I tossed and turned for three sleepless nights as my mind wrestled with a big decision. I prayed and analyzed the options, made lists of pros and cons, talked to trusted friends, and yet? There I was again. Another sleepless night with a heavy heart and no clear answer. The good parts were equally good and the hard parts were equally hard. It felt impossible.
And it was. It was a change in the course I’d been assuming God had for me, and I didn’t know how to process it. While my prayer in those early morning hours was for a simple “choose path A,” God answered me in other, more subtle ways.
Where I desired a quick answer, God gave me a slow refining.
The decision would be made, but in the meantime? Oh, there were things God knew I needed to see about myself. He knew I needed to face some big fears and insecurities, and He knew I needed to learn to trust the hearts of those around me, to truly believe that He had put people in my life who are FOR me.
I needed to believe that God was for me, too. That no matter how hard the decision felt, it wasn’t happening because He was done with me, but because He had plans to use a new season in a new way. My heart wasn’t ready to move on from the very comfortable position God had placed me in, but He had prepared me to take a new step onto an unknown path.
And then God reminded me of the story of Nehemiah — a man who felt so unsettled in his soul about the destruction of his home town that he risked his life to ask the king for permission to go and rebuild the walls of his city. With God’s favor, Nehemiah’s request was granted, so he gathered a team of men and began to rebuild what had once been destroyed.
They all started out doing the same work.
But when opposition came and Nehemiah needed to refocus and realign his workers, half the men worked and half stood guard. Both important positions, and both necessary. But I wonder if any of the men looked around and thought their job wasn’t as important? I wonder if the guards felt left out of the building process. They were behind the scenes now, where success looked like a quiet, uninterrupted day, where before they could point at their section of the wall when the work was done and say, “I did that!”
I don’t think they did — but I think I might have.
I’m learning there are seasons where we’re called to do big work for the kingdom, and seasons where God asks us to step into a new role to support the work being done by others. Both valuable in His eyes, both necessary.
What season are you in?
Are you being called to build, to create, and be on the ground? Or is God asking you to serve and protect?
Are you a guard, protecting the workers, supporting, praying, standing firm against opposition and serving quietly? Or are you getting your hands dirty in the hard work of creating for God’s kingdom?
No matter where you feel God is asking you to serve right now, I need you to know this (because I needed to hear it)– we need both. You need to surround yourself with guards if God has called you to work because there is nothing the enemy of our souls wants more than to oppose the work of the Kingdom. And if you have been called to protect, seek out some women God is calling to do the work and stand with them. Cheer for them, encourage them, and pray for them. Recognize the work they’re doing and intercede on their behalf . . . because this work?
We can’t do it alone.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Great thought-provoking post! So many times I think I am only doing God’s work if I’m actually involved in the “doing”. I am an “I want to roll up my sleeves and get dirty doing the work” kind of person. Yet, God does call me to seasons of standing guard, encouraging others, being a prayer warrior. This is no less than the “doing” part. In fact, at times, it may be more integral to the success of getting the job done than those rolling up their sleeves. The bottom line is being content in whatever roll God calls us to play, because when we are in the center of His will for our lives, we are truly in the sweet spot. Thanks for getting me reflecting this morning!
“The bottom line is being content in whatever roll God calls us to play” – so well said, friend. So grateful for you!
Crystal, what a passionate post. Thank you for the reminder that no matter what we’re doing—working or guarding—both are equally important. And you’re right, there’s no room for comparison in the kingdom. We’re all valued, treasured by our heavenly Father. I needed the reminder that though I may not be actively involved in ministering in our church, I am praying for those who are, and I’m living out the calling God has on my life right now to write. He uses us in different ways. To choose contentment with where He has us is to walk in peace.
LOVED your post. I’ll be mulling on it today. 🙂
You are so very valued, treasured, and inspiring to me, Jeanne 🙂
Crystal, Echoing Bev’s reply. I like to do both, the rolling up my sleeves doing physical work and offering encouragement to others. He understands me well and has provided an opportunity to do both, where I can roll up my sleeves and also offer support and pray for others.
A thought-provoking post, thanks.
