God seems to show up when I am not prepared.
The times when I feel like, “Yes, I’ve practiced and groomed this and have it all planned down to the last microsecond” are the times when things tend to fall flat. It’s the times when there’s been a last minute change, or I’m not feeling well, that the presentations, classes or days tend to be… fruitful.
For example, when I was presenting in various churches before coming overseas. In the rush of relief that followed every presentation’s end, sometimes I felt like, “Wow – that was probably the most flat presentation in the history of presentations”. Other times I sat down confidently, “Boom! Nailed that one!”
And the churches where I felt flat and weak? Almost to a place those are the churches where most of my financial support and encouragement comes from. And the “Boom!” churches? Little or no response.
This happens over and over again – while teaching Childrens’ Church classes or just with days that I left open and unscheduled… He usually decides to use the moments I did not plan very well.
It’s as if my Heavenly Father is constantly whispering to me, “Sarah, my child, I will not be scripted.”
Honestly, this generally frustrates me. Just once, why can’t God just behave the way I expect and plan on Him to?
A friend of mine, after listening to a tiny piece of this lament said, “Oh Sarah, God wants us to be very clear about who did the work. He’s constantly making sure we know it is Him and not us who deserves to get the glory.”
And there it is in a nutshell. My planner, scheduler, micro-controller nature would very, very easily take pride and credit for a well-executed program where God did show up. “Look, look!” I would cry, “God blessed MY work! God blessed MY plan! Hurray for ME! (Oh yea, and also hurray for God’s blessing…)”
Instead, when God shows up at the unscripted moments, it makes me throw up my hands and say, “GOD did the work. GOD had the plan. Praise GOD that he let me be a tiny part of the blessing!”
Does this mean I will never plan for anything ever again? No… planning ahead is part of being responsible. There are some things that just can’t happen without planning.
What it does mean is that I’m trying to be less compulsive about my planning. To be more comfortable saying, “I’m going to leave that open-ended and see what God wants to do”.
Mostly what I need to remember is that even in the most well-scripted moments, God’s working is not about my script. It’s about His power. Then, whenever and wherever He shows up – my response will be, “GOD did the work. GOD had the plan. Praise GOD that he let me be a part of the blessing!”
What if you walked into your next Sunday School class with a short verse to meditate on, read it and then left it open for members to meditate, pray and open-endedly discuss? What if you took a day, went off somewhere alone and quiet with nothing but your Bible and a notepad and waited for God to show up?
In short – what if you had a few unscripted moments in your next group meeting or alone time when God might show up outside your program?