When I was a sophomore in college, I gave a presentation on the Malaysian culture and cuisine. I can't remember why I chose Malaysia or the details of the presentation, but my research sparked my desire to visit Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, and every country in South East Asia.
On a Sunday morning a few weeks after, my college ministry pastor announced an upcoming mission’s trip to Malaysia, and I knew it was my sign to go forth and ‘conquer’ that region of the world one country at a time. It would also be my first mission’s trip. So I stayed over after church for the information meeting, and at the end of the one-hour session, I knew it was my calling to visit Malaysia…for the Gospel, of course, but also for the food and to satisfy my wanderlust cravings. :)
And thus I began the process. I signed up for the Malaysia trip and made a list of prospective financial sponsors. It was going to cost a couple thousand dollars, and nowhere in my account was that available.
In the midst of all that planning, I was aware that my passport would expire before the trip, and there was no way I could go on the trip with an expired passport…so I began praying about it.
I believed that going to Malaysia would happen for me, and my words in prayer and in my conversations were positively tuned towards it. However, when it came to renewing my passport so I could actually make the trip, all I did was believe, pray and proclaim that it would happen.
Then another Sunday afternoon after church and during our bi-weekly Malaysia team meeting, the statement “faith without works is useless” settled into my heart. I didn’t invite it in or ask for its opinion. It wasn't even the focus of the sermon that morning, but the scripture walked into my heart, sat down and forced me to engage. In engaging it, I realized when it came to renewing my passport I was praying a somewhat useless prayer. Like how simple is it to know that to really go on this trip, my first move should be to renew my passport. How simple is that?
Please excuse the 19-year-old AdeOla who prayed a lot about it and did nothing in pursuit of it.
It was the first time God placed in my front and center the idea that I’ve got to make some moves. Faith and prayer are important, because they align our hearts and motives, and direct our steps, but as much as it depends on me, I need do my part in living out my dreams. For a God that parts seas and brings down walls, magically renewing my passport without going through an application process would be easy for him. However, God is a miracle worker and not a magician. He wants us involved in the process of seeing our path set straight. It is a lesson I value and carry around still, but one I always need to re-learn often.
Therefore, as I think through the idea of transforming my mind from a scarcity mentality to abundance, and as I use my words to speak and call forth the life I want and desire, I have to move in the direction of my prayers with my hands in Christ’s and my feet moving in pace with him. Here are the steps I repeat over and over in my life
- MARINATE IN IT: Mediate on the Word of God.
- SPEAK IT. Declare his truth over and over and over and over in prayer and in conversation. (This step is still the hardest for me because it can be weird and many times it feels like nothing is changing. I have been praying and declaring some truth for years now, and I’m currently side eyeing God.)
- LIVE IT: Faith requires work. Just start! Pay attention to how he leads and follow. Move!
- BE STILL: When things are beyond you, and they will be, get still! Literally and figuratively hand things over to God.
- REPEAT: Do it all over again.
By the way, I didn’t make it to Malaysia for that mission’s trip, and I’m yet to visit, because sometimes you may not reach the goal or fulfill the dream. But check again, the destination might have been a change in your character not in your circumstances.
PS: This post is nowhere advocating that you need to put in any form of work to earn salvation or grace. That comes solely by declaring that Jesus is Lord, and believing that God raised him from the dead. It is a gift received by faith.