Trying to make this life work on my own terms is just down-right futile.
If you’ve been paying any attention to my latest musings on the EBM blog, Instagram, or FB, you’ve seen a pattern begin to develop. For instance, deciding our life is manageable without Him, to resist the temptation to check out, to facing the unknown, to the concept of divine control, to understanding the value of rest and to the requirements of waiting on God. It all seems a bit surreal to me. God’s been showing me “The Process”. The process of what it really looks like to surrender to HIS will, to THE plan and to TRUST HIM with the outcome.
Friends, I’ve said this over and over and over again. Our journey rarely looks the way we think it should or predict it might. God’s nature and His ways are complex. He knows what’s best for each of us. Down to every intimate detail.
I’ve been working, for a couple of years, on launching an international food export business. One that I know God called me to. One that my wife and I agreed was worth pursuing with vigor; both financially and in the time it would require to get it off the ground. Distributors in Panama, The UK and Colombia were quick to show interest. After a trip to Panama in October of 2016, we were well on our way to starting something new. Our goal from the start was to create a revenue stream for us personally and fund the ministry of Embracing Brokenness that God clearly called us into. Yet after 2 ½ years of hard work and a huge financial investment we’ve seemingly reached a dead end. At least that’s how it appears from my limited perspective. So, why is that?
What looked to be the smoothest and most sensical next step “ended” with no apparent result. How can that possibly be? Did we hear wrong? Did we misstep along the way? Were outside forces, beyond our control, interfering with the outcome? Did the enemy intersect God’s plans and derail our future?
I can’t answer any of these questions quite yet. Perhaps it’s just a timing issue. I honestly don’t know.
I do know this, that God hasn’t changed since the onset of this adventure. His plan for our life has not been altered by some outside force. He’s the only outside force that matters. I suspect that someday we’ll be able to sort it all out. I have a few answers now, but my vision is limited in scope. For example, I’m not called to international business as missions without walking out a part of my own healing journey in advance. No way was I prepared, looking back, to come alongside the poor and disenfranchised of this world without first doing so in my own hometown. That’s exactly what’s been happening for the last 2 years serving at a local Mission. Sitting with, teaching, and influencing the lives of those living in extreme poverty and brokenness; suffering the consequences of trauma and wounding in and around their lives. Just like me, except without a place to rest their head or a predictable next meal.
It’s in these circumstances that I began to understand the mystery of the healing journey. The journey toward restoration. What it takes to finally lay down my life and yield to the One that created me. The One that calls me His son. The One that desires an intimate relationship with me and wants to direct every aspect of my life. No exceptions. No expectations. Just His love. Once I accept His love, His joy and am filled with His Spirit, I can pass it along out of the overflow.
One thing I’ve come to believe and further experience in my everyday walk with Him is the love and the peace that passes all understanding when I lay down my right to decide anything. I’ve learned that getting up each day with a plan in hand can be extremely rewarding when I surrender it to Him – or extremely frustrating when I hold on tightly to my expectations.
Control is an illusion. I’m so happy to have experienced the truth in that statement. When we choose to live life in Christ a great exchange takes place. Our life for His. Yet He still provides the free will for us to walk away or engage as He intended. We’ll never get it perfect. But we’ll always get it wrong when we pick up our cross and follow someone else, or ourselves, or anyone other than Him. Following means holding on loosely to anything and everything that we place in God’s rightful spot in our life.
I don’t know where my international influence will land; if anywhere other than in my own hometown. But I need to be okay with that. I do know that He’s called me to full-time ministry as a vocation. That’s not a job or work. It’s a lifestyle. That’s all I need to know right now. Friends, every Christ-follower is responsible for reflecting Jesus to a hurting world.
The only thing that’s not an illusion is God’s love and His ultimate control in my life and yours. I need to embrace that – and so do you.