When 2013 rolled around and everyone was exhaling because the Mayans weren’t right, after all, I took a deep breath and rolled up my sleeves because THIS is the year for JumpingTandem: The Retreat! Or, #JTREAT for short. #JTREAT is my dream come true!
Wait. Let me correct that. #JTREAT is actually God’s idea.
It’s a dream he dropped in my lap a few years ago and, as with any God-sized dream, I figured he meant it for someone else. I mean, obviously it’s a great idea, right? But to make it happen requires experience and attention to detail and speakers and a venue and a platform (!), and I had — have — none of the above. So, for years I’d say to anyone who would listen, “I really think we need a conference right here in the Midwest.” I imagined myself to be a messenger of God — a burning bush — for the person he actually intended to use to make the dream come true. I kept waiting for someone to grasp my hands, look me in the eyes and say, “Oh, thank you! I was wondering what God wanted me to do with my life and you have just delivered the answer I’ve been praying for!” But, people would simply nod in agreement, lean back, sip their coffee, and change the subject.
Then one day I realized the idea might be for me, and not for someone else. Scary.
After much hemming and hawing (and praying and asking God what he had in mind), I decided to test the theory that maybe he meant for me to plan the event. So, I took the first step and — surprise! — the earth kept spinning. So, I took another step, and then another, and another. God kept opening doors in front of me; connecting me with just the right people; leading me to just the right businesses; giving me just the right connections. And here we are, with JumpingTandem: The Retreat, just ten weeks away.
Right about now, when things are starting to come together, and people are sending me their flight information, and I’m making final arrangements with the shuttle company and with the chef at the retreat center and with the speakers and the musician and the sponsors, I find myself with a case of separation anxiety. Because now that it looks like it might actually happen, it’s so very easy for me to forget who’s idea this was in the first place.
Way back in the day, when Moses was leading an entire generation of Israelites through the desert, I wonder if he didn’t start to feel the same way? I mean, think about it. At first, he didn’t even want to do what God was asking him to do. “Send Aaron,” he said to God. But God wanted to use Moses to make this dream come true, so it was Moses who went to Pharaoh, Moses who pronounced the plagues, Moses who reached out over the Red Sea before it parted, Moses who received the Ten Commandments from God on the mountain top. After awhile, I imagine Moses started dreaming about the way things would end up. Maybe he thought he’d lead the Israelites into the Promised Land and they would throw him a big party, make him King, and rename the Promised Land something like Mosesland instead. It’s hard to say for sure.
What the bible says is that one day, when the people were thirsty, God told Moses to speak to a rock and that rock would pour out water. So, Moses went up to the rock, hit it twice with his staff, and water gushed out of the rock. Ai yi yi! God told Moses it was that act — striking the rock instead of simply speaking to it — that would keep Moses out of the Promised Land.
Striking that rock meant that Moses didn’t trust God to be able to do what God said he’d do. Moses thought God needed his help. Maybe Moses thought water from a rock was his idea and not God’s. Sometimes it’s hard to step back and let God get all the credit.
It’s so difficult to communicate this in a blog post without using so many words that you click away with a yawn. But know this: God’s got big dreams for you and me. They’re his dreams, and he entrusts them to us. They are scary and they take us way outside of our comfort zone because God is always always always building our character to be more like his, and that is no small endeavor. Sometimes, at least in my case, I forget I need to let go and let God do what he wants to do. Sometimes it’s because I don’t really believe he knows what he’s doing. Sometimes it’s because I want the accolades. Sometimes it’s simply because I’m fine with things how they are and I’m not the least bit thrilled by the prospect of change. And sometimes the one thing blocking the dream is the fact that I need to let it go so that God can do it his way, because it was all his idea in the first place.
Will you be at #JTREAT?I hope you’ll come and join us as we make space for God and his big, amazing, ridiculously beautiful dreams. To register for a Day Pass, click here.