One thing I am always joking with people about is that sometimes I have a tendency to believe that I am 25 years old going on 70. As a one-liner that works our pretty good on the humor scale, but there is a lot of truth to that. I feel like a lot of times I want to accomplish the whole world, move mountains, and make huge impacts at the age of 25. I also sometimes feel like I am going to be 70 tomorrow and if I do not do something quick then I will miss out on my opportunity.
The crazy thing is that we know that this is not true by any stretch of the imagination. I often find myself thinking, why am I not a CEO, why and I not a politician, why have I not started my own business, and even more so, why can I not be one of the people on stage speaking at events like Catalyst. Then soon after this comes the humbling moment – the moment where I realize the answer to all of this is that I have nothing to share on stage in front of 10,000 people, I am young and lack a lot of real-world experience, and I have a lot to learn before I am ever at these huge milestones in life.
When I struggle through this, I find myself going back to a statement that has helped to shape a lot of my thoughts this past year – a statement that has had great influence in my life. This one statement actually came from someone that we normally expect light-hearted humor from, but this day was different. A little over a year ago, I received a phone call from Jon Acuff (the author of the Blog and Book, Stuff Christians Like). He was calling as I wanted to see about marketing on his site but he was great to talk to me for a bit longer and made one comment that I will never forget…
Jon simply said “everyone seems to want their Goliath moment without living in the wilderness (wresting the bears) first.” (paraphrased)
What this is alluding to is the story that many of us are familiar with – the story of David and Goliath. When I went back to read the story I find even more truth in what Jon said to me. For me (and so many people my age), I want so badly to have my moment where I stand in front of thousands and tackle Goliath. We want to win the battle and we want others to see us win.
For some of us, winning the battle is starting a multimillion-dollar company and being on the front of Fast Company Magazine. – For others, we want to become an expert on modern leadership like Jim Collins or John Maxwell and speak to thousands at conferences – for some, we want to start the next organization that creates an international phenomenon like Tom’s Shoes – And some want to be pastors of the greatest churches in America like North Point Community Church.
The thing is, we so easily forget that we cannot have the Goliath moment without living in the wilderness. David mentions to Saul that he had been face-to-face with lions and bears – he had fought off the beasts of the field, which made him ready to take a man; especially since he had God on his side. I would image that the fear of fighting a lion in the woods with no one to help or even hear may be more terrifying that wearing armor and facing a man in front of thousands – But I would also argue that if he had not lived through the wilderness then he would not have been ready for his big moment… His “God-Sized” moment.
What Jon said to me that day, I will never forget – it has been something that I constantly remember every time I have the thoughts of selfish desires of wanting to do something great… for me.
David was being prepared to do something great, and he did, but I would also say that he was not doing something great for himself, but he was doing something great for God. When David approached Goliath, he says “I come to you in the name of the lord of Hosts, the God of the armies if Israel…” David’s focus what not his own, he was having his Goliath moment for the glory of the one who prepared him and set him up for the moment.
The encouragement to me and to you is to be okay while you wait. Use the season you are in to prepare. Get ready for what God has in store for you – It may not happen tomorrow, but trust that God is preparing you. He has bigger plans than we can ever have – he will take you out of the wilderness and give you’re your Goliath moment… but you have to be prepared.
Don’t miss the joy of the wilderness. Wrestling Bears can be exhilarating. Live through it, walk through it, pray through it, and take advantage of it.
Have you lived though a “wilderness season?” What did you learn and did it help you win later?