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  • Renata Joseph

Time to Stop Seeking a Surrogate


Have you ever had a vision for something to improve and wondered, "Well, who is gonna do that?" Maybe you went to your child's school and saw that the playground was in disrepair, and thought, "When are they going to take care of that?" Maybe you passed a homeless person and thought, "What is the local government or local church doing about this?" Maybe the paint in your kitchen has become grimy and you think, "I wonder if I can get my husband to spruce this up." In each of those scenarios, you saw a need and looked outside of yourself for the solution.


I do this every single day.


Most of the time I don't realize I'm looking for others to fix things, but lately God has brought it my attention. I pride myself on having a lot of ideas and creative solutions. When my husband sees a problem, he thinks of how he can make it work. When I see a problem, my first response is to look around for people who are positioned to make it work. This approach can be very helpful for leveraging resources and delegating tasks, but it can be really easy to slip into "management mode" and forget that the solution might need to come directly through me.


I've been mulling over the story of Sarah and Hagar, from the Old Testament. For decades Sarah and Abraham had not been able to conceive a child. Suddenly God shows up and promises them a son. Sarah, knowing her track record of limitations, seeks a solution and sends her servant, Hagar, as a surrogate.


I'm sure it made much more sense to Sarah for Abraham to make a child with a woman who wasn't barren for the last several decades. Makes sense to me. Often I will look at my past track record and disqualify myself, thinking someone else is surely a better bet. As I analyze the needs and resources, I can take myself out of the equation, based on past failures, lack of interest, limited energy and a handful of other reasons. What if God is wanting to birth something new in and through me, but I am looking to others to take my place?


Isaiah 43:19

See, I am doing a new thing!

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness

and streams in the wasteland.


When I first came to serve here in Belize, I was a newly graduated 22 year old. I was open to try anything. I was available to serve wherever I was needed. Some things I was good at and some things I was flat-out terrible at (construction). Fast forward almost 20 years and I have so much more experience under my belt. I know what I'm good at. I know the skills and training I bring to the table. I try to be open to opportunities, but most of what comes along doesn't feel like a fit. I am prayerful about where and how I get involved in our church and community, but part of me is also hesitant to just jump in and do stuff that isn't in my wheel-house.


My prayer this week, as I think of all these things, is that I will trust God to do a new thing in me; that if He presses me to birth something new, I won't look to others to do the birthing. I want to embrace the miracles He wants to do, instead of disqualifying myself. Will you also pray for God to do new things in your life? To use you to bring His life and light into the world?

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