Social media so often is a place of bad news, hurtful words, and time wasting. Yet, I’m convinced God is active in our online world. I’ve met Him in posts on my Facebook feed, tweets, blog posts, and even making suggestions on Amazon.
I recently saw a graphic someone shared titled “Life Verses for every Myers-Briggs Type.” Intrigued, I clicked on the picture to see my life verse. It was: “Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” (Luke 14:28)
As soon as I read the words, an “ouch” escaped my lips. I know this was meant to be something fun, but the verse was convicting. God spoke straight to my heart through this Facebook post.
I am a project planner and manager by nature and by trade. I plan everything. I have mounds of spreadsheets for budgets, timelines, and task lists. I want to have a full plan laid out before I begin, with an understanding that I have sufficient resources (time, money, skills) to complete the project.
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A plan seems essential to reach our goals, yet it doesn’t leave any room for faith.
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” ~Robert F. Kennedy
Jesus goes on in this passage to explain:
“Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it goodbye, you can’t be my disciple.” Luke 14:33 (The Message)
We can’t cling to our own plans if we want to truly follow Jesus. We sometimes need to step out against all odds, even when we calculate that failure is likely, in order to follow the dreams God has for our lives.
Hard stuff for a planner like me. Hard stuff for most of us, no matter our Myers-Briggs type.
The risks of following Jesus and stepping out in such faith are huge. Are we ready and willing to take such risks?
Jesus gives us two examples in this passage. One of a man building a tower who wants a plan to make sure he’s able to finish what he’s started.
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’” Luke 14:28-30 (NIV)
When we step out in faith to follow a dream God’s laid on our hearts, we want to know we really can achieve that goal and finish what we start. We’re fearful to make that public step forward because we don’t want to be ridiculed if we don’t have enough skills, resources, time, etc. to be successful and complete what we start.
The second example is a king who doesn’t want to step out in faith for fear he’ll fail and lose the battle.
“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.” Luke 14:31-32 (NIV)
The risk of failure too often holds us back. We fear the ramifications of failure, so calculate the costs of each step we consider taking.
“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.” ~Soren Kierkegaard
Jesus concluded these examples by saying:
“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” Luke 14:33 (NIV)
If we truly want to follow Jesus, be his disciples, and chase the calling he has for each of us, we have to lay down our plans and our fears to step forward boldly in faith.
Stop counting the costs, and instead imagine the possibilities.
After all, what is the cost of not following Jesus? The cost of playing it safe and sticking to your own plans and resources? The cost of not taking chances to live the life Jesus wants for you, and instead settling for the life that’s known and safe?
“Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do.” ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr
I love this song, “The Cost” by Rend Collective. This video shows a broader perspective on the cost of following Jesus. A great reminder that maybe the steps we’re being asked to take aren’t so big compared to steps others are already taking.
Have you counted the costs of following where Jesus leads? What about the costs of not following him? Are you ready to let go of your plans and your control and instead step behind Jesus in faith? Let’s walk together where Jesus leads, trusting in his plans, his provision, his timing, and his possible. Are you with me?
Micah Maddox says
Kathryn, thank you for this great reminder to step out and take the risk! God is so faithful, yet I often let fear (or a lack of the big picture) get in the way of doing what I know He has called me to do. I loved this post! Visiting today from Kelly’s “RaRalinkup
Thanks, Micah! I, too, am trying to conquer fear and step forward in faith, trusting God knows the big picture even when I have no idea where He’s leading me.
Mary Geisen says
Amen and yes to these words. They ring true on so many levels for me. First, they speak to where I am currently in life. Ready to say “yes” to what God has planned and not knowing what this looks like. Second, the words hit home because I am a planner like you. Letting go of my plans and stepping out into the unknown is what beyond my comfort level. Thank you for sharing these words to remind me that following Jesus is all about letting go and not knowing what it next. Have a blessed week!
I’m in such a similar place – my heart is ready to jump in with both feet where God’s calling me, only it’s not clear yet where to jump. It’s been a journey of learning trust and patience. I feel like I’m approaching the jumping-off point and am starting to feel nervous (and excited) about what that might mean. I think we just have to take a deep breath and jump.
