Do you ever feel like you’re ten steps behind the trend? In chapters 5 and 6, we explore the honest reality of times of fast change and times of slow change. It so often seems that the places of our lives don’t move at the pace we would choose.
On page 81, I speak about a desire for change:
Many men and women in Scripture desired change: Eve desired a change in knowledge, Jacob desired a change in position, Moses desired a change in speech, Deborah desired a change from oppression, Solomon desired a change in wisdom, Esther desired a change to freedom. The story of Nehemiah is one that focuses on the reason for change, the prayer of change, the boldness of change and the importance of faithful companions as we change.
Much of the thinking I unpack in chapter 6 ties into the life and lessons we learn from Nehemiah. These three ideas continue to strike me as so valuable for our lives and learning with Jesus: be focused on prayer, be bold, and seek good companions. In Nehemiah 2, we see a clear example of the boldness of Nehemiah, and I’d like to pick up those ideas today. In your places of change (fast, slow, or in-between), these are a few of the ideas we learn from Nehemiah:
Keep doing the work – Until the time for change came, Nehemiah kept doing the work in front of him, showing up where he was expected (2.1).
Be ready to express the need for change – When the king asked what needed to change and why, Nehemiah was ready to express clearly the areas that were close to his heart and give the ‘short version’ (2.3).
Ask clearly – After telling the story, Nehemiah was clear about what he needed to ask for to bring about the change he wanted, and had a plan that he was ready to share (2.4–6).
Be bold – Nehemiah asked for time, letters of authority, building supplies and personal provision (2.7–8). He understood the scope of the change that he was requesting and he boldly sought the full range of resources required.
Honour God – The favour that Nehemiah experienced in this chapter wasn’t something that he tried to take credit for (2.8). We honour God when we allow our influence to show his power and love. What power, influence, privilege do you carry? How are you laying it down for the sake of the kingdom?
To close with some of the closing words of this book:
Questions to Go Deeper
What has catalyzed my desire for change in this area?
How did I arrive where I am today?
Do I sense the Word of God, leading of the Spirit or wise counsel prompting me to change? How has this been confirmed?
If this area changes, will I be the only one to benefit or will there be any benefit for others?
What are the next three practical steps that I need to take towards this change?
Sarah Yardley is a Californian based in Cornwall who knows a little something about change, her life carrying her from megachurch to village church, and from home-schooling to visiting over 90 countries. She is Mission Lead at Creation Fest UK, Canon of Truro Cathedral, and on team at Tubestation. MORE > Change is her first book. Keep in touch with Sarah at sarahyardley.com