How does one know if something is from God or from or own thoughts, feelings, emotions? We are sure that this is an age old question.
It is one that we have struggled with dozens, if not hundreds, of times.
What college does God want me to attend? What kind of car should I buy? New or used? Luxury model or standard? Should I take this new job or just be happy where God has me now? Should I marry this individual or wait for someone different, perhaps better? The thoughts and the choices seem to be endless. How does one know what is from God?
We here at The Big White Barn have posed just that question. Even a month into the project we are still asking each other that same question.
But then I (Frank) am reminded of a scene from the movie Chariots of Fire where a simple answer to this question is given. The main character is being asked by his sister why he is running a race in lieu of going into the mission field. His answer is striking.
“I believe God made me for a purpose. When I run I feel his pleasure. To give that up will be to hold him in contempt. It's not just fun. To win is to honor him.”
We believe God gave us our mind, our will, and our emotions. When something is on our heart day and night, when it is something you can’t go more than one day without thinking about, when it lights up your mind with imagination and excitement, then that is something God has given you.
Some things, I don’t think God cares too much about. What color hand towels, which way should I drive to work today? Chilis or Applebe’s? But in moments of big decisions, (i.e. the mission field or running track), what sets your heart on fire to think about? What can you do, not anyone else? What are the things you can not go one day without thinking of and dreaming about? It doesn't even have to be just one thing. Just anything and everything that stokes your fires and causes you to plan and dream.
My daughter loves gymnastics. She does flips day and night. She will handstand on a wall after I've told her not to and after I've disciplined her dozens of times. I know now that she does this not to be disobedient but because God gave her this desire. For her to quell that in the slightest way would be to deny what God has put inside of her. I watch her in her dance class and see her helping the younger kids get better at gymnastics, I see her smile as she talks about gymnastics. I see her work hard at school in order to get the privilege to go to gymnastics class. That beauty, that desire, and that love are all from God. Gymnastics is her driving passion.
When I awake in the morning, I think of the beauty the Big White Barn will bring. When I think of couples getting married there and enjoying the feel of the open spaces, the country ,and the gift of family in one big area, I know God has put this project into our hearts.
When I can visualize and see my marriage getting better as my wife and I work together in areas we have never worked well together in, I know this is from God. When my oldest daughter wants to dance on the dance floor and envisions her friends enjoying social events with her, I know this is from God. When I see my wife being totally excited about decorating and serving others, when I imagine us dancing the night away joyously, I know building The Big White Barn is a gift from God.
I encourage you to think about and identify your own passion as you come share ours with us. We firmly believe that the more we live and engage with our God-given passions and talents, we enable others to do the same.