Over the last few weeks, God has been challenging my faith! I consider myself a person of faith, I mean who quits a ‘high-flying job’ and starts a venture like Lapid Leaders Africa, only a woman of faith, right?! However, over the last few weeks God has been telling me that He’s not impressed by this my faith. Every week I have told Him, really God? Really? I literally live by faith not by sight and you tell me you are not impressed? And the answer has been a resounding yes~
Early success syndrome
So I am beginning to listen to what God is telling me. I will hopefully blog this faith lessons but the first one has been a resounding message, that we settle too early in the game! One of the lessons we go through as part of the Lapid Leaders Experience is what we call ‘early success syndrome’. Early success syndrome is the disease that many people who succeed early catch and live with. Success can be very alluring, and if it comes too early, it’s even worse because we settle and stop pushing our limits.
I have found that the people who get some form of success in the early stages of their life, they have a higher likelihood to settle and never reach out for the truest form of what God can do through them. Many times the early success blinds them, and they think that the early success is the full package and so they settle; while in reality it’s just a snippet of the full package. They stop pushing themselves to greater heights.
The greatest entrepreneurs, the greatest leaders, are those who literally adopt what Steve Jobs said, ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish’, or what I call a growth mindset (you can read more on this here). A couple of months ago we had the privilege of hosting a mentorship session with an entrepreneurs who played a leading role in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. One of the things that I loved about this entrepreneur was that while she had successfully built a start-up to the point of selling it and making a killing from the sale, she has recently started working on yet another start-up. When we asked her why she decided to go through the headache of creating a new venture, she said that she was not even a quarter way of what God would do through her. She reminded me of a verse that has a special place in my heart, Phil 3:13, ‘Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.’
I settled…I became rationale
As I have listened to God speaking about this my faith, I have realized that God is not impressed by my faith because He can see how I have settled.
Starting a venture is HAAAARRD. You are an ideal candidate for a punching bag, too many punches to count. Your life is the sum of one punch after another. Somewhere along the way, the spirit begins to fear taking new steps. The headache becomes too much and so you easily settle. I think God has been watching me attempt to settle, this early in the game. He has watched me try to become a rational being who lives by sight; He has watched me choose to limit this vision to what I can logically understand and do, and He has refused to allow me to settle.
Last week I listened to a sermon by TD Jakes that really challenged me (you can watch it here). TD Jakes goes to great heights to explain why leaders must think globally and not just locally. Is the vision so large that the only way it comes to pass is if God builds it? Those are the kind of visions God specializes in. This kind of vision will have enough room to attract talented people and even the financial resources, as there is room for all these resources. In short he was saying, resources follow great dreams. The reverse does not work, you cannot wait for the resources to come in order for you to have a big dream.
As I listened to this sermon, I began to think about the strategy of Lapid Leaders Africa; is it big enough, is it a ridiculous dream, is it the kind of dream that only God can deliver? The answer was a resounding no.
I had developed this strategy with Esther in mind; what can Esther do in her own strength? And God was so unimpressed by this vision that each week He has been SMH’ing me. He has been saying that’s all you want? Really Esther? You took this bold step just for that? Aiiiii!
Joseph had a dream of his brothers bowing down to him when he was the least of them, he was a 17 year old who had a vision of ruling over his family; a ridiculous dream.
When God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son, the one who had been born after years of waiting, Abraham does not hesitate to do so. As they were climbing to the mountain where the sacrifice would be made, his son asked him where the offering would come from. Abraham tells him that God will provide, yet another ridiculous dream.
Unfortunately, many of us have small dreams, the kind we can achieve in our own strength. The result is that we do not attract the people, the finances, the resources we need to create the kind of dream God has in store for us.
So I am finally beginning to listen. I see how my hands are clutched and not open to the ridiculousness of the dream God once deposited. I see how the clutching has been stealing from what God can do. I see how I have lived by my own sight. I see how I must live by God’s sight. I see how I cannot conform to the norms and must always be like an eagle, seeing through God’s eyes.
Joseph’s family bowed to him, as ridiculous as that dream was; God provided a sacrifice for Abraham as ridiculous as his faith was; but it is the words that God tells Abraham after that bring tears to my eyes. Gen 15: 5 Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”
Now that’s a vision, as many descendants as the stars in the sky! That’s a vision only God can deliver. What’s your vision? Like me, have you been beaten into settling for a small vision? Have you stopped trusting God for the stars in the sky? Have you clutched your vision so that you live by own sight? Are you soaring on God’s sight? Is your vision limited to a few people or are you thinking global? Has early success stopped you from dreaming of even greater heights? As many as the stars in the sky I will bless you.
I once had a ridiculous dream, it was for laughter but I knew with God it was possible. I have slowly thrown it in a handbag and hidden it. As I remove it from this handbag, I see how God’s promise is for the stars in the sky, I see how He has been so gracious to already set us on that path, I see how He has placed around me resources that I could not see due to the clutched hands. Lord, may you always help my unbelief!