The topic of willingness seems to have come up a lot lately.
I’m not talking about individual gifts, callings, or desires- but rather the heart behind them that we should all share- a heart that is willing.
I think it is in our nature to focus more on our abilities than whether or not we are simply willing.
For me I know that I don’t handle leadership roles well. In some ways that is good since I’m called to submit in many areas. But when God leads me to take the reigns I tend to drag my feet.
I doubt my abilities and I start delegating every task to myself for fear of inconveniencing others. Which is essentially the definition of bad leadership. Because of this struggle I tend to be less willing to take on leadership roles when they are presented.
In my heart, I am always eager to say “Yes Lord!” because I want to honor what He calls me to.
My mind, however, immediately begins concocting doubts and dread. Recently though God has been placing on my heart that He doesn’t need my abilities- He just needs me to be willing.
Willing to stand in the gap.
Willing to go to the places others may be hesitant about.
And willing to answer the call.
I don’t know exactly what your life looks like from day to day. But as Mamas and wives, sometimes our work can seem so mundane and repetitive.
I once heard a woman who was acting as a missionary in another country mention that her kingdom work was changing diapers and loving on babies. That encouraged my heart so much because I can do those things.
I can’t present the gospel in a foreign tongue, but I can feed a baby.
The thing is though, God doesn’t need me to speak 5 languages or be able to change a diaper one handed in under 20 seconds- He just needs me to be willing to go where He says and do what He asks.
So my question today for this devotional is simple: Are you willing?
Willingness Is Worth More Than Ability
It was actually Isaiah who really stirred this idea of willingness up in me recently.
When I think of the name “Isaiah” I can’t help but hear the words the real prophet Isaiah said when God asked who He should send- “Here am I, Lord, send me”.
And he has lived up to his name, because that is my Isaiah.
He is willing. Always willing.
As a Mama you notice certain things about your kids without even realizing it.
I have a lot of little helpers, but Isaiah is the one I call on when I need a hand. But here’s the thing- he isn’t really the best at helping.
He gives his best, but he isn’t great at folding laundry or washing dishes. He misses spots when I ask him to wipe up and he just doesn’t have that motherly instinct when helping with the babies.
Iris does though.
She can fold beautifully.
When she washes dishes they come out spotless and she doesn’t dump water all over the floor.
She mothers like she has been doing it 60 years!
It is simple for her to changes diapers, sweep, and handle homemaking things effortlessly.
But I almost never call on her to help me- why is that?
Because she isn’t willing.
Because it is always a fight.
I have to argue, discipline or beg just to get her to step up and help out.
She is capable. But he is willing.
I don’t say this to put my kids down. Isaiah is probably not going to be a homemaker, so while I think he should still learn homemaking skills- I don’t expect him to be naturally good at them. And Iris can be difficult but she’s only five. What five year old isn’t difficult from time to time?
My point is God has used this picture in my life recently to really stir this up in me.
A heart simply willing to say “Yes Lord” even when we feel unfit to answer the call.
Because He isn’t seeking a person capable.
He is capable enough on His own.
He is seeking someone willing.
Here are a few examples of people who felt incapable, but were still willing.
Mary- Mother of Jesus
Usually around this time of year I study Mary a little more in depth.
She was the mother of Jesus. It’s easy to look at that calling and think, “Wow! She must have been something really special!” And I agree with that because God had Gabriel tell her, “Blessed art thou among women Mary.” (Luke 1:42)
But her calling was not just to bear a son she didn’t conceive.
Her calling was not just to be the vessel by which God joined his creation.
She was called to suffer in ways most of us as mothers cannot imagine.
She wasn’t just there for his birth. And she wasn’t just ridiculed and scorned for a pregnancy outside of marriage. She wasn’t just a follower of Jesus.
She was at the foot of the cross.
She witnessed His birth and she witnessed His death.
And she stood and watched as her son was killed unjustly by the very world He came to save.
Mary would go on to be present in the early church.
She would go on to make sure that the gospel went forth, just as she was told that it would.
