Today, in response to the current season many of my friends face in building new things, I’m going to be writing about navigating timings with Watchman prophesy. Like the post I wrote on strategic ways God has increased my measure of faith across life seasons, I’m choosing to write this article from the measure of experience I do have, accepting what I don’t know, as part of a call to authentic scribal ministry.
What is Watchman Prophesy?
Some of the best definitions of Watchman prophesy I’ve found come from Dr. Joe Ibojie’s book, The Watchman.
In a nutshell, Watchman are:
- a particular kind of Seer Prophet (Office of a Prophet) (Ch 3).
- individuals who receive “a great percent of dreams and other revelation about non-personal issues…pertaining mainly to areas of a Watchman’s call.” (Ch 3)
- “Spiritual lookouts” who have a future-oriented prophetic leaning, “peer[ing] into the distance, spy[ing], keep[ing] watch” regarding both the plans and purposes of God Almighty and the Enemy (Ch 3)
- Strategically organize and “prepare the people to receive the coming King” when revelation is related to God’s future plans. (Ch 4)
- Issue well-timed warnings to leaders and individuals when revelation is about the plans of the Enemy. “Watchman ministry has the potential to bring strategic revelations and insightful knowledge of the exact time, name, and place of operation of specific evil forces or principalities that come against the people of God.” (Ch 4)
- “Postman and not enforcer of the warning” (Ch 5)
- Named examples are Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Habakkuk, with other prophets performing a Watchman function throughout scripture (for example, check out Amos and Isaiah)
The specificity of Watchman revelation means that much of the call is related to timings (hence, this article). The “Issachar anointing” discussed in charismatic circles relates to a collection of individuals in the Office of a Prophet within Issachar who functioned in a Watchman capacity.
From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders of the tribe with their relatives. All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take.1 Chronicles 12:32
As prophets mature, they tend to develop other areas of prophetic gifting, so that they become a mix of different elements of the Office of a Prophet (Seer, Nabi, Watchman, etc). Therefore, if a prophet does not mainly receive Watchman revelation, they may still periodically. It’s good to know about the gift in context.
Making Peace with the Puzzle
Both the sense of urgency and the future-focused revelation that Watchman receive make it absolutely necessary to know your timings. For example, Watchman prophets may steward puzzle pieces for regions, organizations, and individuals that relate to 1, 3, 5, 10, 30+ years out all at once. Making peace with the puzzle requires both personal responsibility and surrender to God who keeps watch as a Master Watchman (Ps. 127).
Instead of abdication or overwork, it’s better to learn exactly what is your seasonal assignment regarding each of the part of the puzzle. Some of the revelation will require no inquiry and no present action. That’s because Heaven likes to teach us about the puzzle pieces that correspond to the particular (thematic) lesson we are learning right now, not necessarily those events that will happen most immediately. For example, I had a long term calling/inheritance dream related to Supernatural Youth Ministry in April 2021 when I cried out to God, saying, “How exactly do you want to use all these skill sets?” I’m still in the midst of the outworking of that word, somewhere between where I’ve been and where I’m going. But Heaven decided to give clarity well in advance because God wanted to paint a picture that would relate to those deepest desires and questions, not external circumstances. Glory to God, I don’t need that dream to come true overnight. I’d probably panic if it did. But because I know where I’m at in the process and am making proportionate steps towards that dream in accordance with the objectives God has for this season, I have peace.
It is very common in the life of a Watchman Prophet to perceive or communicate an event happening well in advance of it’s natural timing, with a sense of extreme urgency. For example, when I got this word on increasing witchcraft requirement among youth in the UK this April, I felt the urgency of parsing the word. However, I’ve mostly just needed to have it on hand for conversations so far. I am glad that I did the work in season to prepare the word, even if I’m still waiting to see how God will use it.
Heaven Uses Different Language and Different Metrics
As I’ve gotten more timelines and maps in my dreams, I’ve needed to rely on Jesus and accept partial understanding.
“For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.”1 Corinthians 13:9
God shows us as much as we need to know for the timing we are presently in. When the puzzle pieces come together, they often do so in a sequence or by methods we don’t initially perceive.
“But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”1 Corinthians 13:10
Furthermore, Heaven will highlight details about the spiritual significance and meaning of events without over-focusing on their natural appearance.
“Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”John 7:24
What God highlights to you about a person or situation may still be emerging (such as character traits). For me, this has most often been an awareness of mantles or anointing on individuals’ lives, that don’t yet have any natural evidence. It can be a little disorienting in that you show up to talk with someone and recognize that they don’t se themselves yet through the lens of word. And that their insides still need time to come into formation for them to be able to walk it out.
Just as David was anointed as King ~15 years before he ruled, gifts need to be nourished before their time of maturity. The Lord shows us these things in advance so that we will know how to rightly act in the present timing, with wisdom. Just like the Angel of the Lord greeted Gideon as a mighty warrior while he was still hiding in the threshing floor, the word of the Lord requires us to use revelation to motivate present wisdom.
If God has shown you future-reaching revelation about a region, a ministry, or an individual, what role do you need to take in this current moment to respond appropriately? Is this information future oriented or present oriented? Is it conditional or certain? Remember, this is about proportionate action. As you go, the tension between living outside of natural timings decreases because you get better at navigating your role in the moment.
The Further the Scope, the Greater the Need to Stay Grounded
The further out in time the revelation, the more you have to stay focused on the present moment. God will have you conserve your energy, which can be wasted in pressing in for information that is too distant. At the same time, he can timings effortlessly through word of knowledge if you are rightly positioned. It shouldn’t feel exhausting, but conversational. At the beginning of new assignments, I have found special grace to ask and answer questions, just as Mary did in receiving the news of her pregnancy (Luke 1:34). Some questions God will answer when you explicitly ask (sometimes that same day, sometimes over time). Other times, God knows what is on your heart and will fluently share information because he knows that you’ve quietly been “pondering them in your heart” (Luke 2:19). He loves you, and he doesn’t want you scared. Those who seek will find (Matthew 7:7-12). And if you’ve been seeking and haven’t found the specific answer yet, you probably don’t need it (or need it yet).
In the following paragraphs, I’m going to share three types of historical context, ministry, yourself as a leader.
Ask about Your Historical Context
While a great deal of Watchman revelation relates to the future or present, some relates to pieces of the past (former spiritual wells, assignments over regions) that need to be changed or restored. Since God layers his present work on past action, knowing the specific timings for your labors in a greater context of his story is useful.
Questions for Your Historical Context:
- What is the larger context of ministry that you are called to?
- Why has he put you on the Earth at this particular time period, as compared to the past or future?
- What is the larger tapestry of activity that he’s producing on the earth, and how can you come under the scope of that vision?
- What other trends or movements currently on the Earth do I need to be aware of, either because this calling is connected to them, or in opposition?
In each of these sections, I am going to be sharing examples from my life on how God has helped me navigate these questions. During my time in the classroom, I found that people learn and feel supported best when they have practical examples they can use as points of reference. I’m taking a risk to share, because I believe it’s ultimately more helpful to readers than leaving it hypothetical.
Example: Youth and Young Prophets Movement
In preparation for some of the work of intergenerational ministry God will have me do with Youth and Young Prophets, God has been showing me glimpses of what he is preparing for 0-18s, but from a long distance. If the revelation is accurate (ie, specific words related to time lengths in dreams), the Youth Movement he’s building will rest on about 200 years of history, and will affect the next 210 years of history.
Ask about Your Ministry
God in his context may reveal various puzzle pieces to help guide the formation of your ministry. Again, he will do this gradually as you have the capacity to handle more information and are at the ripe maturity level to hear it. Like nearly everything in the Office of a Prophet, it presumes that you are co-laboring with God and remain in conversation with him.
Questions for Your Ministry:
- What are your “front line” sectors, regions, and age groups? Where are you currently called to invest your energy, and what seeds is God currently adding to you that you need to begin to explore?
- Which individuals are you called to partner with, and in what capacity? For each person, are you called to support their leadership, co-minister with them, mentor them, or develop an alliance between five-fold or regional structures?
- What strategy has God highlighted, to build each aspect?
Example: Thirty Years of Building
Glory to God, he has been gracious in sharing timings, strategy, regions, people alignment, and sequential details about the ministry he will develop through me and others.
