At Gateway Church in Austin, we continued our series Freebird: Live Free. Work Free.
In Austin, find a Freebird Small Group here.
Apply what you learn with these Next Steps.
You can listen to the message Rick Shurtz shared here. You can listen to the message I shared at Gateway South here:
Here are notes from Rick’s message:
“There’s a nerve in each of us, that if you touch it, we do strange things.
It’s the… This can’t be it …nerve.
- This can’t be it.
- I can’t do just this.
- I dreamed of more than this.
- My life can’t just be what it is right now, or a modest continuation of what it is right now.
- There’s got to be more than this.
When you touch a physical nerve in a person’s body, the body reacts, right? Some of you know this who have back pain. There’s a herniated disc bumping up against a nerve. That nerve gets touched by that disc, and it sends shutters of pain down your leg.
This nerve I’m talking about–the “this can’t be it” nerve gets touched, and we react.
The This Can’t Be It nerve suffers from a reality. If the nerve were triggered, and it didn’t matter how we reacted, if we could just do anything in response to that nerve being touched, then all might be fine.
The nerve gets touched, and we just make a change. We just do something different. Now it might seem like we should be able to do that. We should be able to do whatever it is we want to with our one and only lives.
Sounds great in theory. Reality is a bit different, though, isn’t it.
Time and again, I talk with people, and they describe their “This can’t be it” feelings, and then they describe the realities of the circumstances of their lives, and they tell me, “I just can’t make a change right now.”
What keeps us from making the change we need to make?
Responsibility. You see what you’d really like to do, you’d love to do it NOW, but people are depending upon you.
Trajectory. This is the challenge you face when you see what you’d really like to do with your life, but it’s going to take years to qualify yourself to do it.
Commitments. Maybe you’ve signed a contract with your company, and it’s going to take a year or two to fulfill what you committed to fulfill.
Vision without Opportunity. This is when you know what you’d like to do. You have a vision for it, but the right doors just haven’t opened for you. You’re doing everything you can to get there, but it’s not happening NOW.
When you touch the “this can’t be it” nerve, and you then bump up against one of these realities, it can be hard to thrive in our current days.
- We feel trapped.
- We feel like we’re missing out.
- We may even feel irresponsible.
What do we do with this?
What do we do with the “This Can’t be It” nerve, when that nerve gets triggered, and for one reason or another, we can’t react NOW.”
Sometimes we react in dangerous ways. The classic example is the midlife crisis. Or the quarter life crisis.
Sadly, lives are at times wrecked by this nerve.
- Good careers get wrecked by it.
- Marriages get wrecked by it.
- Addictions are fueled by it.
I want to know what to do when the “This Can’t Be It” nerve gets frustrated, agitated, and inflamed.
There may be no more significant of a place I feel trapped as when I have a vision for something, and that vision can’t be fully realized NOW.
David was shepherding sheep. Then one day Samuel anointed David as King of Israel. (See 1 Samuel 16).
Sort of, because he was given God’s anointing to be king, and given a vision for being king, but Saul was in fact still sitting on the throne, and he would be for many, many years.
David had the exhilaration of vision and opportunity, coupled with the bleating of sheep reminding him that he was just a shepherd boy with a big dream.
God seems to make a habit of creating significant amounts of space between the giving of vision and desire and the fulfillment of vision and desire.
Roll the clock forward a few years. David is now a young man. Not only is he now a young man, but he is revered by his country. He is still not king, but many people wish that he was.
Saul knows this and hates it. He hates it so much that he makes it his mission to rid the earth of David. He can’t stand David. He’s threatened by David, and he wants him gone.
David is literally on the run from Saul. He has a handful of loyal followers around him, protecting him from Saul, but he’s a fugitive. He’s living in the wilderness, dodging Saul and his army.
There comes a day, though, when David has his chance. And it’s in this moment, that I’m convinced we catch a glimpse of why God stretched things out for David. David is developing a specific muscle in preparation for being King.
“Saul went into a cave to relieve himself.” – 1 Samuel 24:3
Saul’s got to go! What he doesn’t know, though, is that David and his men are in that very cave. They’re back in the back, and in walks Saul, and he drops he robe to do what we all must do!
David’s men whisper to him…
- Now’s your chance!
- This is your destiny!
- He’s in the most vulnerable position he could be in!
- Go and claim your throne while Saul is on his “throne”!
