Never let your ego get so close to your position, so that when your position goes, your ego goes with it.General Colin Powell
Many years ago, I read the autobiography of General Colin Powell. Powell was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the war known as Desert Storm in the 1990’s. He was an extremely popular figure and I’m fascinated by people’s stories, so I bought the book.
It was a rather engaging book, but the one thing I still remember to this day is the quote about egos and positions. Lately, I’ve come up with a slight variation of it that goes:
Never let your identity get so close to your vision, so that when your vision goes, your identity goes with it.~Sunny Cadwallader
Awhile back, I was sitting in a church meeting listening to the leaders talk. We were discussing vision and purpose that leadership had for the team.
I dutifully listened, but I remember distinctly looking around the room and wondering. As I wondered, I began talking with or just praying to the Lord about the happenings. There was a moment where there was silence and I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to speak. What I said that day has been coming back to my mind often.
‘God wants to do something here. What He wants to do, He will do and whomever doesn’t fit in with that plan, He will remove and move them elsewhere.’
Those aren’t the exact words I said, but you get the gist.
God will do what God will do. He doesn’t fit into our plans, no matter how much we try or how great we think “our godly vision” is. He will do what fits according to His will and desire be it for an individual, a department, a church, a neighborhood, a workplace, anything/anywhere. He will do it.
Or, rather, allow it to happen.
There have been times where I believed strongly in a vision I had for my life or, dare I say it, “my ministry“, that could have only come from God. I walked out what I thought was His timing of it, remained as faithful as I could, tried to stay humble before Him and not get too far ahead of Him. I (thought I) knew who I was based on what He told me.
No one is perfect and especially not me. Although I did my best, part of me would sometimes wander off in thought and I could suddenly see the possibilities of this identity. Earthly possibilities, but possibilities nonetheless. I mean, after all, I would be doing it for the Lord. I do my part and He would exalt me, right? He would grow this ministry, right? He would elevate me as long as I stayed humble. All in His time, which I apparently thought I knew.
Those wandering thoughts became my identity. What I thought He was going to do through me rather than an identity just simply in Him no matter what happened on this earth.
When the time came, the vision didn’t play out the way (I thought) He told me. Leadership failed me. They didn’t hear from God nor did they communicate with me.
I was crushed, broken and my identity was gone.
Over the past several years, I’ve been telling anyone that would listen that there is a shift going on right now. There is a shaking of people, places and things happening and it’s taking awhile for some of us to grasp it. Just look at what has happened in the past 18 months alone with covid-19. There is a shaking going on.
He is allowing people to be moved or even removed from places and positions they thought they should be. It’s not necessarily because they or others did something wrong. I mean, maybe it could be that, but I think He is allowing things to happen in life that get us out of where WE think we should be and to where He wants us to be.
Sometimes we fight it and so it takes us a little longer to get there, wherever His there is. He wants to be our normal.
As I look back at that meeting and see who remains in that department now, there are only a handful of people left. Some have moved out of town, some stepped away, some to other churches and some left under not-the-best circumstances.
I am one of the ones that ‘stepped away’. Both when I joined and when I left, I listened to the voice of the Lord. In both instances He simply said, “It is time”. Although uncertain at first, I didn’t argue. There was no ‘let me pray and fast about it’. It was just doing what the Lord told me to do.
Why? Because God has healed me from the previous hurt. My identity wasn’t tied to a vision any longer. He is gently, but firmly, teaching me to find identity AND vision in Him alone.
Looking around, I see so much evidence that He’s putting people and things in order. It can be quite a painful process, letting go of a vision that is tied to our identity. Many tears are shed and fears are felt. But, when we trust God…I mean really, truly trust Him despite what we see, think or feel, the process is worth it.
I stopped resisting Him and He is imparting to me greater vision and understanding than I could ever have imagined. And, He’s not done with me yet.
Knees Down, Prayers Up