Mary Geisen says
I am so glad you shared this at The Weekend Brew. There are more people who need to hear these words. I will be sharing something similar for a devotion for the Five Minute Friday retreat in two weeks. I would love your prayers.
I will pray for you! I’ve heard from so many who are feeling called to take bold steps – but those steps are so hard. Gives me comfort to have such company in this journey. Wish I could be there to hear you.
I love the Robert F. Kennedy quote, and also the admonition to stop counting the cost so much and dare to step forward. I’m a planner and a practical girl myself, and sometimes the “what if?”s and “this is impossible”s slow me down. It’s good to balance over-planning with a bit of daring!
It’s so hard for me not to play it safe, balancing risks and resources. Hard to just trust God to provide. I think a little more daring is what God has planned for me -yikes!
Tiffany Parry says
“Stop counting the costs, and instead imagine the possibilities.” That isn’t easy for me. Much like you I’m a planner – a person of order. But God has really been encouraging to engage trust and dream with Him. Part of that is knowing that He has equipped me and that while the work is mine, the results are His. Thanks for more confirmation and encouragement to hold fast to the dream. Blessed to be your neighbor at #coffeeforyourheart.
God’s working on me, too! Still have a few more controls I haven’t let go of yet, but I’m getting closer, knowing He’s really in control. Hold fast to your dream and trust that the unknown is already known to God.
Hi Kathryn – what a great post – one to really make me think a while – and the quotes you use – very powerful. We’re neighbours this week at the Coffee and Conversation Link Up – I wrote on our plans vs God’s plans as well this week. Thank you for your words today.
Thanks, Tracey! Our plans versus God’s plans – something I think we all struggle with! Hard sometimes to convince ourselves that God’s plans are better and worth taking risks to follow.
Elizabeth Spencer says
Goodness…this hit so close to home for me. “If we truly want to follow Jesus, be his disciples, and chase the calling he has for each of us, we have to lay down our plans and our fears to step forward boldly in faith.” Yes, indeed! And also, there is the challenge of making sure the voice “calling” me is God’s and not my own pride, ego, and need for affirmation. Thank you for sharing this…stopping by from Grace and Truth.
Yes, definitely a process to discern what voice is calling – and then to trust in the next steps that God gives us.
Kelsey Ferguson says
This is SO good, Kathryn. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your post on the Grace & Truth link-up. Recently, God has really been working on my heart in this area. Have you read Lara Casey’s Make It Happen? Her book has really been the catalyst for me taking too-big-for-me-to-do-alone steps and trusting in God. Thanks for sharing your heart with us! 🙂
I have not read that book, but sounds like I need to add it to my list to read next. Definitely feeling called to take some of those too-big-for-me-alone steps – can use some more encouragement. Thanks!!
Making the Most Blog says
Thanks for sharing your thoughts today. So often I catch myself second guessing my dreams, because it doesn’t seem like I have the resources, but this encourages me to continue the work God has me doing where I am. 🙂
Kathryn, so there with you. The Lord has pushed me out of my comfort zone this past year. Guess what? I’m finding it really to be such a blessing 🙂 Grateful to have stopped here this morning!
Amazing how God works – the thing that initially scares us, ends up being a blessing and a source of new energy.
LISA MORELAND says
Here, here! Well done. I truly welcome the added wisdom of notable figures such as Kennedy, in combination with scripture. That format ties Biblical teaching to contemporary living. Connecting with you from Weekend Brew.
Tania Vaughan says
Such an encouraging post speaking straight into my heart and my hesitations in fulfilling God’s plan for me – time to step out and start building 🙂 #RaRaLinkup
Pat Fenner says
love, Love, LOVE this! I bookmarked it for “future encouragement” 😉
How I wish I would have been more willing to fail earlier in my life…yet I know He uses all things for His good. So I press on each day. And teach my kids to do the same!!
So glad you shared on Coffee & Conversation this week – hope to see you again next time!
Lily Lau says
Such a rewarding post… thank you for sharing, Kathryn 🙂