Lessons from the Green Toaster

Easter weekend, I decided that I would finally paint my toaster. “You did what?” Yeah, I really have been tired of seeing the black toaster, sitting on the counter for…well, several homes now, and I decided it was time to take action. Every time I had thought about doing it, I had an excuse ready to persuade me otherwise:

  • Do I really need to paint the toaster?
  • Do I want to spend the money on something like this?
  • What if it doesn’t work and I have to live with my mistake?

green toaster

You’re probably thinking, “James, it’s a toaster! Why in the world are you thinking this deeply over something that is less than $25?” Yet, as I prepped my “canvas” and began to spray paint my toaster green, I thought even more. I thought about how my excuses for not painting the toaster were strangely similar to my excuses for not completely trusting God with the BIG dreams He has placed in my heart. Those who believe in God often will say, “I really believe God is calling me to do…” Yet, when things don’t go according to (our) plan, when there is push back from others, and when it now doesn’t make as much sense, the former definitive statement changes to, “Well, I guess God didn’t want me to do that.” When it comes to dreaming BIG, and trusting God with the desires He has personally placed in our hearts, most of us are up to it only if we know the details and we have assurance that they journey is pain-free. The sad…very sad thing is that many of us teach our children to do the same. When they are young, we tell them that they can definitely be a firefighter, veterinarian, musician, and athlete. We even buy them the dress up clothes and participate in their fun. Yet, as they get older, we begin to steer them away from dreaming. I know not everyone (who is reading this) does this, but so many will tell their teens and almost-adult-aged children to pick a profession that will provide them a “good income,” and a “good retirement.” Because a good income and good retirement are the goals of life, right? This is not to say we throw out planning for the future and making an income to support oneself. But it shouldn’t be the goal of the God-given desires of our heart. When God has called us, He will both equip and provide what we need…even if it happens in ways that don’t match our plan.

My grandfather recently passed away and he used to ask me how I was enjoying my job as principal. He would always remind me that “enjoying what you do is half of it.” After I received word of his death, I thought over those words a bit. “If enjoying what I do is half of it, then what is the other half?” I’ll tell you…knowing that every morning when I walk into my office, this is what God has called me to do for this season of my life. But what about those moments in life when we are thinking about a change of scenery? You, know – when we are thinking about painting the toaster green? Jaime and I spent a lot of time dreaming together. If I could go back and speak to the two of us “then,” I would say as loud as I could, “Jump! Trust Him! Take the bigger risks!” Some thought our move to Florida was a risk – in some ways it was. But there were several other instances when there were things the two of us would mention, while dreaming, that we would essentially “kill” because it just didn’t seem possible. How small we made God in those moments!

I can’t speak to where you are, but I needed to paint the toaster. And there are a few other opportunities that I know of (now!), that are on the horizon, that I am going to need to “Jump! Trust Him! And take the bigger risks!”  When you know that God is the source of the desires and secret petitions of your heart, the time spent dreaming and doing, as God directs, is another opportunity to get to know His heart and His perfect plan for your life. This continued bend in the road has been one of the most painful, challenging, and exciting times in my life. I truly love not knowing what’s around the corner – just that He will be there to guide, provide, and lead me to dream the next part of this wonderful journey.

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19

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