I believe God counts 2022 as my first year in ministry, based on the abundance of imagery related to ministry vehicles and him telling me, “Well done for stepping into the story” when I left my teaching job in February. In a series of dreams in October, he mentioned that building my ministry will take 30 years.
If I’m 28 now, I will be 58 in 2052, when the ministry will be established. Isn’t that nuts?
I have a rough sense of where we’ll be in the world (including some surprises), some of the languages we’ll need to incorporate, and some of the sectors it will intersect with. While it’s not exhaustive, I put together a circle map of some of these elements because visualizing the information helps.
Ask about Yourself as a Leader
Lastly, it’s important to know what dispositions God will cultivate in you as a leader as part of your journey. In which ways do you need to transform in order to hold the position and develop the right community?
Questions for Yourself as a Leader:
- What attitudes do I currently have related to working with people or managing my responsibilities?
- Which attitudes need to change? What new, healthy seeds of disposition is the Holy Spirit planting in me?
- If I continue on the exact same trajectory I’m on right now for the next ? years, what will be the fruit? Will that honor God? What little adjustments can I make now to honor him even more throughout my career in ministry?
Example: At Middle Age
You know, when I was about 9-12, I was so nervous to grow up. I spent my last years in elementary school scanning adult leaders in my vicinity and considering which aspects of the adults I admired. I was well aware of some traits from role models I didn’t want to emulate, and other aspects I loved. When I was about 11, God actually used this period of soul searching to speak to me in a vision, where I saw an older version of myself (20-30s) who was involved in youth work. This experience powerfully shaped my identity.
Well, now I’m in my late 20s and doing the same kind of soul searching. It’s a season of examining different apostolic and prophetic ministries and leaders, and gaining vision for who I want to be as a mature leader (at a slower pace). Just like when I was young, God in his grace has been pouring out the same grace to see older versions of myself. These characters aren’t just cool older women, but they carry the same resonance, texture as myself in the Spirit. As in, they feel like it’s the exact same cloth, the exact same tone and perspective as me, just older.
In one episode, I saw a version of myself in my 50s. She understood my longing for open space and to grow quickly, and was a writer, a prophet, and an academic. She was relaxed, open minded, legitimately humble, and had enough experience to not need me to translate much. She just understood. It was awesome.
In another, I saw a version of myself in my 60s. She was a public speaker who was authentic, but no nonsense. I saw her in the middle of giving a lecture encouraging people to surrender and let God work out his formation process in them. She reminded me of the straight-talking culture of the Midwest, of Kansas where I was raised.
Lastly, I saw a version of myself in my 80s. She was relaxed. In seeing the long but positive arch of her story, I felt a new degree of freedom just to lean back and leave the timings to God.
Seeing these women made me legitimately excited to embody a more mature version of myself. It made some of the pressing, crushing, and clay molding that God’s been doing on my insides seem more worth it. And it made me more aware of the amount of permission that I have to let go and simply trust. In his kindness, God wants that degree of freedom for everybody.
Know Your Specific Assignment, Role, and Timing
This month, I graduated from the Global Prophetic Alliance’s Emerging Prophets Program, a 2 year long training for individuals called to the Office of a Prophet. As people prepared for graduation, it felt like some of us were scrambling to come up with a plan for the next steps of our journey.
One man asked very earnestly, “How do we find opportunities in [insert area or geography of ministry here]?”
I held myself back, but nearly said, tongue in cheek:
“Be the Bride. Wait for men to open doors for you.”
You will need both God and other people’s support to reach places you can’t get on your own.
It’s a dumb joke, but it’s the same as saying:
Going through the process with God matters.
More seriously, I’ve been asking the same question myself, but in different words. You see, after two years of gathering puzzle pieces, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. A question I’ve struggled with is, “How do I make peace with all this information?” And as I’ve stayed listening, I’ve found that the answer is:
“Know your assignment and stay within your present timings.”
You have got to know your season, because strategy follows season. In Ecclesiastes 3, there are timings for everything and specific actions that suit each timing.
For example, this Spring as I left Washington, DC and got rid of all my stuff, I was in a season of casting stones apart.
Now as I settle for the foreseeable future in Seattle, Washington, I’m in a season of gathering stones together.
This next dream demonstrates the importance of knowing your season.
