Nothing about Mary answering her call screamed mediocre.  She didn’t settle for less nor did she sit on the sidelines and play it safe.  I want to remind you, you’re not pleasing God if you’re not chasing after your dreams and answering His call.  Instead, you’re allowing fear to control and manipulate God’s promise concerning your life.  And when you function from a place of fear, you end up living beneath your God-ordained potential and you settle for less. 

I can’t start to explain how many people I come across daily as I coach or minister to that suffer from the spirit of fear.  They are consumed with the thought of stepping out on faith. Their consumption of fear paralyzes them from moving forward, and it blocks them from seeing their God-given talent.  When you believe God can do exceedingly and abundantly above anything you can ask of Him, then you refuse to allow fear to apprehend you or arrest you in the spirit. Playing safe means that you limit God and restrict your faith.  You refuse to believe that you have what it takes to produce greatness.  Must I remind you; you do not serve a limited God who operates from a place of unrest and unbelief.  You serve a big God who can accomplish the incredible.

You do not serve a limited God who

operates from a place of unrest and unbelief.

If your life doesn’t look the way you think it should, then it’s time you change your path.  Change will never happen if you keep resisting the shift that’s occurring in the spirit.  A spirit-shift requires a movement of God, which stretches you beyond your comfort zone.  That’s why I refuse to settle for a life of mediocrity.  And I advise you to do the same and not settle for average!

Think about it.  Life is like a roller coaster ride.  You’re expected to stand in a long line and wait your turn to enjoy the ride.  While you wait, you must maintain your excitement!  Live outside the realm of complacency when you’re comforted with twists and turns after standing in a long line waiting for God to “tag” you next for elevation.  Growth opportunities don’t appear to people who are afraid to be stretched, or elevation doesn’t come without you participating in some sort of major attraction.  You can create excuses, or you can show persistence and produce good fruit.  Dream Chasers who seek out the highest, fastest roller coaster rides in the world aren’t easily distracted by the size of the ride or the noise coming from those who are going through the motion. 

Instead, they focus on the obvious.  And the obvious is the Word the joy the ride brings, the promises that God has whispered so only you can hear it as you undergo each twist and turn or high and low.  Dream Chasers who are seeking out the momentum from the ride refuse to function at a low level of expectation because they have a will to succeed.  The will to succeed starts with you preparing for the next level…the next ride.   They seek to answer God’s call through preparation before they jump on the ride.  These Dream Chasers roller coaster seekers never expect Him God to let them scrape by operating beneath their potential.  They are studying the roller coaster.  They are making risky decisions to play full out.  They refuse once again to play it safe.  They are positioning themselves to be in the right place at the right time.  Once again, life is just like a roller coaster.  You have two choices.  You can stand in the long line waiting your turn to enjoy the ride by expecting a thrill or you can stand in the line with low expectations chugging along slowly as the roller coaster builds momentum to take you on an action-packed adventure of a lifetime packed with various twists and turns.  Remember: Those who do, do.  Those who can’t, can’t.  Those who will, will.   

There’s no shortcut to progressing in life.  For God to change your life, you must stop functioning from a limited mentality filled with self-limiting beliefs.  As you continue to grow as a Christian, understand that not all hurtful, shameful mistakes are meant to be disgraceful in God’s eyes.  I never wanted to be a young, single mother.  For example, I never thought one night of passion as a sixteen-year-old girl would change the course of my life.  Even though my secret indiscretion was exposed, on one hand, my purpose was purposefully revealed on the other.  Like Mary, from the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew my life would never be the same. God took a scandalous situation and used it for my good.  What am I saying?  See, God used my pregnancy to validate my gifting, which forced me to answer the Big Call for my life.  Now, I have several questions for you to answer in hopes of helping you answer your Big Call.

How can you take what God has given you and make it better? 

What will you do with your gift? 

How can you make your life better? 

How can you respond to the world at a bigger level with the little that you have?  How can you perfect what you have and take it to the next level? 

How can you position yourself so the right people can find you?

How can you maximize your potential? 

How are you properly positioning yourself so you can impact the kingdom and receive rewards for your hard work?

Starting now, you must remember that for you to play at the next level, you must apply for new membership!  And your next level membership is called extraordinary.

What should have broken me, propelled me to activate my gift that I hid from the world.  Being from a small, rural area, no one spoke the highly-acclaimed word which is extremely used today, prophet.  When I think back to 1995, I still can’t recall one prophet preaching in the pulpit back home or call to mind teaching about prophets who were widely used by God comforting, warning, and healing nations like I see today.  To preach, teach, and prophesy is now my new spiritual badge of honor.  It’s my calling.  It’s my platform.  It’s my extraordinary gift from God.

From the moment God revealed Himself after the birth of my baby, I knew I was no longer hiding in a world that saw me as just another ordinary girl, living a mediocre life with a prophetic gift.  My breakout season was in operation.  God was calling me to operate on a level of extraordinary.  I gave birth in September of 1995 and started college in January of 1996 as a sixteen-year-old mom. God showed me in that moment that I was no longer going to be weak when a generation of people needed a strong me.  Not only was I learning how to be a mother, I was also taxed with the task of learning how to operate in my gift as a young prophet.   All my life, I hid in silence only operating at a functional level with my gift.   But more on that later.  My life as a lackadaisical teen was over.  A new opportunity to leave my comfort zone, abandon mediocrity and walk in a new light presented itself.  I clutched hold to my call and made no excuses for why I decided to emerge from comfort and stepped into the realm called prophetic destiny.

