Last week after sharing the lesson I learned in New Hampshire (by the way, I’ve got some pics on my blog of that beautiful place), I was talking with my friend Tara Furman, founder of Knowing God Ministries. She was in the midst of making a huge and difficult ministry decision, and I asked her if she’d share her story. Here’s her story of a hard lesson learned:
Six months ago I received a call I had hoped would come. A large denominational organization invited me to be a break-out speaker at one of their events. This organization holds at least 4-6 women’s events annually. I was finally getting in the door with this organization. The drive would have been far, but the opportunity to share the message the Lord has given to me would have been great and possibly far reaching.
When the call came in, I accepted WITHOUT PRAYING.
Mistake #1: I did not pray so I missed out on hearing a Word from the Lord.
It is so important to get a “Word” from the Lord before going somewhere to speak. We need to find out if He’s going with us. If He’s not going with us – we do not want to go. Receiving a personal “Word” from Jesus, takes prayer a few steps forward.
For example: Recently I rec’d an invitation to speak in a venue that I was not comfortable with and DID NOT want to go. My reading the next morning opened with, “Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.” 1 Cor. 9:16
Never mind my feelings, I obeyed and went. As a result, Jesus allowed me to experience Him in a new and fresh way.
Now, back to what NOT to do…
For the last six months, I’ve been filled with dread in anticipation of the weekend in February. I’ve been trained by the best, Proverbs 31 Ministries, and knew in my heart that I needed to send my contract. Typically for organizations such as these, speakers are paid a modest honorarium. This would have been okay – because I ASSUMED that I would have my book table… Mistake – big mistake!
Mistake #2: Out of fear and the desire to gain their approval, I did not send my contract.
Two weeks prior to the event, I received an email saying, “speakers would be paid mileage and an honorarium; book tables would not be allowed.”
I was 4 hour drive away from this event. It was a weekend affair. I have 2 small children. This cannot be a “holy hobby” for me (although it truly is). My book table helps my family financially, and my husband’s continued support is paramount.
My accountant came over the evening I had rec’d the email to do my ministry books. In casual discussion, I told her what had happened. Without hesitation, this godly woman told me not to go; that I could not afford to go. She pressed even further and asked me why I’d want to continue with this organization if this is how they operate.
I was giddy at the thought – but what would the Lord say? Doesn’t the Bible say, “keep your commitments even when it hurts”?
The next morning, I carried it to the Lord in prayer. Immediately He convicted me of my original lack of prayer and He exposed the real reason I never sent the contract: insecurity and people pleasing.
And then He shocked me! He graciously released me from having to go to the event. My reading, Matthew 28:8: “So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy.” (He confirmed in several other places as well.)
The tomb = the event;
afraid = I still had to call the event organizer… (Yikes!)
I’m not good at confrontation. But in God’s power, I made the call. I wish I could report that it went well. I felt like a flake and a fool. I was embarrassed and humbly apologized the best way I knew. Had the Lord not given me Scriptural confirmation – I would have fallen apart after the phone call. I felt very belittled. But I yielded the sword of the Word in the face of my enemy.
Learn from my experience: Pray and receive Scriptural confirmation prior to accepting an invitation. You will be saving yourself embarrassment and heartache if you know if the Lord is indeed sending you.
Lastly, SEND THE CONTRACT!
Thank you for sharing with us, Tara! I love getting to learn the lessons from someone else’s school of hard knocks! 🙂 We’ll apply the wisdom to seek God’s guidance for each event we schedule and to have clear expectations in a written contract.
Ya’ll make sure to visit Tara’s website. There’s so much more on her website and blog about hearing God’s voice in our everyday lives. You can also see the picture there that I couldn’t get uploaded correctly here!