There have been a lot of good things that have happened these last few years. 2 years ago, I completed my Counseling Masters and have been working with people the last 3 years. That has been very fruitful and challenging all at the same time. At the same time, I partnered with some brothers to begin leading weekend men’s boot camps (not your normal retreat). During all this time, I’ve held on the work that I’ve been in the last 14 years. Needless to say, it’s been a very busy time.
My desire these last years, has been to transition to be able to minster and counsel with people on a full-time basis. Of course, there is still the responsibility of providing for my family and ensuring we keep a roof over our heads, etc. With that, it was essential to continue my full-time job. Thankfully, by and large, it has been good to be there and I’ve enjoyed the team I’ve worked with. At the same time, they’ve been very gracious to allow me flexibility to pursue my hearts desire as well.
With that, I can honestly say, that there was not a major strategy on how to move and I feel I became comfortable in the routines, even in the busyness. A few weeks back, things were shifted, where I had to put counseling work on hold for a time. That was very difficult, especially with some of the folks I’ve worked with for some time and the work we were doing.
With the changes, I’ve had to do some serious introspective and spent a great deal of time seeking God for discernment and wisdom. I also received some wonderful counsel from trusted brothers and allies. With all of that, it seemed God was telling me, “you’ve gotten a little comfortable. What are you going to next? Nothing is going to be dropped in your lap.” Seems like good wisdom from my dad. “You’ve got to work for it.” Looking back, it definitely seems that after finishing the Masters degree and that pressure falling away, I allowed things to cruise and stay status quo.
Now this year, some big moves have been made. From the continued growth of our retreats, we have since a established a new ministry called Deep Roots Ministry. This gives a vehicle to manage these retreats and provide even more to the people we reach as God moves us forward. At the same time, things overall, stayed the same. Some planning toward the ministry, but everything else stayed status quo.
So now what? As was mentioned, a point was reached where the things I’d been working for had to be put on hold. At first, I did not know what to do. So many thoughts raced through my mind. Should do this or that? Should I take a sabbatical or continue on? What was the right thing?
After many days of praying through this and having some really good conversations with my wife and trusted brothers, it became clear what was needed. I was able to step back, see the bigger picture and began to lay out a plan to make the changes with time and without making hasty decisions. Slow and steady and strategic.
What was even more wild and all I could do was laugh and tell God “I hear you,” was that the very next day, we received our 501(c)3 approval for our ministry, which cleared the way to seek financial partners and so on.
Isn’t disruption such a key way in which God works? You see story after story in Scripture and we’ve seen in play out in moderns days of people who God disrupted in some way to get our attention and follow Him. It took losing the most important man in my life a decade ago to get my attention the first time. Now it seems he’s gotta shake the ground under my feet again. It would seem that this is often needed. In our day-to-day lives, there is so much going on, that often times we get pulled into routines that keep us from really seeing what is on the horizon and thinking how to get there.
What I’m reminded of, also, is that this is all a continued opportunity to build deeper union with God. That through our trials and uncertainties we can endure because of the promised hope of Jesus Christ. As Paul writes, in Romans 5 that “suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” So God is continuing to try lead us and train us up through these things. Yes, God gives us more than we can handle, but he does not give more than He can handle. Anytime we encounter these moments we have to ask, “Okay, God, what are you trying to tell me here?” It’s okay to stop and ask Him. You never know what He may be up to.