I saw a man in clothing that was all wrong for the weather. When it rained, he wore no protective clothing. When it was sunny, he wore heavy clothes. He was out of continuously out of step. I wondered what could be done to help him get in season.
The man that I saw in that dream struggled in real life to take proportionate action, which put him at risk of missing his timings. However, we all are in danger of missing our timings if we don’t know our role and remit (assignment) for the season we are currently in. Know exactly what is required, and let go of the rest.
For every crop, there is a growing season. A good farmer learns to visually estimate the progress of his crop. Jesus compares the capacity to visually estimate the progress of something to discernment.
But He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘The weather will be fair, for the sky is red,’ 3and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’Matthew 16:2-3
If knowing timings relates to discernment, proportionate action belongs to wisdom. Jesus rebukes the Pharisees and Sadducees because instead of discerning that he was the Savior and rightly responding, they expected clarity to drop from the sky as a sign.
You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but not the signs of the times.a 4A wicked and adulterous generation demands a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Then He left them and went away.Matthew 16:3-4
Are you waiting for things to just magically work out? Or are you committed to going on the process?
God is gracious. He isn’t going to give up on you or the promise if you remain seeking after him. However, missing your timings can put you out step with what he wants you to build in the moment. For example, if you focus too much on a future season, you will not know how to build the right friendships and trust so that future ministry and relational alignments can happen. Moral of the story: Discipline yourself to respond to your present timings well so that you don’t botch your present opportunities. From there, just continue to be led. Focus on taking just the next right step. It will accumulate.
If you’re seeking, he’s speaking. It’s not rocket science. Sometimes, it’s about being okay with listening to what God wants to share, and not forcing him to talk about an irrelevant puzzle piece. Have you ever been talking to someone, and they made you tired because they needed to relentlessly steer the conversation, instead of letting it emerge organically? God can change the subject, and for good reason.
Example: My Current Season
In this season of growing in Seattle, I am legitimately thrilled to rest. After a year of rapid growth, I need to move at a slower, more moderate pace.
God called me to Seattle to focus on restoring relationships with family. After praying for this for nearly a decade, it surprised me in July when the time had finally come for there to be accelerated grace on family healing. But after all that time waiting (and setting boundaries so that things could come to the surface), you better believe I jumped at the opportunity. As I have spent time with my mom, sister, and our 2 dogs, I’ve noticed surprising improvements all around (in me too). They are my primary ministry focus right now, and everything else is secondary.
Around May, I told God that for my birthday, instead of more studying and focusing on the mind, I really needed community and to focus on the heart. Recently, I found a local Church that feels like a breath of fresh air, and the beginning of that promise.
In addition to Family and Community, some other themes for this season are: Balance, Holding Salt and Developing Resources (including designing my doctoral thesis), Blessed Expansion, and Developing Maturity.
Like bark stripped back, I need time to change and mature. I will still remain involved in facilitating a small group of prophets interested in Youth and Youth prophets, in participating in another small group to receive, in friendships with my prophet community and in passing trainings. But generally, it’s a time of exploration and formation, not intensity. The ground needs to remain fallow for a while, and stillness is what progress looks like.
In the stillness, there are things that I’m realizing I value as a leader that I might not notice otherwise. For example, I’m watching myself gather people based on character instead of gifting.
I know plenty of talented people, but the people I’m bringing closest in this season and investing in the most are incredibly pure of heart. I value their sincerity and want to be the kind of leader who can go on a long term process with people, as lifelong friends. The forbearance God formed in me as a child is something that I can draw from when people need more time to grow. I knew that long term investment based on character was my natural inclination from years in the classroom, but it’s cool to see that become a pattern. God willing, it will become a legacy one day.
God wastes nothing. During “waiting” periods, you aren’t really waiting, you are transforming and allowing God to add parts of the puzzle that you did not previously realize that you need. Relationships, regions, and skill sets. None the process goes to waste if you remain engaged.
Let yourself be led.
Just in Case it Comes Up: Naming the Timings
As God trains you and brings you into greater co-laboring partnership, there may be times where he asks you to name the timing of something, and then backs you.
I had a dream recently where God told me to name the time frame of a process, and made it clear that he trusted me drive. I was in awe. And shocked. But mostly, awe.
