May 31, 2010

Preparing to Move

Yesterday, our Pastor gave another great sermon. We are almost finished with our current series entitled, "Quarter Life: The Next Big Adventure." This series has focused on the fact that our church, Paradise Valley Community Church, is 25 years old, and is no longer a "baby church." In fact, our membership places us in the "large" church category. Our church doesn't feel large, but I guess by polling standards it is. I digress. The purpose of this series is to help us understand what God has in mind for our church, now that she is a young adult. In reflecting on the mission of the church, we have come to see what God has in mind for His People -- His Mature People. It has been a wonderful series, with a lot of thought-provoking messages.

One of the things that struck me in Sunday's message was our Pastor's words about praying and waiting for God's direction. Our Pastor is a pretty funny guy, he is very down-to-earth, and very, very real and humble. He says funny things (on point), and always makes us laugh (mostly at ourselves for being so foolish and arrogant). He gave a great illustration about how we can sometimes thwart God's plans by doing Godly things such as praying. I know, doesn't make a lot of sense, but really it is one of those "truth kernels." He told a story about a small church back in the Midwest that had a problem, a very good problem. They started having too many Jr. High kids show up on Sunday, and didn't have a program setup to meet their needs. The church recognized the need, formed a committee and started to pray about what to do. Sounds normal, right? Well, apparently, this church prayed for four years, all the while those Jr. High kids either went some where else or were turned off to church completely. The point of course is that we can pray ourselves into doing nothing, if we allow our prayers to hinder our movement.

I thought about this in relation to my current situation. No doubt, the past ten months have produced volumes of prayers for me. I have prayed myself silly at times. I am a prayer person, so I pray all day long, but even someone who naturally prays knows that there are times when you just cannot get enough prayer up to Heaven. I was in this same situation -- still am to some extent -- but also understand that there have been times when I prayed and then didn't do anything else. I said, "Lord, I need your help to solve this matter." Then I waited. And, waited. And, waited some more. Sometimes we do indeed need to wait. And, sometimes we just need to get our hands dirty and start doing something, anything that propels us forward.

I think the key difference is this: we can pray without guidance (rely on our own or another's advice) or we can pray with guidance from the Holy Spirit of God. The latter is what matters, and is the only way things will ever change. I have done both, and know there is a difference. I can feel it, I can sense it, and I can see it -- I can see change happening. This is prayer in action, power praying or simply Spirit-led prayers (just like Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 14). The Holy Spirit is the one who can get us moving, even in doing small things, until God is ready for us to make the big move. We need to be attentive to Him and listen to what He says. In doing so, we will waste far less time, spend more time actually doing things that are practical and helpful, and feel like we are not spinning our wheels.

I am at this point now. I have prayed about moving for so long now that I just don't want to think about it any more. I know we are to move, this is for sure (I feel His comfort saying this is so). I am tired of waiting for things to come to pass. I mean, "How long must I wait?"

As I started to think more about moving, I was reminded of our Pastor's message. I will admit that I have been praying more than being active; even though I don't really want to be this way. It must be a natural thing -- to pray and not walk until you absolutely must.

Now, that I am closer to actually moving, I realize that I have been behaving this way. It's not that I am doing this intentionally, I think more so out of habit.

So this is my plan (the Lord's):
  • I have applied for several jobs (about 8-10); about 1/2 locally, and 3 out of state
  • I have focused on jobs that were in the field I wanted to pursue (education), and most recently I started applying to jobs in my current field (IT)
  • I have come to the conclusion that the job market in Phoenix is really bad, and that 6 months is nothing (I have heard of others seeking jobs waiting 9-12 months)
  • I am now willing to relocate for a job, believing that "a job is better than no job."
  • I am also willing to accept this same axiom that says "any job is better than no job."
What does this mean for me? Simply this: I am now willing to work in any job; in my current field, in my desired field, or in any field available to me. I am also willing to go anywhere I can find a good income producing job (sustainable -- livable wage, etc.) This means that I have decided that if the Lord provides a job out of state and it will provide a good income, then I will take it. I cannot afford to continue to wait for something to open up here, unless that is the Lord's will for my life.

Now with my reserve in check, I am ready to get moving. I have prayed, I feel confident that the Lord is ready to move that last boulder, and set me free. All I need to do now is get out there and start doing what I need to do: get prepared; put my ducks in a row; make tentative plans, and then look for His Hand as it moves over me to send me on my way.

Dear Lord,

This is my prayer today. I am ready to move. I understand now that your plans for me may take me out of my state, and to a new place. I also understand that the work you have in store for me may be different than what I want or expect. I am willing to do whatever work you want me to do, wherever you want me to do it. I Praise your Name now, thanking you for your provision, and trusting you to provide everything I need -- down to the last and smallest detail. May God be Praised forever more this day and forever!

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