He changed my life with a whisper. Four years ago today, the Holy Spirit spoke to me very clearly and I’m glad he did!
The Kickoff Meeting
I was taking a break away from my computer in my home office. I had been prepping all morning for a new, nonprofit kickoff meeting the next day. It was Friday, January 6, 2017. Before the holidays, the mega-church I attended was kind enough to mention that I had started a faith-based mission for those suffering from addiction. Would you believe – 63 potential volunteers met me in the lobby after the three services that weekend to learn more?! As a result, I knew at least a handful would be at the kickoff in the morning.
How Did I Get Here?
That thought crossed my mind a few times that morning. Really – how did I get here? I was a business consultant and children’s faith leader. I was used to other daily routines. But God was pulling me into the opioid crisis. He changed my life. My home town of Dayton, Ohio was getting national attention for having the worst opioid problems per capita in the country. I stopped prospecting for new consulting clients and couldn’t get enough of the stats, root causes, county task forces, state initiatives, personal stories, treatments, etc. of addiction. Something didn’t add up, though.
Therefore, I hired interns to help me research. This went on for over a year and a half. Slowly, I felt myself backing away from the business my wife and I have. I didn’t have experience with addiction, but I had plenty of experience with tough problems. This was by far, the toughest problem I’d ever worked – my “Everest.” It was calling me. But there was something else – I saw the pain this was causing families. I saw how faith was desperately needed. People needed something different and I felt like I could make a difference.
I Don’t Even Have a Name For This Thing!
This was another thought I had that morning. Or should I say, another doubt? Here I am, hosting this meeting and I can’t even tell people what it’s called? Again – what am I doing? How did I get here? In the back of my mind I was brainstorming silly, nonsense names that might get a laugh. “The Determined, but To-Be-Determined Dayton Addiction Team,” . . .
A Double Meaning!
So, I was giving my eyes and brain a break. I was pouring a glass of water in the kitchen and I hear a voice whisper, “mission.” I recognized the Holy Spirit but it still startled me a little. I thought, “Addiction Mission.” That rhymes. That rolls off the tongue all right. Maybe, that’s what we’ll call this new group. But then, I heard the voice again, sounding slightly frustrated with me. “No – Mission Addiction!” Okay! Hmm. It still rhymes. I thought of AA, NA – MA. That could be good! And then it hit me – a double meaning! We’re working on the problem of addiction, yes – BUT – we’re also trying to help people develop a “mission addiction.” Help people develop an addiction to serving others, an addiction to God’s mission, an addiction to living God’s way vs. following their own path or being addicted to any sin or substance.
The Ultimate Strategic Planner
I’m a strategic planner by trade, among other things. However, God has proven to me over and over that he is the master planner. I had been trying for months to think of a name that might have a double meaning, like “Mission Addiction.” And then he just gives it to me – when I’m not even trying! (There’s a life lesson for you about working or thinking too much!) Four years later, I still don’t really know how I got here! I still don’t know all the angles of our mission or what he’ll do next. My analytical brain sees it and can follow it, but not like God can. The COVID 2020 year was a huge surprise, but we had so many new blessings – that are still playing out! (See 8 Positive Impacts of COVID-19 On Our Mission.)
“I’m The Co-Pilot”
What I do know and keep learning is how to listen and obey – and trust vs. doubt. He’s the pilot and at most, I’m the co-pilot. This isn’t “my baby” – this is HIS mission and I report to him. Again – he changed my life. I have an extremely busy day today out of an extremely busy week. I wasn’t planning on writing this blog this morning. But I woke up earlier than normal and he put this on my heart. He is the potter. We are the clay. We need to trust him and let him have his way with us. It sounds like a chore but it’s just the opposite. I’ve found he takes us to amazing places we never dreamed!
By the way, this is the group that showed up on the chilly, 14 degree morning of January 7th, 2017:
Everyone liked the name and we agreed on a tagline, “Anything is possible when we walk together™.” It was a play on “Mission:Impossible” and a message about teamwork, about supporting each other and about walking with God. We’re thankful for everyone who served then – and in the last four years. Some of these people are still with us!
I have developed a “mission addiction” and God has blessed that over and over. Yes, he changed my life with a whisper; several whispers along the way, in fact. There are too many stories and examples I could share. However, I’m absolutely sure of one thing and it’s the best reason to write this message – because he can change your life, too! He has shown us a practical way we can help you and your family.
If you need support or would like to learn more about us, please contact us or see this link to get involved. Everyone is welcome at our events, listed on our Facebook events or Eventbrite page. You can attend online or in-person. The same goes for our MAP For Healing and Recovery program. A new series is starting in January, so sign up for the orientation sessions now!
Copyright © 2021, Edward Livesay, Mission Addiction