David’s response is both powerful and telling:
“The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to … the Lord’s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the Lord’s anointed. So David persuaded his men with these words and did not permit them to attack Saul. And Saul rose up and left the cave and went on his way.” – 1 Samuel 24:6-7
David recognized, there was a day when God anointed this man king of Israel, and God had not yet removed him as king of Israel, and at no point had God said that it would be acceptable to assassinate the king of Israel.
And so David doesn’t do it.
Instead, he sneaks behind Saul and cuts a small portion of his robe. Once Saul leaves the cave, David goes and stands at the mouth of the cave and yells out to Saul displaying that he could have killed him but didn’t.
To which Saul could do nothing but humbly return to his home.
Now you know this path.
You have a vision, and there’s this short cut that you could take.
The “This can’t be it” nerve is touched, and you see a path where you could do what you want and you could do it NOW!
But there’s this cost involved.
- It would cost you your integrity.
- Or it would cost you your responsibility.
- Or it would cost you the wellbeing of people you love.
You’re in that cave, the sword is in your hand, and you could do this, and you could do it NOW!
But in your Spirit you know…
Yes, to the vision… But, not like this.
We’ve been talking about three things in this series…
“These three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:13
Interesting thing about faith. There are times faith empowers action.
We step out and we do things because we have faith that God is with us. This faith inspires courage.
Other times, though, it is by faith, that we…wait. Which I’m convinced is, at times, the most courageous thing we can do.
It takes tremendous courage to trust God with the timing of a vision.
David penned a Psalm, likely when in the wilderness dodging Saul. It opens with…
“Though an army encamp against me, my heart will not fear…. Wait for the Lord; be strong, take heart, and wait for the Lord! – Psalm 27
Those days and months and years of waiting, were cultivating a faith in David that he would need when he was king.
NOW isn’t always best, and we need to trust God with that.
But what do we do in the meantime?
This second word, HOPE, gives us a little insight.
Peter writes this to young leaders wanting to have leadership NOW:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7
I hear hope in that. It’s forward thinking, right? It’s recognizing, your time will come. It’s not right now, but your come will come.
So here’s how you exist in this season. Here’s what you do:
First, you humble yourself. Humble yourself under God’s mighty hand, because you’ll get nowhere without him.
Second, these circumstances will cause some anxiety in you. You’ll have this anxiety in you because these desires, they burn a hole in you, so take this anxiety, and cast it on God. Do that, because God cares for you.
- Humble yourself…
- It’s not about you…
- It’s not about your abilities…
- God’s the one who gives the provision for your vision…
- Cast your desires, your vision, your wishes and your wants before God.
- He cares for you.
- He cares for your vision.
- Let him fulfill it.
Which brings us to love.
How might love help us when the “This can’t be it” nerve is touched, and the time is not NOW.
When Paul wrote to the people in Philippi, a letter he wrote from prison, again and again, throughout the letter, he expresses joy.
“I always pray with joy….” – Philippians 1:4
“I am glad and rejoice with all of you.” – Philippians 2:17
“…rejoice with me.” – Philippians 2:18
If I get a letter from a friend in prison, the last thing I expect them to say is, “rejoice with me.”
Hear carefully what he says near the beginning of his letter:
“Now I want you to know … that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the good news … it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the good news without fear … and because of this, I rejoice.”
– Philippians 1:12, 18
You hear that?
Paul looks at his circumstances, and they’re lousy, but he looks at the people around him, and love is happening.
- Lives are being changed.
- Good things were happening to his guards.
- Good things were happening in the church.
- This event that rocked his life, and rocked his friends life, it was bearing the very fruit he had hoped to bear.
Sure, a guy like Paul, he’s like a hero in the Bible, I kind of expect that from a guy like him, but what’s that have to do with my job and my reality.
What if we simply said this:
When it comes to my life…
I’m not going to be about position.
I’m going to be about people.
Interesting thing about people, they’re everywhere!
- They’re not just available to you when you get the corner office, they’re available to you when you sit in the cube.
- They’re in your neighborhood.
- They’re in your workplace.
- They’re at your sporting events.
- They’re everywhere.
“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:12-13
What a powerful statement. What’s your secret, Paul?
What is it that Christ strengthens us to do?
He strengthens us by faith.
That faith will lead us to action; and that faith will empower us to wait.
He strengthens us by hope.
That hope will drive us to humility.
And that hope will drive us to cast our anxieties on him.
And most of all, he strengthens us to love.
And no matter your circumstances, you can do this.
It’s a powerful and profound a liberating way to live.