In all that, it is easy to see why God picked her.
She was there from the beginning to the end. Always trying to do the will of God. But I would back it all up to simply say she was the one who was willing.
Her answer when the angel appeared to her and told her that she would bear a son is why I
think she was chosen.
She knew the culture she was in.
She knew that she could possibly be killed for being found with child before she had a husband.
Of course, she wondered how all of this was possible.
In her heart she pondered her questions, but with her lips she said let it be done in me.
She was many things, but most of all, she was willing.
And Mary said, “Behold, the Lord’s bond-servant; may it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1: 38)
David- The One After God’s Own Heart
The Israelites stood facing a mighty army.
Day after day their biggest and boldest Warrior stepped up daring someone to come forward and fight him.
The people of God stood and trembled in their mighty armor with their well trained swords.
Retreating day after day.
Until a young Hebrew boy heard the call.
He wasn’t on the battlefield to fight. He was simply sent to deliver lunch to his older and mightier brothers.
But he heard Goliath’s dare called out once more. And he watched as the people of God hid and cowered.
David wasn’t a Warrior. He wasn’t trained in the art battle. He wasn’t equipped with the proper armor or weaponry. But he was willing. And that was enough.
All God needed was one person bold enough to step up in His name and say, “I will
Not with my own strength, but with the strength of God.
David didn’t trust for a moment in his own ability. He knew that it was God who would deliver him out of the hand of the Giant.
David was willing. And Goliath fell.
Jesus- The One Who Was Willing
Twenty-eight generations pass from little David- who became a great King– to Jesus- the King of Kings. Jesus was truly God and He was truly man. And perhaps there is no greater picture of what that means than to see Him in the garden of Gethsemane.
After the passover, knowing that the time of His death was quickly approaching. Knowing that He had been betrayed. And knowing the road that laid ahead for Him, Jesus returned to the garden to pray.
The sweat became blood that dripped from his brow.
His heart grew heavy within him.
His disciples fell asleep waiting for him.
When He approached them again to tell them to pray He says these heart wrenching words- “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:40)
Jesus was willing.
He was God.
He had the power to lay His life down and He had the power to pick it back up again. (John 10:18)
But His flesh was weak. He knew that in this mortal body He would feel the suffering and the sting of death. And even still, He was willing.
He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”Matthew 26:42
Jesus knew what it meant to feel incapable in the flesh He was in. (And how amazing that He- the God of all Creation- would show us that!) But still, He surrendered himself.
He was willing.
And because He was willing to die for our sins, we have salvation and new life through him.
Are We Willing?
He isn’t asking us to be fully capable and fully qualified for every calling that He places in our lives.
He is just asking us to be willing. The thing is God knows the water is too deep, the road is too steep, and the climb is too hard.
It is Him who parts the water. He is the one who carries us when we can’t go on. He just needs us willing to take the journey with Him.
Are you willing? If not, what is holding you back?
Mamas, you may not be the best planner. Or homemaker.
You may set off the smoke alarms everytime you cook from scratch.
Your kids may ignore Bible study during homeschool and your house may look like people actually live in it.
All of that is okay.
It isn’t about how capable you are- or how capable you feel– about what God calls you to. It just matters that you are willing.
Are you willing to get up during the night to nurse a new baby?
Are you willing to scrub toilets at the homeless shelter or buy diapers for the Mama contemplating abortion?
Or are you willing to take the gifts, desires and dreams that God has given you and finally act on those. Are you willing to lay down your own plans and dreams in exchange for His?
Are you willing to go where He leads?
Are you willing?
If you aren’t, now is the time to answer: why?
Be honest with yourself.
Do you really believe God is big enough to handle every struggle you are facing?
Do you believe He is capable of making plans for you?
Is your faith strong enough to carry you even when you see giants in the land or when you walk entirely alone?
Are you willing to submit and surrender everything to the God of all?
It’s okay to not be there yet, but take steps to say “Yes Lord.” Even when the flesh is weak.