God in transition...
If God is always present and at work then it means, there is always an invitation to stop what your doing and join Him in what He's doing. Sometimes joining Him feels small, like realizing the lady in front of you is going to need help getting her groceries in the car because there's way too many and it's pouring down rain. Other times, joining Him feels massive, like walking away from a perfectly good job without knowing what's next.
Transitions are a natural part of life. I've spent most of my life being bad at them. Not really on purpose (I actually don't enjoy being bad at things!) more so because I didn't recognize what was happening. It's hard to cooperate with the winds of change if you are running against them rather than with them.
My last transition was a big one. Though definitely harder than all the ones in the past, it left me with quite a bit of insight for the future.
If you walk with Him long enough, He is going to ask you to move. Movement is required for maturity to take place. Think about it, no one walks into a gym and does nothing, and still expects to get a lot of return for their monthly membership fee. That would be insane. We know, when we sign up for a gym membership there is going to be movement required in our transformation. We have to do something and go somewhere. Transition brings growth and because His heart is always for our maturity, our Father will continually invite us into transition.
We are always best to accept His invitations. No matter how intimidating or unknown they are. Abraham was a man in transition.
Genesis 12:2-3, “The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you ‘I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’”
In other words, "Abram, do you trust me? Will you walk away from your home, from your family, from your perceived future and will you put your faith in what I have promised you?"
Now, Abram could have said, "yes, Lord, I trust you, but done nothing close to leaving and we all would easily arrived at the agreement, Abram didn't really trust God would do what He said He would do." It's so easy to see it when it's someone else. Thankfully, that's not what he did. Thankfully Abram was able to dig deep and find the faith to do what God had invited Him to do.
God has one prerequisite, "Will you trust me?"
It's why He invites us into new, unknowns. It's why He sometimes distances Himself from us as we search Him out in these unknowns. It's also why, He places a high value on transitions. It doesn't take trust to always stay where you are comfortable. Sometimes He will even invite us to stay in the same place in spite of our discomfort. These are times we think to ourselves it would be easier to have just left and started afresh than to stay put and trust Him with what's left.
Whether the Father is transitioning you physically or just spiritually, going somewhere new with Him will cost you something. I would never go to the store and pay for something I didn't trust would work when I got it home. If we don't trust Him with the places He leads we simply won't be able to pay the price of His invitation.
We don't always get to chose what happens to us, but we get to chose how we respond to it. Maybe your transition is voluntary or maybe you have been thrown into it. Either way, what you do in it will determine who you become through it. Here are a few simple suggestions I've picked up along the way.
1. Listen carefully, but not to fear
The fear of messing this up is from the enemy because God doesn’t need us to do this – He wants us to do this. He is the Alpha and Omega – He can’t get this wrong. If our heart is sincerely dedicated to following Him – then even when we get it wrong – we get it right.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your way straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
He says, "acknowledge Him in all your ways" and He will make sure the road goes the right way. He didn't say, "make sure you read the map exactly right." I've met with so many people who live with a genuine fear of messing this up and missing out on what God has for them. I used to be the exact same way. The more I've followed Him through impossible transitions, the more I've realized we always get where we are going in spite of how I know I did not make every right step.
2. Tell someone, but not the person who will talk you out of it
In fact, tell the person you know will talk you into it. It's always great to have that one friend who makes us feel really good about right where we are. They are so inviting and encouraging. So uplifting and so extremely helpful when the road we walk is littered with difficulties. However, the person that is going to push you to follow Jesus regardless of what it cost might be different than the person who helps you be comfortable where you are.
We have to have people in our lives who don't mind a little discomfort, if it means more Jesus. He has such amazing things for you, but the journey will make you uncomfortable. Who is your friend that cares more about your obedience than your comfort? Okay, go and tell them.
3. Slow down, but stay on the jog
I used to have a soccer coach who would yell onto the field, "catch your breath, but stay on the jog." What he meant was, don't stop running. There is a way to recover and still continue to move. When you transition, life might need to slow down. You might feel like you've had the wind knocked out of you or if you haven't run in a few years, you simply might feel like you've just died. Slow your breathing down. Take a few things out of your life for the time being. Stop trying to continue at the pace you were running before.
You are in a new place, learning new things and there will be an adjustment period. The more time you create the quicker you will be acclimated with the surroundings around you. One thing I've learned: God's not in a hurry. He is all about the journey and He will allow it to take as long as necessary.
4. Don't look back, but celebrate what you've left behind
There are better ways to move forward than walking backwards. Where you are going demands all your attention. Celebrate where you've been - good or bad - it's all been subjected to the Sovereignty of God. Nothing slows us down more than turning our heads back and being more concerned with what we've left behind than what lies ahead.
He has such good things ahead for you. More than you could ever ask or imagine possible. It will be hard, it will be costly. You will mess it up. You will need His help but you will be richly rewarded for your faith.
Abraham got it right. In the beginning he had to trust God with his past. He had to leave behind all he knew and walk forward into the unknown. By the end, he was having to trust God with his future. Abram finally gets his beloved son. The son whom which the promises of God will come through. God was going to make an entire nation from Isaac. All of Abram's hope was riding in this one. Until God showed up and said, "I want you to sacrifice your son."
Scripture says, "early the next morning," Abraham and Isaac got up early and began to gather the supplies for the sacrifice. Early the next morning! I think I would have definitely slept in and dragged my feet a bit on God's request. But Abraham got up early and headed toward the mountain where the sacrifice would take place. He didn't waste anytime because He trusted, if the Father called him to it, He would see him through it. There was such an inspiring level of trust in this man.
You probably know the story. Just as Abraham went to sacrifice his beloved son, the Father stopped him and provided a way out. “Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son,” (Gen 22:12.) God would now do the impossible through Abraham because He knew Abraham would follow Him anywhere.
Where has God invited you? Where are you in the midst of a hard transition? What are you listening to? Who have you told? How are you slowing down? What are you celebrating about where you have been? I can't wait to see where He's taking you, but more than that I can't wait to see who you become as you journey with Him.