Thursday, January 8, 2009

Three Circles

I had been in law practice for about five years and we were in the midst of planning the upcoming year. Then, Congress changed the bankruptcy laws and we lost 90% of our clients. Just like that, my law partner and I were faced with the reality that the firm would be unable to support both of us. It was time for me to leave.

I ended up in a leadership position at a church, leading its administrative, operational, human resources, and legal departments. I went from co-managing a small practice to leading several large departments of a large church. This did not match any prior experience, nor was it something that I felt particularly equipped to do.

It was an overwhelming experience. For the first few months, I struggled to find out what it really meant to trust God. At times I was discouraged because as an attorney, my value to a client was based on my knowledge of the subject matter. Working for the church, however, I had no prior experience, no prior knowledge, and thus, in my mind, no value to the position.

Then, God began to work on me and showed me the concept of three circles.

The red circle represents what I believe I can do—the limits of my perceived skills and knowledge based on an honest assessment.

The yellow circle represents what my mentors and true friends believe I am capable of. Those are the skills and knowledge that they see God developing in me.

The green circle represents my Philippians 4:13 potential. This is what I am capable of accomplishing with God’s help. This is where God calls us to meet Him.

This place is so far removed from what we believe we can do that it is frightening and overwhelming. You see, we are completely comfortable and capable in the red circle. Anything beyond that takes us out of our comfort zone.

The belief, encouragement, and help of friends will often get us to the yellow circle. Yet no further.

God, of course, is not willing to leave us in the red or yellow circle. He will push us into His purpose. Because it is there that we will be forced to depend on Him and only Him. And there, He will receive all the glory.

So, when God calls us, we will feel overwhelmed. We will be nervous. In fact, if we are completely honest with ourselves, we will be afraid.

Now, we can remain paralyzed by fear and speculation. We can remain bound by past failures or rejections. We can collapse under the pressure.

Or, we can run into His arms, and with child-like faith, embrace His calling. Not because we are equipped to do so, but because He has called us. We can thrive and grow with this new challenge, firm in the belief that He who has called us will sustain and equip us. We will see God move in us in inexplicable ways, and those around us will marvel at God’s favor on our lives.

Then, over time, the green will become red, we will become comfortable, and before we know it, God will be calling us out again.

So, let’s not wait too long. Take God’s hand and let’s move.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Cor 12:9

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, my friend, greatly stated and well put! Everything that I couldn't explain, couldn't formulate into words or phrases, and everything that I needed to pray for has been said here in this blog! The 3 Circles blog is right "on target"! (Similar to the picture it depicts)

"The green circle represents Phil 4:13", AMEN, Yes! Just like the green zone, God’s plan and his power to accomplish that plan is so much bigger than us! In this season of God moving, I don't want to miss the target or the mark because I was, as you put it, "paralyzed by fear or comfortable in my safe zone"! I want to fulfill His will and His call in EVERY AREA of my life, even if I have to do it SHAKING, AFRAID, AND FEARFUL! (blog quote “frightening and overwhelming”)

I'm not embarrassed to admit, that at the present time, I may have a Gideon anointing! Why not? Because in the end Gideon ACCOMPLISHED the purposes of God! He rose up out of his "comfortable place"(the winepress) and went forth to fight for the Kingdom of God (and he was successful in battle).

I also like the fact that God had called "a chosen few" (the yellow zone) to partner with Gideon to accomplish that insurmountable task which faced them! The soldiers were his support group (that yellow zone) BUT Gideon couldn't do it with their help alone. He need to have full trust, hope, belief, and dependency upon God's ability to accomplish the call! God will do it through us; we just have to act in faith step by step.

In 2009, I am determined to "run into His arms, and with child-like faith, embrace His calling"!

Thanks for that post. I needed that! For I know, that “In my weakness God is made strong!”