My suspicion is that maybe greater authority to set timings is God’s way of empowering people when there is a power imbalance.
In the story of Elijah, Elijah was a prophet of Yahweh in a context when the religious state had given itself over to Ba’al worship. In this context, Elijah makes his recorded debut by informing Ahab that he had sole authority over the time period of the drought.
A prophet named Elijah, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to King Ahab, “In the name of the Lord, the living God of Israel, whom I serve, I tell you that there will be no dew or rain for the next two or three years until I say so.”1 Kings 17:1-7
Later in the story, the word of the Lord comes to Elijah, and provides specific instructions directing him to confront Ahab. Elijah has a show down with the prophets of Ba’al, the prophets of Ba’al are killed, and Elijah calls in the water (1 Kings 18:42).
Looking at the story, now I wonder:
Did Elijah just sense (estimate) the time period? Or did God give him the authority to name the range of time, and then back him?
I don’t have answers necessarily, but either way, the trust that developed between Elijah and God is beautiful. God, would you give us the same grace to be trustworthy.
For the sake of the fact that we are all still learning, I want to devote this last section to talking about some common mistakes it seems prophets make in navigating timings. I’m hoping that we all can recognize our own natural inclinations in this list and if necessary, pivot. I’m sure my closest friends could tell you which of these I tend toward. That’s okay, we need each other.
Going too Fast
One of the simplest ways you botch your timings is by rushing them.
Restricted Vision, Restrained Fruit: Rushing will keep you relying on Your own strength. It will make you myopic and focusing only on what you already understand. You will fail to notice additional puzzle pieces that God wants to add before you pass on to the next thing. Like trees that produce before they have been sufficiently pruned, your fruit will suffer if you fail to receive all that he wants to give you.
Goal: Receive what you need to receive and let God expand your vision.
Lack of Worship, Lack of Mirroring Jesus: Rushing causes us to place ourselves instead of Jesus at the center of the process. It is no surprise then, that what we build mirrors our personal weaknesses more than it mirrors Christ.
No matter what you build, there will always be some weaknesses. However, when you build on Christ as your foundation and pursue his timing by pursuing him, you start to worship idols of performance, popularity, and human strength. Intimacy suffers, and revelation becomes an idol instead of a means of revealing Jesus.
Goal: Pursue ministry as a fruit of loving Jesus. Let his strength be the source.
Undervaluing Relationships, Not Investing in People: If you go too quickly, you can alienate people. A good leader knows how to take a moderate pace so that he or she can enlist and bring people with him/her. They know that their strength is in numbers, and that preparing the Church for Christ is ultimately a prophet’s mission. If you go too fast for the Bride to align with what you are doing, they will not be ready.
Jesus’ ministry was relational. He was a prophet sent to Jerusalem, and Apostle sent to build the Kingdom of God. In spite of the eternal and salvic importance of his work, he focused on building people and let structure develop from community. He only selected his twelve disciples after he had collected a crowd (Mark 3:7-19). From gathering people, he sent others to gather people (Matthew 28). People were always he mission (Isaiah 54:13, 60:4).
Without bringing the people with you, you can risk creating an echo chamber where aren’t able to rely on others support or sharpening. Ultimately,
Success comes through many advisors.Proverbs 15:22
In an abundance of counselors, there is safety.Proverbs 11:14
When a leader is very passionate, people drawn to that passion. But in order to truly influence the world, leaders must invest in empowering people to participate in their measure of the outworking of the vision.
Passion alone will only attract 2% of people. The rest of the Body of Christ needs us to be an accessible friend. They need us to be balanced, emotional robust, and friendly. These are the people for whom Christ died. They are worth the effort.
I know that as a person, I am so passionate about my areas of calling that if I don’t intentionally slow down, I will burn others out. Lately as I’ve been working with friends, we’ve talked a lot about personal limitations with pace and timing, and balancing other responsibilities. The majority of my friends are between 40-60, and have responsibilities with family to juggle. I’ve found that we do more meaningful work when I discipline myself to keep pace with what they can manage. By keeping in pace with older people, I find that I leave more room for myself to grow at a reasonable rate, instead of the the tendency to rush that comes with youth.
