Several years ago I had a watershed moment with God. It just so happened that it was in the aisle of a Goodwill store while I was shopping and it was a moment in which, I sheepishly have to admit, I blew. Big time.
I felt God clearly (and I mean, CLEARLY) tell me that I should go up to two women, who were urgently and desperately struggling to find a pair of shoes that fit and offer them my brown and pink polka-dotted rain boots. That I was wearing. On my feet.
Trust me, this was a weird situation. It was obvious to me that God had pointed these women out to me. It was obvious that He was prompting me to do this strange (STRANGE!!!!) thing. And guess what? I didn’t do it.
Afterward, I cried. I was devastated that I had succumbed to the fear that they would think I was crazy (a likely possibility). That I would look stupid (again, yes, most certainly). I was afraid this ask was too much. Too hard. Too weird. More than I could give. But I knew in my heart that I had missed a beautiful opportunity to say yes to God and leave the results up to Him.
There’s a good ending to that story though. It opened my eyes in a big way. I hated the feeling of not responding to God’s prompting that I made a commitment from that point on: I will listen. I will obey. Even if it costs me more than I think is reasonable. Even if it costs me my pride. Even if it costs me discomfort. Even if it costs me . . . more.
Since then, I’m relieved to report that I’ve never been asked to take my boots off and hand them to a total stranger in a store. But I have been prompted to do other things that interrupt my day — some small, some not-so-small — that I now count as opportunities to joyfully obey.
Recently, I sat in the Starbucks drive through for what seemed like an eternity. It’s like that these days — our quarantine days — when we’re willing to line up 15 cars deep in order to keep face-to-face interactions to a minimum. That’s when I saw an older gentleman and his wife waving me through in front of them. Giving up their spot. Holding the door, so to speak.
Gosh, what a nice thing to do, I thought. It was a simple thing they did but to me it felt . . . big. Especially now — when things feel so hard. And people seem to be divided. At odds. Separate. And that’s when I felt the nudge. “Pay for their order,” God whispered. “Show them this kindness. Let them know they are seen and appreciated. Just like they did for you.”
“Should I, or shouldn’t I?” I debated. “I can’t go around paying for everyone’s order wherever I go,” I pointed out to myself. (The human part of me loves being a loudmouth.) But the nudge continued. And whispered, “I’m not asking you to pay for everyone’s order wherever you go. I’m asking you to pay for theirs. Those people, right there.” And if I learned anything from the boot incident, I learned to listen carefully and do it. I didn’t need to know the reason or the outcome. I just needed to obey. Because God is so personal, isn’t He? Do this. Right now. For them.
As I pulled up to the window, I told the cashier that I felt called to cover the bill of the people behind me. I told them how sweet they were for letting me go ahead of them. The cashier was delighted because he had been hearing multiple people complaining about others cutting in front of them in line all morning. “But,” he said, “they have a pretty big order. Are you sure?”
And there it was. The opportunity to flex this faith muscle of mine. How did I want to respond? How do I want to respond moving forward?
I want to respond like this: Yes. I’m sure. Even if it costs me more. More than I predicted. More than I expected. More than I think is reasonable. More than feels comfortable. More than makes sense. If God calls me to it, I want to do it. Even if it costs me more.
We’ve just come out of a year that has tested everybody. Even if 2020 has been one of many blessings (which it has), it has also cost us plenty. Cost us more than we ever realized. My prayer is that going into 2021, when God whispers opportunities to follow Him, worship Him, glorify Him — whatever the cost — that I jump. I want to leap into this new year of unknowns and feel safe knowing that whatever He asks of me, He will handle the details.
Even if it involves my polka-dotted boots and a latte.