I've been researching the process of turning fabric into fashion and I have all so quickly become aware of the many things I don't know. Feeding in lines? Marker planning? Excuse me, what? A potential supplier sent me a pricing list, but exactly how am I supposed to go about choosing the right fabric? Is that price in Euros, US dollars, British Pounds or some other currency? Is it by yard or bolt or some other form of measurement? How big is a bolt anyway?
I have poured over articles, how-to guides and explanations in an attempt to learn more about the industry I find myself in. I've bought books, lots and lots of books. I dove head first and did numerous trial by errors. And what have I learned? That I hardly know anything.
I feel unskilled, unprepared, utterly lacking and overwhelmed.
I probably shouldn't say that. It's definitely not professional. Are you going to want to support me and buy our products if I don't really know what I'm doing? Probably not. But, all is not lost. It is not totally hopeless.
These last four months have been a journey, this week has been a struggle but today was a light. In the middle of falling apart, at the center of feeling completely and totally inadequate, I have learned to rejoice.
Genesis 6 speaks of God calling Noah to build the Ark. God was asking him to do something that had never been done. They didn't even have a concept of rain, but God wanted him to build a boat so that they wouldn't die when water fell from the sky? Excuse me God, what? People mocked Noah, they thought he was crazy. It took anywhere from 60-120 years before the Ark was completed. But all along the way, the Lord provided Noah with the exact details he needed to build what he was supposed to.
As I researched and read about the garment industry earlier today I learned that there is only one apparel factory in the world that pays its workers a living wage. That factory is the number one supplier in America for collegiate apparel. And still, it runs at 60% capacity and after four years, it has yet to turn over a profit. But the Lord wants me, a twenty year old college girl who literally has no idea what she's doing, to open an ethical factory where we pay workers a living wage AND sell our products at affordable prices? Excuse me God, what?
But Noah's response was simple: [He] "did everything just as God commanded him." (Genesis 6:22)
I so desperately want to respond like Noah, but I find myself responding much more like Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 1, God calls Jeremiah to be a prophet, but he responds saying, "I do not know how to speak; I am too young." But the Lord said to [him], “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you.”
Lastly, I especially relate with Moses. God called him to go to Pharaoh and demand that he free the Israelites, but Moses had a lot of excuses. "What if they do not believe me or listen to me?" (Exodus 4:1), so God turns Moses' staff into a snake and then back into a staff, that it might be proof. He tells him to put his hand into his cloak and it becomes leprous, and then when he puts it back inside it is healed. But just in case Pharaoh doesn't believe that God has sent Moses, the Lord instructs Moses to pour water from the Nile onto the ground, promising that it will turn to blood. But Moses still feels inadequate saying, "Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” (Genesis 4:10) So the Lord responds by reassuring Moses that He will go with him and speak through him. But after all of this, Moses still asks God to send someone else, so He provides Aaron to go with Moses and speak on his behalf.
In each instance, God called someone to a task far greater than anything they might hope to do on their own. For Noah, the Lord gave him the exact details, down to the last measurement, so that he could build the Ark. For Jeremiah, God encouraged him. For Moses, God performed miraculous signs and sent him help.
It wasn't that Noah was an excellent builder and knew exactly what to do when God said build an ark. It wasn't that Jeremiah had all the wisdom and confidence he needed to be a prophet. It wasn't that Moses had the skills necessary nor even the desire. Every single time, it wasn't about them, it wasn't about what they possessed. Each story is entirely about how the Lord provided; how He worked through them; how He equipped them to the call laid out before them. God tells us,
"Not by might nor by power, but my Spirit." (Zechariah 4:6)
I find myself in good company. God has called me to do something that hasn't been done. Like Moses I have a lot of excuses. Like Jeremiah, I have a lot of doubt. Like Noah, I lack the knowledge. I can give up, graduate from college and find a 9-5 desk job. Or I can choose to look back on the Lord's incredible faithfulness and provision in my life thus far and I can choose to remind myself of all the times God has so clearly called me into this industry, this business and this exact place that I am at, and trust that He will provide what I need.
If I really think that I, in my own strength, knowledge and abilities, am truly capable of handling what God has called me to, then I am thinking entirely too small.
So I step out in faith, trusting in God to provide clarity, knowledge, encouragement, miracles, or people…maybe even all of the above!
I invite you, with this in mind, to pray for me. Pray that God might make me worthy of his calling, and that by his power He may bring to fruition my every desire for goodness and my every deed prompted by faith. (2 Thess. 1:11).
In what areas of your life can I be praying the same for you? (Leave a comment below!)