Goal: See your mission as a prophet in submission to Christ’s mission of gathering the lost. Make serving, loving, and empowering them the foundation of your ministry.
Undervaluing Relationships, Not Building Bridges: There is no movement than can be successful without creating alliances between various people, networks, and territories.
When we rush timings, we can prejudge people instead of going on the process with them in long term friendship. We may dismiss them based on their surface level deficits and fail to see the gold that God has put in them. We may fail to honor them or recognize how we have room to learn from them. Over time, that can limit a ministry’s remit.
The thing about people is, they have a context. They have communities, regions, resources, wisdom that we lack. Building bridges starts small, with individuals who are closest to us. When we choose to go the distance with people and press in to understand people we don’t yet understand, we advance the Kingdom of God. As ambassadors, we should always be asking, “Is there a way I can bring this person on board?” It may not *always* be possible, but trying will grow you quite a network. When you grow with people over various years, walk alongside their families, their kids, you establish a level of trust that you can’t otherwise easily replicate.
Goal: Connect with a variety of people, relying on them as you develop long term friendships. Let alliances emerge organically.
Another way to botch your timings is by taking on false responsibility.
Letting Other People Rush You: Especially within a North American context, sometimes it feels like speed is all that modern Christians care about. Instead of letting wine mature, we’d rather train people to talk loudly, quickly, and without developing substance.
North America, we have got to learn a deeper value for process.
When you take on false responsibility, it can relate to fear of man and people pleasing. Maybe you’re feeling pressure to go quickly after a few early successes in ministry. Maybe you’re surrounded by a community of people who are eager to take advantage of your gifts, who don’t know their own limits.
This isn’t always true, but many of the people challenging you to rush are likely to be those who avoid going on their own process.
It is better for those people for you to model what long term process looks like. By abstaining from toxic pressure, your actions challenge them to do their own internal work. Model healthy expectations. You were not created to be consumed. Let Jesus kill the part of you that responds to toxic pressure and set a different standard.
Furthermore, there is a such thing as false responsibility for God. God doesn’t need your help to make things happen [artificially]. He has his own ways of doing things and will send you more details as you need it. God doesn’t need you to give him ideas. He’ll let you know.
Goal: Set a healthy, flourishing, vibrant pace for yourself and the people around you. Go on your own journey with the Lord and empower others to glean from observation.
Unclear about Assignment: Another aspect of false responsibility is that you make yourself responsible for everything, because you don’t actually know what to focus on and where your responsibility ends.
Consider assignments through the lens of school. Assignments have specific starting and ending points. They have guidelines, and they will relate to specific subjects. If you don’t know what the perimeters of your assignment is, you will be in hyper-vigilance. You will not be able to check out, because you wont know where to focus, and when you have permission to check out.
In order to not become burned out as a Watchman, you have to know exactly when a situation is no longer your problem. Just as actual Watchman sleep, eat, and generally relax at the end of their shift, so should prophets. Ask Jesus to show you the limits of your assignment, and savor your life when you’re not on the clock.
Everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.Ecclesiastes 3:13
Goal: Less is more, know when to let go.
Over-sharing Information: When you feel too responsible for others, you will feel like you have to report back to them. That is ultimately insanity.
Apart from trusted few, most people can’t handle more information. They are great observers of the process, but cannot logistically help you make decisions because they aren’t called to take that role in your life.
Privileged information is precious. Most people cannot handle timings. Timings fall under the category of privileged information that also includes names, dates, mates, babies, regions, countries, denominations, organizations, and length of assignments. As you mature, less is up for public consumption. That way, you can celebrate sharing with those who can both handle it and have earned your trust. Either way, recognize that first and foremost, you are accountable to God. Steward your revelation accordingly, and seek council from those who will help you obey him.
Goal: Celebrate sharing with the right people. Don’t feel the need to overshare with others.
Now, you may be aware of your need to go through the process with God, but feel paralyzed to action it. Believe it or not, Jesus stands poised, ready to help. You will need to put words on your fears and bring them before God. You will have to admit that you need help, to yourself, to God, and to others. You will have to stop relying on your own capacity over overcome and ask for God to be God, making a way. He will empower you to face your fears if you let him. Let him show you how his strength is sufficient in your weakness.
