13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”
The above is taken from Judges 6 of the NIV Bible. It’s a story that is dear to me and one that I have tattooed on my body so that I can see it reflected back to me every time I look at myself in the mirror. It’s a tale of hope, of self-doubt, and of overcoming despite all odds being stacked against you.
All my life I have gone against the grain.
When I was a junior in high school I applied for my first job. I didn’t know what the protocol was so I submitted an application and when I didn’t hear from then a few days later, I called them to schedule my own interview. In 2006 I decided to go to a conference in Bogota, Colombia. I left not knowing where I was going to stay or who I was going to stay with. Hell, I didn’t even know who I was supposed to look for at the airport. In 2010 I committed to studying abroad for a semester in Italy. A week before my trip I was still short about $2000 and when I finally left I had about $100 to my name. When I decided I wanted to continue my studies about 10 hours from home, I moved away with enough to cover my first months rent and not much else.
Every single time I look back I always wonder, “What the hell was I thinking?” My best friend once described it as blindly jumping and not knowing where or if I’ll land.
The only thing I can describe it as is unrelenting faith.
I didn’t grow up in a religious household but I’ve always known with every fiber in my being, that things will just work themselves out.
Years later as a young adult I did become super involved in church, but the experience didn’t hinder or evolve my faith.
It was through and through all of my life experiences that constantly reassured me that I would be ok in the end. The story of Gideon resonates with me so much because everything he thought he needed in order to be successful in his quest, was taken from him.
If you’re not familiar with the story, allow me to paraphrase. God basically sends Gideon and his weak ass army to go defeat the biggest and baddest army. Like I said, I’m paraphrasing. Gideon, like any true realist, looks at the stats and begins to doubt. He doesn’t even really believe it’s God sending him, so he does what any realist would do and asks for facts. Well, tests him. Same difference.
Even when he musters up the courage to go and take his measly army, God continues to strip him of his warriers like an intense season of ANTM. And each time this dude only doubts more. Like if couldn’t do it before, how he’s supposed to defeat them now with only half of what he originally had. And so and so forth until wouldn’t you know it, dude did what God told him we was going to do.
Each time I take on a new endeavor, I take my measly resources and try to do it all in my own strength. I’m quickly knocked down a few pegs, and each time my resources become scarcer and scarcer leaving me wonder once more, “What the hell am I thinking?”
And yet here I am again.
This time with my new business endeavor. I’m doing what I can to make it work and day after day I keep getting knocked down. It’s hard. So, so hard. Some days I want to throw in the towel and go back to a 9-5 and a miserable life. Some days I can’t even muster the courage to move. Literally, not figuratively.
But something my cousin said to me the other day resonated with me. This one sentence jolted something in my memory.
“…it’s not sacrifice, it’s taking life into your own hands…”
I’m giving birth to this business of mine and of course it’s going to freaking hurt. Labor isn’t easy. Figuratively or literally. I guess in English, the closest translation would be “growing pains.”
These dolores de parto are neccesary. Nothing good ever comes easy, and the more pain I have now, the greater the reward will be once this is all over.
While it would be nice to have everything handed to me, it wouldn’t hold that same value had I not felt these pains.
Gideons success came in the middle of the night. My only hope is that when mine comes, it’s during the day so I can accept it fully awake and with open arms.
“Faith is not believing that God can do it, it’s knowing that He will.”