God’s Work Without God

by Laura on February 8, 2015

rice field

It’s entirely possible to do God’s work without God, utterly likely that Spirit-breathed-ministry can morph into self-fueled-effort. This is the way of humanity and most Christian work as I’ve come to see it. Sadly, the same can be said of myself.

What started faith-only and desperate-for-Jesus slid subtly over time into action-driven and next-step-logical. And I’m just waking up to this reality after two years and a lot of blood spilt on the battlefield.

I look back through my journals from the early days of this journey and see pages and pages of prayers of the wild-faith-kind — experiences and proclamations and lyrics that drip of a soul steeped in daily communion. And it was from this place, this soul-alive-what’s-next-God place that a ministry was birthed.

And hundreds of thousands of dollars, multiple staff and offices, and hundreds of children rescued later, I flip back through my journal and recognize it’s been months, sometimes many months, between entries. I assess my soul and realize it’s more dry tumbleweed than tree planted by Living Water. And when I sit in the quiet, with phone and social media and next-work-crisis at bay, I recognize that the race I started hand-in-hand with Christ, I’m now running hard solo. I’m knee-deep and bone-weary in a workshop building something for God, without really acknowledging the presence of His Spirit.

And I don’t think I got here out of impure motive or willful deceit; I think I got here from believing that justice somehow depended on me, from lazy habits that led to imbalance, and from a blatant disregard for soul-care. And two years in, the weeds are beginning to creep into the crops. I’m learning that the harvest raised from putting my hand to the plow without the daily shouldering of the yoke of Christ is not at all what He had in mind when He called me to this field in the first place. He has always been about a relationship with me, and the opportunity to co-labor with Him is an avenue to foster that, not replace it. But it’s a slippery slope from one to the other.

And the tricky thing? The tricky thing is that I could probably get away with it for years (I hold the last two years as evidence). I could write and fundraise, speak on a stage, receive applause as an advocate who is “inspirational,” and taste continued success in the eyes of the world, even Christian circles. And you could, too, in whatever work you’ve been called to. And so could the pastor that you admire or the nonprofit leader you think walks on water or that Christian author you follow on twitter.

It’s a fine line between self-led in God’s work and Spirit-led in the same, and honestly, I wonder how many of us in the trenches or with the microphones don’t recognize we’re running hard in a race for Him which He never intended for us to run alone.

guy rice field

  • Marla Taviano

    Thank you, friend. Praying for you as you get back in step with the Spirit. (and hoping to meet up with you sometime this year when we have a little break from language school) xoxoxo

  • http://www.singforjoyteam.org/ Jillian Rogers

    “It’s entirely possible to do God’s work without God”…WOW! This is such a profound statement. I think that those of us in Kingdom work understand this all too well. Thank you, Laura, for sharing your heart here. Praying for you (and all of us) to take the Hand of the One Who never wants us to walk (or work) alone…

  • Deb Anderson Weaver

    Profoundly true. May we humbly recognize our thirst anew and respond to His invitations to depend solely on Him.

  • http://www.kaybruner.com/ Kay Bruner

    Yes!!! Speak!

  • Amy

    It happens to all of us all the time in so many situations when you think back over the last few days/months/years and think “how did I get here?” You sink under the day-to-day activities and those days turn into months and then, years….the important part is that you can recognize now and re-focus. My yoga teacher tells us when we’re supposed to be mediating and relaxing (and my mind is wondering thinking about what I’m going to fix for dinner or that email I forgot to send for work), that you just recognize those thoughts and re-focus….to try to stop the thought trail we’re building in our minds. I know that’s a silly example to relate to your post about a much bigger issue but, maybe it will help you. I find myself doing it all the time in different situations. Just refocus on Him. XOXOXO

  • http://www.angiewashington.com/ Angie Washington

    “And two years in, the weeds are beginning to creep into the crops. I’m learning that the harvest raised from putting my hand to the plow without the daily shouldering of the yoke of Christ is not at all what He had in mind when He called me to this field in the first place.”

    Sounds like this has much to do with seasons, friend. Looks like you are headed for a luscious springtime bursting with strength and beauty. You amaze me.

  • Kelsey Ann Shaw

    Wow Laura! I have had this page pulled up on my phone since you published it and sadly haven’t read it until today. And I am so guilty of falling under the same trap, serving and staying busy with ministry but not allowing God into that. Laura you are so wise. I appreciate your willingness to be vulnerable and to show others where you are human because we all can learn from it and know that we aren’t alone. I have always looked up to you, even in my freshman year of high school and I still look up to you. Thank you for being the woman you are! You are so loved! (and missed!!!)

  • Cathy

    Hi Laura, I found your blog today, and I’m going to slowly read your posts. I’m a missionary in a deep struggle, and your words ring loudly in my ears. I don’t know what the next few weeks may bring, but I’m alone, sad, and desperate. I appreciate your courage, as I have none right now.

    • Lori

      Hello Cathy – You are not alone. I know what it feels like, and I hope these months have shown you that there is hope. Feel free to reach out to me kristevan3k@gmail.com.

  • vincent

    I am really interesting for reading these encouragement that you provide to anyone who are still lost. Keep encouraging people so that they will come to know the truth of Jesus Christ…. God bless you all my brothers and sisters…..

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