There are two main kinds fear-induced avoidance that we see in the bible.
Avoidance as doing the WRONG thing: Jonah as example of actively running from what God told him to do in Nineveh by getting on a boat to Tarshish (John 1:3).
Avoidance as not doing the RIGHT thing Barak as example of hesitating when God through Deborah told him to lead an army against Sisera (Judges 4:8).
These examples demonstrate that sin can be in both what we do and fail to do. However, if your fear of the Lord is greater than your fear of loss or fear of man, you will ask God for help, and he will give you give you the grace to overcome.
Goal: Ask God for help when you get scared, and name your fears. Fear the Lord and rely on his strength to overcome your fears.
Poor Record Keeping
Ultimately, poor record keeping is related to stewardship. Poor stewardship can relate to fear and chaos, so I’ve put it last.
Poor stewardship can happen when life gets chaotically busy. You have a sense that you need to move forward, but loud external voices and circumstances get in the way of your capacity to commune with God and respond in proportionate action. Yet in communion, you find both the clarity and the endurance for the road ahead. God will give you the capacity to diligently steward what he says, but first you must make seeking him first a non-negotiable rhythm. Whatever it takes, staying close to Jesus must be the first priority.
Miss your Visitation: With enough neglect, you will fail to inquire about important puzzle pieces (of revelation) God sends you. Not doing the internal work will cause you to miss the time when God is expecting you to respond. Or, you may miss opportunities to participate within your present timing. You must do your internal work to be aware of opportunities to build trust, to network, to dialogue with the Lord about your questions/concerns, or generally scout out the territory.
Delay: Furthermore, God will often delay telling you things or allowing things to happen until you are willing to put in some elbow grease. Actioning a word, even dipping your toes in the water, comes from faith. Faith is the currency of the Kingdom of God (Hebrews 11:6, Mark 11:22-24, 2 Corinthians 5;7). If you stay tuned into his voice and diligently track your revelation, you will be in position and ready for appointed times.
Goal: Stay close no matter what the cost. Ask God for help to block out distractions, redirect your schedule and rhythms, or free up time.
A Secret…and a Solution
Can I tell you a secret?
Usually when we think that God’s timing, God’s methods, or God’s purposes are insufficient, it’s more about our insecurity than God’s ways.
Are you insecure about your capacity to wait?
Are you insecure about your capacity to lead?
Do you believe that he will equip you to be the person you need to be to participate in this part of the process?
Jesus knew that you would need incredible amounts of help. Life as a Christian, from day one of salvation onwards, is a life of dependence. How much more so as a pioneer, trying things unprecedented?
The virgin birth is a classic example of God providing for a young leader going through something unprecedented. Mary was always going to have a potentially harder pregnancy than most women. When she went into labor, her body wouldn’t just be passing an infant through the birth canal for the first time, but it would do so without having any former experience of penetration. God let her spend time with Elizabeth, who would have had a better grid to understand what Mary because she was also going through a prophetic birthing experience. Mary continued to develop physical symptoms, she went through the potential loss of her betrothed, traveling extensively during her third trimester. And yet, God’s grace really was sufficient. Even when they had no community nearby, no one to confide in, no where to stay, and were figuring it out in the moment.
God’s power to help you through a challenging situation will always be greater than your power to untangle it. Learn to rest in his chords of love for you. Learn to trust the process and know that he wont put you in danger that he cant rescue you from. If you let him do the heavy lifting, the mountains really will move. But you have to let yourself be treasured and internalize that he will help you.
Do you need a fresh revelation of sonship, to know that God cares? Ask him to meet you again today in the process. He knows the exhaustion of the birthing process. Allow him to meet you in the fatigue, just as Jesus relied on the strength of his father.
Closing Thoughts: Accept the Unknown
Ultimately, as much as these puzzle pieces are helpful, they are not as beautiful as simply trusting God.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.1 Corinthians 13:8
You know, I bet Jesus chose not to know all the details sometimes. He had all access to information, as part of the Trinity. Even in his humanity, he could probably press in and discern just about anything he wanted to know with a little inquiry. And yet, I bet there were times that he preferred to not know and simply trust the Father.
If he is laid back enough to not even know his own wedding date (Matthew 24:36), he probably took the same posture in his time on Earth.
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