A Piranha in the Woods
A school of piranhas would be a scary thing to come across swimming in the Amazon. It actually would be scary to come across in a swimming pool or my bath tub. We’ve heard stories and seen the movies and TV shows of these bloodthirsty little fish. Horrifying to say the least. As vicious as this school of fish is, it wouldn’t scare me at all if I came across it while on a hike in the woods. The same is true of a great white shark in a desert or a lion on the hunt in the middle of the Pacific. The key word for this is environment.
I recently read the book “The Barbarian Way” by Erwin McManus. Great book about living a bold, unwavering faith for Christ, I highly recommend it. In one part of this book, he talks about his church, Mosaic Church in Los Angeles. He talks about the culture they have worked to create encouraging dreamers, artist, musicians, poets, etc. He also talks about the idea that too many times church is a place where dreams, and dreamers, go to die. I was convicted in that moment. I’ve always tried to create a very open environment that not only allows, but encourages those I lead to be themselves but I realized it wasn’t quite as open as I thought. A couple of days later I had a heart to heart with one of my leaders and just confessed to her that I have held her back. The thing about it is, she never felt that way and much of what I was confessing was in my heart. I had never verbalized any of this or acted out towards her to discourage her.
For me, the shear act of confessing these things was like removing poison from my bloodstream. Unconfessed sin is like that, an infection or a poison that will wear you down. James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (emphasis added) Confession needs to be a regular occurrence for me, for all Christ followers.
For this young lady, even if she never once felt hindered which she probably did in some way, she now knows that I believe in her, in her dreams and I’ll do what I can to support and encourage her. I know what that was like for me when I was told I could dream big. It allowed me to come alive.
Howard Thurman said, “Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
That is so true of Christ followers, especially of Christ followers. How can we live an abundant life if we are bound by chains or afraid to fly?
The next step is to continue to do this, not for her but for everyone who falls under my leadership. That sounds well enough but there’s some things that come with that, you can’t always dictate the outcome. If you give them the freedom to follow their dreams, you have to also give them the freedom to not follow yours. They may, but when you believe the same Spirit that is speaking and moving within you is within them also, you’ll want their dreams to come to be. Not only that you’ll encourage and support those dreams for their “abundant life” but also, and more importantly, for God’s glory.
I ask this in closing, do you dream? What God sized vision do you have? Secondly, do you allow those you lead to dream or do you try to keep them organized, in line, and realistic?