About 9 years ago, we felt God calling us away from a church family that we really enjoyed to pursue His calling for us to plant a new church. I had my vision of how it would go and the success we would have. To be honest though, it didn’t really turn out anything like I expected. Not only did it not turn out as I expected, but the next transition had some unexpected twists and turns as well.
Several years later after the church was planted and progressing forward, God moved us to Michigan where I was going to pastor a church and coach other pastors and church planters in the disciple-making principles of our church network. After packing up our family and making the move over 500 miles north where we assumed we’d be for many years, God literally brought us right back to the same part of Knoxville where we once lived just 2 years earlier (almost to the day).
Now, we’re a part of The Grove Church, and as God’s allowing me to lead this amazing group of people to take their next steps of faith with Jesus, I can’t help but reflect back on how things quite regularly didn’t go in the way I anticipated. These weren’t just small decisions such as dinner options or a vacation trip, but these were substantial life changes for us as a family. What about you? Can you relate to having something not turn out like you expected?
Here are a two of the many things I’ve taken away from these transitions over the years, so I hope they can be encouragement to you as you are going through whatever you are going through…
1) God’s plan was not for me to “figure out life, church, or what’s next,” but for me to learn how to slow down, follow His lead, lead from His leading in my own life, and walk according to His pace. Regardless of your situation, please hear me when I say that… Learning to live and lead with this perspective on life, ministry, work, etc has been the most freeing realization I’ve had since my salvation moment! I don’t have to discover all the answers or know every step that will come along the journey when my confidence is rooted in the One who is determining and guiding those steps.
2) I remember hearing God say multiple times over the years… “I’ve got this. Just lead your family and don’t stress out about the details.” My first thought back to God was… “Ok, so you actually want me to do this “Don’t worry thing” right?” … Yes He did, and now, after transitions and adjustments to life/family, I can say God has always taken care of the details. The details may not have always been to my liking or preference, but the peace that came from knowing He was the one in charge of the details is hard to articulate with words.
So, what are you stressing about today? What isn’t working out the way you expected? I’m sure it’s important. I’m sure it matters to you, and it matters to God. However, you either believe He’s got your situation under control or you don’t. There’s no middle ground with worry. Slow down from your worrying long enough to realize that He is with you if you’ll only notice Him. It probably won’t turn out like you expected, but His plans are always better and more fulfilling anyway. Draw close to Him and listen for His words of hope, identity, direction, and perspective as you embrace the moments you have today!