By Kelli Wild
Are you feeling a sense of being “called” to something? Maybe questioning if God has a fresh assignment for you? When God begins to call us to a new assignment, we will usually find ourselves facing three predictable struggles.
In the book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah discovered some devastating news. His people had been attacked and thrown into exile. The wall surrounding their community, which was of deep significance, had been destroyed; and God asked Nehemiah to rebuild it. Upon receiving his new assignment, Nehemiah, experienced these three predictable struggles.
- You will question your positioning.
Maybe you feel stuck in a current job, are facing personal battles, or are at home with small children and have little spare time. It is normal to look at our current circumstances and question how we will ever get where we would need to go in order to fulfill what God is asking of us.
Nehemiah experienced this. He was not a person of means. He was not a professional wall builder. In fact, he was pretty stuck. He worked for the King, and you can’t just quit that job.
His solution – he deeply sought the Lord and prayed for favor. He leaned into God’s sovereignty at a whole new level.
Despite how his circumstances appeared, Nehemiah knew that God would use exactly where he was to get him where he needed to go. In the meantime, he fulfilled his current duties while waiting for God to orchestrate the next step.
- You will feel ill-equipped.
In Nehemiah 3, the massive project had begun. Many came together building their section of the wall, each being listed by name. Some appear to be community members of clout. But there was one man, Hananiah, who is my favorite.
Nehemiah 3:8b says, ”one of the perfume makers made repairs next to that…”
That’s it. That’s all it says. Hananiah “made repairs next to that.” I’m pretty sure when you are apprenticed as a perfume maker you are not exactly a wall building expert. I can imagine Hananiah thinking, “Um, I have no idea what I’m doing.” “I think you got the wrong guy.” Maybe others thought that about him, too. Sound familiar?
The sovereign God of the universe used a perfume maker who said yes.
We can trust God to give us the tools and training we need when we are obedient to his assignment. The feeling of being ill-equipped is what humbly keeps us clinging to God, so he will get the glory, not us!
- You will be attacked.
Ugh. This is painful to write, but it is true. When you say yes to building your section of the wall, the enemy of our souls takes note. Do not be surprised by this.
While building the wall, Nehemiah and his people were constantly under attack. The scripture says they learned how to build with one hand while carrying their weapon with the other (Nehemiah 4:17). They took a proactive stance.
Put yourself in the place to learn how to fight in the spirit. God will often begin to do some inner work to prepare you for what is ahead. Soak in God’s word and surround yourself with those who have gone before you, as you become battle ready.
For some of you there will not be a manual on how to go about the work you are being called to do. You may be asked to oversee the entire project, as Nehemiah was. Or you may be asked to come alongside someone else’s vision, pick up your hammer, and build your part.
If you are questioning your positioning, feeling ill-equipped or facing attack – you’re in good company! I invite you to join the rest of us perfume makers, and say yes to the section you are being asked to build.