Since deciding to take our message of unconditional love and acceptance to the owners of Dallas’ erotic massage parlors, I admit I have struggled. A lot!
I am human. I do not have incredible faith – far from it, in fact. I have agonized these past few weeks over our goals for this new program. When you have a nonprofit, you must have goals. You must know exactly what you want to accomplish, how you are going to do it, and how you will know success when you see it. It’s how you justify funding and all that good stuff.
That’s not unreasonable, of course. It makes a lot of sense. But what do you do when what you’re setting out to do is rare? What do you do when your program is perhaps even controversial?
What if you can hear all the reasons why such a program shouldn’t be attempted, and those reasons sound pretty convincing? They’re the owners. They are in charge of the business. They are “them”. They won’t respond to our message of unconditional love and acceptance.
What do you do when what your humanity is telling you conflicts with what God is asking you to do?
If you’re me, you brood, and brood, and brood. When you finish brooding, you brood some more! Then you add in some self-inflicted stress. Then you continue thinking about it all over again. I’m really, really good at doing that. Add that to a long list of habits I am working to break.
A few nights ago, I realized the obvious: I was getting nowhere with all of this thinking. I finally admitted that my faith is too small. My imagination is too weak. Whatever God has planned goes far beyond what I can envision.
The truth is, I have a lot of secret goals for our new program. My faith is so small, however, that I can’t voice them out loud. I can’t commit to them. I need proof. I need proof that the owners will be open to such a simple message of unconditional love and acceptance. Yes, the managers have responded to us, and some even truly like us. I can't deny that, and I should be able to point to that and go to the owners with confidence.
However, my faith is small. There’s no denying that. Even with all the breakthroughs over the past 1.5 years or so, I still need God to show me what is possible.
My faith will take me and The Flashlight Project’s outreach team to the doors of the erotic massage parlors. We will ring the doorbell, we will have an open heart for anyone who opens the door, and we will do what we can to get our message into the hands of the owners. We will not treat the owners as “them”. We will treat them exactly the same as we have treated the managers.
I will do my best with what I have. I will try to be a good leader – and my ability stops there. God will have to meet me in the parlors and show me what He has planned.
My inspiration - and quite honestly, what keeps me going when my faith falters, as it has these past few weeks – is Isaiah 45: “…to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: I will go before you and will level the mountains. I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron…so that you may know that I am the Lord.”
It doesn’t get any clearer than that.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. May we all know God in our lives and give what little we have in His service so that He may do big things and let the world know who He is.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!