and ramblings on everything in between
If you roam in the business world, you have probably heard of Big Hairy Audacious Goals, or BHAGs. Jim Collins and Jerry Porras coined the phrase in the 1990s. They are goals that push you, stretch you, and compel you to achieve more for yourself and your business than you originally think is possible.
In February, my pastor did a series on prayer. He challenged us to think of Big Hairy Audacious Prayers (BHAPs) for our church and for our own lives. The main idea was this:
“The goal of prayer is to live our life in total dependence on God.”
If we’re totally dependent, then big dreams are always possible. We were asked to think of prayers that were: God-centered, grace-filled, and gospel-oriented. I thought about this sermon for a few days, wondering what my BHAP should be. In the shower – where all brilliant ideas are formed – it came to me. Maybe I should lead a small group, I thought.
As a single 30-something, I’ve felt more and more lately that I’m losing my place in my church. Way too old for the just-out-of-college crew. Way too husband-less and child-less for most of the other groups. This is an age/state combination that is hard to find at my church. Sure, there are fewer of us in this category. But is the gap so noticeable because people in this category can’t find the right small group for them? I didn’t think I could possibly be the solution to this dilemma when the issue dawned on me a few years ago. I thought someone else would do something about it.
Yet, I added ‘become a small group leader’ to my prayer list and decided to pray about it diligently to see what God had to say.
Fast forward to May. I received a call from my small group leader out of the blue. After the pleasantries, he got to the point. “Your name has been coming up a lot at church, and we think you’d make a great small group leader. Is this something you would ever consider doing?”
No one but my journal knew this was the BHAP I had been praying about for three months. Without hesitation, I responded, “Oh yeah – God’s actually already talked to me about this. Yes, I want to lead a group.”
Sometimes realizations come to us swiftly and assuredly. Those moments when we can just sense something to be true, deep down in us, without knowing where exactly it came from. I’m not a born leader. I’m an often too-quiet introvert. Honestly, this role is not a natural fit for me. But it doesn’t have to be. I just know that it is for me.
As this passage from The Alchemist puts it:
“When I have truly been searching for my treasure [my purpose], I’ve discovered things along the way that I never would have seen had I not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible for a shepherd to achieve.”
– Santiago, The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
What a statement. How much bigger, richer, fuller our lives would be if we stopped telling ourselves our goals are impossible. This challenge seems daunting right now, but I don’t want to miss out on all the wonderful things along the way because I’ve convinced myself it is an impossible goal for a girl like me to achieve. God will give me what I need. And after all, it’s not an impossible goal. It’s a big, hairy, and audacious one.