At the beginning of the year, I was challenged to pray about a word to set the tone of 2016. I prayed, and to my delight and dismay, God put the word “Yes” on my heart. Terror and exhilaration encapsulated in three little letters. I am a goal-oriented woman. My dreams are well known by those who love me. Now, half way through the year, I am still unsure what this “Yes” year means specifically to me. In fact, I have simultaneously been experiencing a season of restlessness without clear direction in sight. God and I have been wrestling through many doubts, and confronting untruths I have believed about myself. In short, He has been making me uncomfortable. At times, it has been painful; and yet, I trust Him entirely.
A wise, God-fearing gal pal in my life reminded me the story of Gideon and his fleece. The book of Judges, in the Old Testament, unfolds the telling of a man who God allowed to experience unrest and in turn, trust.
Judges 6:11 begins with Gideon beating out wheat in a winepress. Now we must become aware of the fact that a winepress is not where wheat is threshed; he was there because he was hiding. Hiding from the Midianites. He was terrified of his enemies, so much so, that he sacrificed productivity for security. In his moment of weakness, an angel of the Lord showed up, and called him out. The angel addressed Gideon not with shame but with titles such as “mighty man of valor.” From my perspective, Gideon was behaving cowardly, but God sent a messenger to sift through the lies he believed in his heart. Gideon said “I need to hide.” God said otherwise.
Reservedly, Gideon proceeds to question God’s plan. God intended Gideon to save Israel from the Midianites. God had a plan. A big plan. One that would cause Gideon to cling to His goodness and trust Him entirely. However, Gideon, bless his heart, continued to come back at God with fears and doubts. Gideon says, in verse 15 of chapter 6, “My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” Of course, Gideon’s apprehension did not phase God.
As I read further into chapter 6 of Judges, I began to see why my friend thought of this story in regards to my own wrestling with God. Gideon had already been called out by God. He had been affirmed as a man of valor. And yet, he still needed proof of God’s word. He audaciously came before God with a test of faith. As a harvester, Gideon was used to the threshing floor. It was a big, open space used to separate wheat from the chaff. In his line of work, the threshing floor was the place where the wheat would be refined. In verse 36, Gideon comes before God with a wool fleece on the threshing floor. He wanted God to affirm him again in his calling. Make the wool fleece dewy, but keep the ground dry. And the next morning, when he arose, God did just that. But this was not quite enough for Gideon. He then asked God to allow the wool fleece to be dry, and the ground to be dewy. When the next morning came, sure enough, God did just that.
God allowed Gideon to approach him boldly, again and again. He allowed unrest and uncertainty in Gideon’s life to be laid out before Him on the threshing floor. I know now, that in this time of “Yes” and unrest, this is what God is calling me to do. I am to come to Him at my own threshing floor. Here God is allowing me to bring forth fears, doubts, and the uncertainty of my dreams and future. Here He is separating the chaff of doubt and fear from the wheat of my faith.
This threshing floor of dreams and life is the place I am called to go to so I can meet God, be brutally honest with Him, and seek discernment on His will for my life. As God continues to lead me into new dreams and who he already knows me to be, I can ask Him to show up repeatedly, and He will.
Readers, How has God revealed himself and planted new dreams when you are in seasons of life that feel confusing?
Sarah Dohman is a nurse, kayak enthusiast, coffee addict, microbrew lover, globetrotter, adorer of friends and family. She has a weakness for donuts, runs in 5K races, and cannot get enough tea and books. She loves writing more than talking (and she talks a lot), can be seen at Target frequently, and is loving life in her thirties. She believes God has called her to this space to bring joy and encouragement through words to friends and family, near and far. You can find more from Sarah on her blog or on Instagram.