Seven months after I’ve ended my five years of full-time ministry in the church, something new is about to begin. My transition, or rather, the incubation period of “something’s gonna happen, but I don’t know what” is coming to an end.
I’m gonna start work in a Christian nonprofit organisation soon. Back to full-time ministry.
It is unexpected.
I certainly wasn’t going around looking for it. Nope. Because even though I was waiting expectantly on the Lord on my what’s next, I’ve absolutely crossed off: employment. You see, all through my working life, I was hardly the “employed” type following to the beat of others. I like to chart my own course. I thrive in a blank canvas environment where I can start and create businesses.
My rough idea for my what’s next was more geared towards focusing on using my writing to encourage people (myself included!) to walk towards a joyful life through HopeMail and this website, Knowing God—Finding Hope. Also, taking on communications and copywriting projects as my income-producing work.
My idea was: logical, practical, in line with my gifts, desires, purpose. Therefore, it’s logical that the idea should materialise, right?
Nope. No sirree. Negative. Nah-ah.
Somehow my paths have converged into this soon-to-be new season. A new beginning.
A friend from a nonprofit organisation asked if I’m ready to explore working with them. Two years ago, the same question was asked, and I said no. This time, I said yes to finding out more about the opportunity, provided that it’s on a non-employment basis as I wanted the flexibility of time and location. But it turns out that the role needed someone to be a full-time employee.
I had wrestled through the decision-making process. Prayed, sought wise counsel, used logical thinking, connected dots, and prayed a lot more. Not serene, calm prayers, mind you. More like an urgent call, God! God! Are You sure? Am I making this up?! Back to ministry again? And employment? God, you know my natural bent is not suitable to be constricted to rigid rules and such. I thought the past five years with the church was a (once-in-a-lifetime) “miracle” and I’m done. Now? Again? What?! Are You sure?
I’m not sure if I drove God or the people I’ve sought counsel with crazy, for I went round in circles with my thoughts and (in)decision.
I was almost whiny, like a kid. That’s when it hits me. Has God ever short-changed me when I took a leap of faith and joined the church office? Wasn’t I blessed (even through tough lessons) beyond my imagination? Haven’t I grown in my relationship with Christ?
Also, this upcoming season may not happen if not for my past five years in the church—because I wouldn’t have the chance to prepare for it.
And it hits me when I knew I’d contradicted myself. When I earnestly told God on 31st December that I wanna surrender my life to Him, meaning, I would listen to Him and follow. Because I love Him. And He knows what’s best for me. He loves me. He is God of all.
But then, I acted like this kid who’ve been invited, but unwilling to give up her little sandbox for what’s more significant.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” Ephesians 3:20 NIV
This verse appeared to me, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven times (yes, I’ve kept count) during the entire decision-making process. I don’t know for sure if it’s God patiently telling me this: hey, quit clutching on what you think it’s good, for I’m gonna give you something great. Now, if you can just let go and trust in Me.
Still. I was too chicken to leap as I wanted a 100% assurance that I’m hearing correctly from God to go ahead with this new season.
Finally. I can’t take this sitting on the fence any more. Furthermore, the people I’d sought counsel with, and circumstances all stacked to a yes. Most importantly, I do not wanna risk being defiant to God. So, I lept.
It’s the only way to know for sure. To quiet down my pesky, anxious, worried voice. Just like how I did with the church ministry. For when God invites His followers to His work, often some life adjustments are needed. And adjustments are uncomfortable. Sometimes, it doesn’t seem to be logical or practical in my finite human understanding too.
This period of wrestling with the decision also brought to attention how my heart has strayed from the centrality of Christ. His sovereignty. How my heart has been cluttered with worries and wants. How unrested my soul was.
And I’m sorry. I’m sorry for muddling that fine line between my dreams and God’s plan. FOMO (fear of missing n out), I had. Fearfully clutching to my own dreams and goals because letting them go to God may mean that they might not be realised.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m just like a kid not wanting to get out of the sandbox when God is saying; there is more, get out of that box (or get out of the boat, like Peter in the Bible). When I too wanted the ”there is more of God”, but I’d mistakenly turned it into a logical arithmetic exercise. I’d temporarily lost sight of how mighty, wise, and all-knowing God is. And of my desire to wanna follow Christ.
I didn’t hear what Jesus said:
“And He said to them, “ Follow Me [as My disciples, accepting Me as your Master and Teacher and walking the same path of life that I walk], and I will make you fishers of men.”
And I guess I didn’t do this either:
“Immediately they left their nets and followed Him [becoming His disciples, believing and trusting in Him and following His example].”
Matthew 4:19-20 AMP (Emphasis mine)
But I’m a lifelong learner. Learning to tune, to recalibrate, to become more and more aware of the rhythm of someone walking closely with Christ. Learning to identify the beginning and end seasons of life. To accept and live with the season. To prepare and make room for a new season to begin. Following to the beat of His drum, not mine.
So help me, Lord. (and pray like mad.)