The other day I was speaking to a pastor who was sharing with me some of his dreams for the future. He wanted to know what I thought, my feedback as to whether or not I felt his ideas could possibly be from God. After asking him a few more questions for clarity, I said to him, “I think you just might be pregnant.” He said, “Huh?”
Typically pastors aren’t short on great ideas. They read some inspiring book, or attend a conference, and get all fired up with some new direction or, “fresh vision from God.” Sometimes their ideas are from God. Sometimes their ideas have their origins in…well, they might have come from any number of sources. This does not mean that the ideas are bad, all it means is that they might think God has placed something on their hearts when He hasn’t.
I believe God can place dreams or ideas in our hearts, like a seed, an impregnation if you will. But oftentimes it takes time to know for certain that you’re really pregnant from God or not.
Ellen was a certified childbirth educator and for years during the first half of our ministry. She assisted midwives in many homebirths. During her career Ellen probably assisted more than 100 births. When our house wasn’t filled with church members having a Bible study or some type of leadership meeting, it was filled with pregnant women and their partners sitting cross-legged on the floor practicing relaxation. In addition to this, as many of you know, we ourselves had 5 children many of whom now have children of their own. So Ellen is a bit of an expert in the whole field of the “conception/pregnancy/birth-thing.”
Typically when a woman confides in Ellen, “I think I might be pregnant.” She asks, “How many weeks since your last period?” If the woman says it’s only been a few days Ellen always recommends that she wait a while before announcing she’s pregnant. Approximately 30% of all conceptions end in miscarriage before the woman recognizes that she is “late”, and therefore doesn’t even know that she was pregnant. The most common time of miscarriage is 10 to 11 weeks, so it so is best to wait until week 12 before rushing out to buy your first stroller. However, if one has lots of symptoms it’s fine to announce earlier. Symptoms are important. You might be surprised to learn that few things make Ellen as excited as hearing that a pregnant woman feels sick to her stomach. Once again, symptoms are important.
So, that great idea you have may be from God, and maybe not. You may be pregnant, or not. And never forget your ability to think you’ve heard from God when you really haven’t. My experience has been that if some idea I have is from God it will not go away, I will be haunted, if you will, by the idea like Dickens’ three spirits. If, on the other hand, the idea does not have its origins in God they tend to fade away.
Are you late? Do you feel a little nauseated? Maybe you’re pregnant. Or, maybe you had some bad pizza. Give it a little time before standing in front of your church and announcing your great plan. Bounce your idea off of your leaders or some other trusted colleague. The rule is: when you think you’re pregnant with an idea from God be patient, and process it with those who are partnering with you in your ministry.
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