I was in a sticking point in ministry and needed counsel. We were living on our mini-farm on Wilson Creek Road in Ellensburg, Washington. I traveled to visit John Sandford for counsel in Sandpoint, Idaho. John was one of the fathers of the modern prophetic movement. Years before when I had met him for the first time he told me things about myself only God could reveal. His words got me on track with my calling.
I remember the night before getting down by the side of the bed and praying for our next day’s meeting. I asked God to give me a dream to share with John the next day that might help in the counseling.
That night I dreamed I was walking down the middle of #6 road. (As you went South on our road, Wilson Creek, it became #6 Road)
There was a rickety shack taking up both lanes of the road. I went into the shack and to the far-right corner where there was a mimeograph* machine. I entered it, flipped through it, and was spit out of the shack on the far end. You can only do that in a dream!
John Sandford was standing in front of me.He looked at me with concern and said, “What happened to your ears?” I became self conscious and put my hands over my ears. I said, “It must have happened when I went through the mimeograph machine.”
John told me the dream was perfect.
First, rather than going North in the “Will of the Son” I was going South (down hill) on #6 road. Six is the number of man’s way.
Going through the mimeograph was a picture of trying to duplicate the way others were doing ministry. Indeed, I was looking at other pastors and wondering what kind of minister I should be. Should I be a gregarious, glad-handing, slap-you-on the back pastor? A compassionate visit-in-every-home pastor? A detailed administrator pastor? A scholastic theologian pastor? I was looking for others to imitate.
John explained, by trying to copy other leaders’ personalities or approaches, or duplicating their gifts and callings, I was no-longer myself. He said I was designed to be wildly creative, but by trying to conform to other people’s images I was losing myself and my ability to hear God’s direction.
I still reflect back on that experience and its lesson. Because of it I have become more, myself, more comfortable in my own shoes.
I’ve learned to appreciate the amazing qualities of other saints. I honor them and learn from them, finding inspiration. But when we are truly ourselves, and not copies of others, we find the greatest personal satisfaction, and express the uniqueness of God’s creative genious.
Take care of your ears!
- Mimeograph: a dinosaur duplicator pre-dating the copy machine.
John Sandford’s ministry is carried on at elijahhouse.org