Years ago, I shared a life-goal with a friend of mine. A lofty goal and a seemingly crazy idea, I dreamed the dream and quickly dismissed it – only to have the idea resurface many times over the past ten or so years. Last year, in a flurry of activity that could have seen my dream realized (at least partially), I reached out to that same friend to get his opinion on some of the things that were going on, partially to validate my thoughts and partially to have someone objective evaluate the circumstances. His response to me was this:
“You are a lion-chaser”
I wasn’t sure if it was a compliment or not. He recommended a book to me, called, In a pit with a lion on a snowy day. At first, I thought the title ridiculous, but bought the book anyway. After the first paragraph, I was hooked. Since that book, I’ve probably read seven or eight more of Mark Batterson’s books, including The Lion-Chaser, The Circle Maker, and Whisper, among others.
In a Pit starts with a reference to an obscure passage of the Old Testament, 1 Chronicles 11:22, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done mighty deeds, he slew the two’sons of Ariel of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow.”
Mark Batterson describes in detail the courage and tenacity Benaiah had to chase a lion into a pit. He drew it out with tremendous suspense the way a great author would, leaving the reader feeling like they’re watching a suspenseful movie, anxiously waiting to see who emerged from the pit, cheering loudly when they see it’s Benaiah. The subtitle of the book is, “How to survive and thrive when opportunity roars” Most of Mark’s books deal with having Jericho sized dreams and seizing opportunity to achieve them.
Here’s an excerpt:
“God is in the business of strategically placing us in the right place at the right time – a sense of destiny is our birthright as followers of Christ; God is awfully good at getting us where He wants us to go – but here’s the catch – the right place often seems like the wrong place, and the right time often seems like the wrong time”.
“God is always using past experiences to prepare us for future opportunities, but those opportunities often come disguised as man-eating lions – how we react to those lions will determine our destiny – we can cower in fear and run away from our biggest challenges, or we can seize our God-given opportunities. The greatest opportunities are the scariest lions. “
One of my favorite lines from his book – and I believe it’s been repeated in several of his books is this: “God wants you to get where God wants you to go more than you want to get where God wants you to go.” It sounds like a strange statement, but when I step back and look some of the experiences I’ve had, and experiences that friends of mine have had, and realize the wisdom gained from those experiences that wouldn’t have been gained without going through them, I can see God strategically working things out, opening and closing doors, to get people where they need to be.
It is exciting. And terrifying. And fun. All at the same time.
I’ve thought long and hard about my friends’ statement over the past year. I decided it was a compliment to be called a lion-chaser, and believe there is some truth in his statement; however, there are a few things in my life holding me back just a bit from being “all in”. Some of those things I’m able to articulate, and some I’m still discovering. Risk is a lot easier to take when you’re the only one involved – but I’m in an interesting life-stage right now with both children and parent depending on me – most practical people would say now is not the time to take a risk – but maybe in a few years when two of the three kids are out of college… and then I re-read the quote above (“the right place often seems like the wrong place and the right time often seems like the wrong time”) and I wonder if I’m missing the opportunity.
Last spring, as I was reading Mark Batterson’s books and working through some of my details, I sent an email to Mark Batterson to thank him for writing the books he had, never expecting to hear anything back. To my surprise, I had several email exchanges with his administrative assistant in which I shared some of what I was going through – she put me on the prayer chain of NCC Church in Washington, DC, where Mark pastors over 6,000 people, and has reached out several times since just to check how things are going. What an incredibly humbling experience.
When God asked me if I was willing to tell my story (summer of 2017), I immediately responded with, “Of course, I am – but wait, what story? I don’t really have a story.” Since that first step of obedience saying I’m willing to share my story, I believe He is giving me a story to tell. It’s not quite done yet. But one thing’s for sure – it will be amazing when it is..
I truly believe that when God sees we are willing to step out in obedience to Him, he blesses us in ways we could never, ever, imagine in 100 million years. I am living proof of that. I am 100% confident that God is still in control and He is preparing some wonderfully crazy things for my life and the lives of those who love Him. I’m learning to enjoy the wait. (ok, “enjoy” might be a strong word…. how about “embrace” the wait… ?)
Be blessed, my friends, be blessed.
Thanks for stopping by!