Understand right now that mediocrity is a mindset.  So, how long will you allow yourself to live a life of mediocrity?  Just like Mary, you must answer the call for your life without hesitation.  The longer you refuse to answer the call for your life, the more time you spend working a meaningless job, chartering murky waters, and looking through foggy or rose-colored glasses.  Note that answering the call for your life doesn’t mean that you abandon the person who you’ve come to know, it simply means that you’re willing to tap into something much bigger than yourself.

When God gets ready to shift you from mediocre to extraordinary, He’ll allow you to undergo some type of test where you’re being spiritually pruned for the next level.  Pruning is never senseless but spiritually necessary to prepare you for what’s to come.  Pruning can come in the form of hate, abandonment, rejection, demotion, or suffering.  All the while, you’re asking God, “Why me?  What did I do wrong to deserve such ostracism?”  More often than none, you did nothing wrong.  Pruning doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a big sinner or live a bad life, your pruning season can simply mean that God saw an incredible opportunity to nurture a spiritual gift.  It’s about God giving you a chance to spend time with him. 

My pruning process–shame, secrets, fear, and guilt were all warning signs symbolic of an old season-ending and a new season beginning with purpose.  Many of you are probably thinking…

“How?”

“What do you mean?”

It wasn’t until weeks later when I found out I was pregnant that I came to understand that my secret indiscretion, that night, was tied to my purpose.  As a young, ordinary girl like Mary, I never thought my life would be used on such a wide-scale.  And I most certainly didn’t see how me being a teen mother could be used as redemptive where I would grow into an entrepreneur, pastor, and prophetess speaking restoration into the lives of so many people who too saw themselves as broken, unrepairable and ordinary.

I recall one-day sitting in my childhood bedroom holding my new baby.  As I sat looking at her, I heard a still voice speak to me.  God declared, “Leslie, one day, you will preach, teach, and prophesy my Word to the nations.  You will also have another child, and this child will be a son.”  At that moment, I didn’t fully understand the voice speaking, but I knew my life would never be the same.  I shared the Good News with my family and from there, the foundation for my prophetic destiny was laid.

I often think of Mary, a young virgin mother, unlike me, accepting such a huge responsibility during a time where she could have been stoned to death or worst for this selfless act.  Because the moment I found out I was pregnant for the first time, so many negative options ran through my head.  Have you ever been in a position where you felt your back was up against the wall with no way out?  As I reflect on my season of brokenness, I often reminisce about dark days when I was most vulnerable and overwhelmed by the spirits of fear and destruction.  The spirit of Apollyon fell heavily upon me because my expecting news was clouded with guilt and shame. When I reflect on the possibility of me thinking about aborting my baby years ago, I could have, by omission, aborted my purpose assignment too.  By default, so many people abort their cx promise because the mission seems unfixable or impossible.  Can you imagine the people who committed suicide because they thought they saw no resolve in sight?  Or, couples who ended their marriages because they refused to stick it out and put in the work by faith?  That’s why no matter how heavy the attack or how low you may feel, you must walk out God’s assignment for your life.

No matter the task, your job is to complete the assignment with incredible certainty that God is with you guiding you every step of the way even though you can’t see or feel Him.  As God uses you for His well, He’s building your strength and solidifying your framework so you can withstand the hits of life.  Mary exhibited such strength unlike me as an ordinary girl who too was chosen by God, and it showed when she immediately accepted the call for her life without guilt or shame.  When you think about, 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV), it reminds us that God doesn’t give us the spirit of fear but instead love, peace, and sound-mindedness. Anything outside of these three positive qualities is the work formed by the enemy, whose daily job is to trick you into believing that your brokenness is evidence of a life of despair, hurt, rejection or loneliness.

Wow!  What if I had believed the lies of my brokenness or if Mary had succumbed to her fears instead of accepting God’s willful plan for her life?  As a thinker, I often times go into deep thoughts surrounding the consequences pertaining to the ifs concerning Mary’s life.   Mary could have run away and pretended that an angel never appeared to her releasing such a powerful word from God.  Instead, she could have married Joseph never uttering a single word to him about her encounter with an angel and the revelation that was revealed unto her.  But what about the consequences concerning being “on the run” or “ignoring” God’s will for your life? 

But she didn’t ignore the call.  Luke 1:38 renders proof of Mary’s obedience and God’s will for her life.  And because Mary was a willing vessel, who surrendered unselfishly to God, favor was granted unto her.  God looked at Mary’s submission as a sign of maturity.  In the body of Christ, so many people struggle with spiritual immaturity.  Mary’s call to serve showed a mature intent to lead without thinking of self.  And because she was Spirit-led, God highly favored her.

As seasons shift, so does God’s assignment for your life.  As winter comes in, you expect a cold front or harsh weather conditions; therefore, God’s pruning during this season equips you to adapt to your environment.  As spring rolls in, the weather is warmer, and God uses the pruning process during this season to clip away hidden branches that are no longer applicable for the harsh weather conditions.   That’s why the pruning process is so gurgling.  Isn’t it great to know that answering God’s purpose for your life gifts immediate favor?

Have you ever had a visitation from God where He plainly revealed the next step of your life and you simply ignored His directives?

Did you accept the call?

Or, do you wish you could go back in time and accept your assignment? 

Not for one minute did Mary think about the backlash or the trials of her acceptance of God’s purposeful plan for her life.  Think about this, the moment she accepted God’s call for her life, she entered a powerful covenant with God, and this convent was like none other-favor.