Isn’t it so wonderful that God does give us opportunities to serve in all our strengths at different points? He doesn’t make us pick or choose, we just have to wait for His timing!
I love this, Crystal.
Beautifully written. 🙂
Thank you Brenda 🙂
I LOVE your insights on Nehemiah! You are so right…”because this work? We can’t do it alone.”
I have been on the wall working but currently find myself on the ground. This perspective has really helped me see it differently. I am not just being idle. I’m tasked with guarding! So…today I am picking up my weapons and going to guard like a boss! 🙂
Yes! Like a BOSS, girl! Get it 🙂
Joanne Peterson says
I’m in a position now where I would be doing both. I have been asked to really be stretched, and am praying what I am to do. I feel called to go in a particular place, but also have been challenged to expand this, and would be mentored, and also be given direction, etc. This is all so intimidating, God-sized, but also my passion, and another woman’s passion who is in a position of authority and has resources to get things done. This also has been in my heart for many years and is something that just doesn’t go away. It is one of those things, dreams that just keeps coming up. I keep seeing the need. This dream would help other people, but would also fill a need for me.
I see through this post that this I’m being asked to do can also be done by other people in a support role, and I in turn would be in a support role. This all will be done in steps, not all at once. This would almost be like a ladder of steps. But, one small step at a time.
I am in the stage of asking for confirmation…..and also wrestling. This is so helpful!
Thank you Crystal!
Praying for you Joanne, that you would receive that confirmation!
What a wonderful concept Crystal. (Thank-you for the reassurance)
To create a balance we do need both. It’s reassuring to be reminded that it’s also okay to be versatile. It just depends on where we are at that present moment to determine the role we play.
It’s so reassuring to know that our seasons are not life-sentences and God does want us to use all our gifts – just in His time 🙂
heather marshall says
Oh wow this was so timely and spot on… Love me some Nehemiah : ) Thanks Crystal for sharing your heart and a totally new way to look at an age old bible story : )
Thank you Heather!
Love this so much! I have always struggled with understanding my own path and how God uses me! Especially when I see Him using others in the way I think He should use me — I’m not even sure that sentence makes sense 🙂
I’m learning though that my right now is for His purpose and if that right now is building or guarding I’m to go “all in” with my desire to serve because ultimately it has nothing to do with me but everything to do with HIM!
That sentence makes total sense 😉 Love you, friend – you do amazing, beautiful work for God.
Crystal – God brought me to this post today so I would finally hear, take to heart and be encouraged with the struggle I am facing – you are a blessing…thank you.
Praying for you this morning, Donna – so grateful you were encouraged!
Thank you so much, Crystal – very much appreciated. God Bless!!
This story has blessed my heart. Lately I have been going through so much at work and questioning if it is all worth it! My zeal and passion left as I saw so much hypocrisy around the work. The dilema has been that I work for a church and it has been very hard to pray when I see all that goes on and schedule living very little to no time for personal growth. And i am at a place were I wonder is this job worth it! But also feel that the saddest testimony in life is say “A church is a worst place to work at” . Praying for guidance as I go through this season of so much questioning..
Beth Williams says
Prayers for you Bridget. May God give you the wisdom and guidance you need to know if you should leave this job. Churches are just made up of people–sinful people and none of us are perfect. Prayers for peace and contentment no matter the outcome!
Nancy Ruegg says
Wise words, Crystal. You’ve given me a new appreciation for this chapter in my life when I am in a supportive role. Just as you’ve described, I’m encouraging, praying, and standing alongside. Thank you for pointing out the value and importance of the guards!
Beth Williams says
Great post! It is true that we need prayer warriors, & behind the scenes supporters as well as the workers. Not everyone is called to go on mission trips, but we can all pray, give money or do “guard duty”. Usually I want to be in the thick of things rolling up my sleeve doing God’s work and forget that the little things matter also!
Going through a situation like this at work. I must remind myself that even the little things matter to God!
Rose Marie says
Absolutely Powerful and humbling. Thank you. May God continue to define us all as part of the Greater work He has planned for the Kingdom. Thank you Crystal for sharing your heart.I have been truly blessed.