me what to do – tell me how to do this.
And in this broken moment, alone in Bellwether as my great friend Austin was playing guitar and worshiping, I walked into the hallway and was praying about gaining clarity, IT happened.
I leaned up against the wall and this audible voice came over me (which never happens to me) and said:
“Josh… I trust you. Even when you don’t trust yourself, I have trust in you.”
I broke down into tears, bad, like real real bad. I was weeping... like the kind of crying where you have to gasp for breath. It was the first time in years I have cried like that.
As a leader, I hold myself to these amazingly high expectations, but then internally, I know how much I fail... how much I hurt people... how much I am unqualified. So, I had never thought about it in that way before, but God hit the nail on the head – knowing all my secrets, all my failures, all my struggles, all my pain and hurt, I don’t trust myself.
This is why I cry out to God for direction, this is why I meet with mentors two to three times a week to discuss decisions. In my brokenness and insecurity – I have lost the ability to trust myself.
So to hear that God, the Lord of the Universe, who knows ALL of me – every damaged part, every mistake, every failure, has TRUST IN ME, broke me down.
It was almost like God was saying,
“I know you want my advice… But right now, you don’t need it.”
So much of my life I just want so desperately for God to point me in the right direction or make things clearer. All of the things that makes this whole thing called Life seem so murky and confusing, I so desperately want Him to make it black and white.
What I am learning is that, sometimes, with difficult circumstances; there are only difficult answers.
In a way, I feel bummed God wasn’t going to give me the answers I was looking for. But at the same time, I also feel empowered, and, honored.
So right now, in this moment, things aren’t perfect, by any means, and they’re still unfolding and I’m still here learning and growing, but the biggest thing I need to focus on and that God has empowered me to do is that:
Like a toddler learning to walk, I'm slowly beginning to trust myself.
I can’t help but wonder if this “advice” (or non-advice) is the best advice I’ve ever gotten. It makes me want to give the same gift when others come to me asking for direction or input; and it makes me want to think twice before I ask someone to make a decision for me I should be making for myself.
One of my old friends Jared came by Bellwether yesterday and was explaining to me a discussion he had with one of the Elders on his church Board.
The board member was asking for Clarity on the direction the church was headed, and Jared interrupted him and said:
“Listen, please don’t ASK me where the church is going. I need you to TELL ME where YOU THINK it should go. You are not on this board to be a follower or an encourager; You are on this board as a leader and a decision maker, because I believe in you, and I think you have a life worth imitating. If you can't lead and GIVE direction, this is the wrong room for you.”
His story hit me like a ton of bricks. I think that so many of us are gifted in natural leadership and decision making ability. We have this amazing opportunity to be difference makers in our community, and I think that for some of us we get robbed of that because the enemy takes away our own self-trust.
There is no better gift than learning to trust yourself, and I am learning that gift can only come with time and practice.
I just want to keep reminding myself: “Difficult circumstances only have difficult answers; and you have to learn to listen to yourself.”
If I’ve learned anything in he past 48 hours, it is that if God trusts you, how afraid can we be?
See, before this - In my head, I have this vision of God watching me with disappointment, ready to correct, and throwing His hands up in the air because despite all His best efforts, I continue to take really poor steps of faith.
Like a toddler - I am wobbly, unsure, look incredibly awkward and feel really foolish, and it usually ends in a giant fall.
I’ve walked before, I should know how to do this.
But, somehow I’m learning to walk all over again, and God must be shaking his head in disappointment.
What if instead, God was holding His arms up high?
What if instead - He was celebrating with every sloppy step, cheering me on because even though it was ugly and scary, it was a step?
What if tears were running down HIS face in that moment too? Saying:
“Don’t worry about your past. I created you and I know everything about you, and am utterly in love with you. I trust in you. You got this, I just know it. You're going to be great at it.”
So, if you’re facing a difficult decision right now and you aren’t sure what to do, let me give you some advice:
What I think isn’t nearly as important as what you think. Make the best decision you know how. Get feedback, sure, but also lean into your choices and to your consequences.
If you’ll stop for just a minute, you probably know the right thing to do.
Take that step.
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