Step Out of the Boat Into a Relationship With Jesus Christ
The calling of God sometimes asks us to step out of the boat of our life by faith. The call of God asks us to forsake our comfort zones at times and walk by faith into the mystery of the Kingdom of God. The call of God asks us to step into a relationship with Jesus Christ. As women of faith, let us be sensitive to God’s voice and calling.
I know it is not easy. I know following after the call of God is challenging. I know there is a deep desire inside of our being to have the answers and to know exactly how the call is going to unfold. It can be chilling to follow a light in a dark world. There are so many times we want the entire room to be lit for us to see. We want the answers! Unfortunately, life does not always give us the answers. Life does not always tell us the exact plan. Sometimes we are called to walk by faith. It often feels scary. It often feels like such a strange journey.
What does it mean to walk by faith? At the center of walking by faith we come to realize our core identity is founded in Jesus Christ. The spirit of God leads us. Walking by faith is about trusting God to unfold our calling. It does not happen over night. A calling is unfolded over a lifetime through the experiences which shape and form us.
In my own life I have come to realize a calling can unfold in a way one never expected. I could not have imagined my life today five years ago. I was in seminary and had just moved to Missouri. I had left my family, home church, and everything I knew and loved. I came with $300 in my bank account and stepped out on faith. I felt a little like Abraham when God called him to go to a land and people he never knew. As soon as I arrived at seminary it felt like everything fell and crashed. My car broke, my living arrangements were expensive and not ideal, and I struggled with why God had called me away from everything I knew into an unknown land. God was planning. God was preparing. God was calling. God was unfolding. At times it felt slow. At times it felt unbearable. At times it felt overwhelming. I did not always trust. There were tears. There were days and nights of uncertainty. The first year was challenging. It was a process of deconstruction, deep study of the Word, and reflecting on my life and calling. I had no idea how God was going to unfold my life, ministry, and calling. I still do not know how it will all unfold, but I trust God. God has opened so many doors. I am incredibly grateful for the experiences God has allowed to enter into my life to help me grow as a person, minister, and woman of God. One of the most profound experiences that shaped me was living and ministering in Yellowstone National Park for a summer. It was such a wonderful experience. I learned much about ministry and myself. When I returned I was changed forever. I had found a new sense of authority in my pastoral calling. God did not stop in Yellowstone though. God kept calling me to step out of the boat in faith.
I could share so many stories of stepping out of the boat in faith and share how God has been faithful. When my eyes have stayed focused on Jesus, my steps have never slipped. It is when our focus shifts away from Jesus our steps change direction. I believe it is so important for women ministers and leaders to first have a relationship and foundation with Jesus Christ. This must always be at the core of ministry. God, help me to always put you first. Help me to always have you at the focus of who I am and everything I do. This is my prayer and greatest desire. There is no other God. There is none beside you. As I walk on the waters of uncertainty, with questions, with doubts, with fears, with gratefulness, I trust you. You are my foundation. You are my calling.
We cannot step out of the boat without a foundation. The waters are too treacherous. The territory is unclaimed. The battles are hard. Our foundation and relationship with God allows us to stand when we do not have the strength to stand. It gives us the courage to remain faithful when others leave. It gives us the fortitude to withstand the struggles, trials, and painful experiences of ministry and leadership. It gives us wisdom, grace, and direction. The relationship is what allows us the freedom to be who God has called us to be. The foundation is what allows us to minister when we do not know the answers or are aware of the needs. God’ Spirit gives us the words to say. God gives us the message for the people through our relationship and foundation. Foundation brings vision. Foundation brings faithfulness. Foundation and relationship produces fruit. We are called to step out of the boat in faith and follow after Jesus. Case and point: follow after Jesus. We are not called to follow after ourselves, fame, fortune, popularity, titles, or anything else, which might distract us from our calling and purpose. We are called to relationship with Jesus. This is where it all starts and ends.
Copyright 2016 Crystal Schmalz