The TimeHop feature on Facebook is pretty cool. Every so often, it shows me where I was a year ago, sometimes, even 5 years ago. This past week, it showed me where we were three years ago.
Three years ago, the girls and I were at my parents house, saying our, “See you laters,” as we were getting ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. We were getting ready to move 3,000 miles away from friends & family to pursue the vision and dream in our hearts to pioneer a new church.
I remember it like it was yesterday, at the same time, it feels like a lifetime ago since we took the most daring step of faith. We were filled with all sorts of emotions & feelings–fears, uncertainties, excitement and anticipation, to name a few.
In celebration of 3 years of being Floridans, I thought I’d share 3 things that I have learned since saying, “Yes, Jesus, we will move our family 3,000 miles away to a place we don’t know anyone & start a church in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale.”
Forget the plan, get a vision.
You know that saying, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail? Yeah, about that. I totally get the big picture thought on this. I am a type A, planned out, let’s think this thru kind of girl. I think it is important to plan, but if we are not careful, we can plan our way out of the sovereign, miraculous, God breathed will for our lives. Let me explain. When I moved to Florida, I had a plan. It was detailed. This is what we will do at this time and this is what we will do at this time. This + This = BOOM. Seemed legit until moments before moving across the country, our biggest investor/ supporter let us know that the funding they had promised us was no longer going to happen. Hmm, that wasn’t in my plan. Or the time when a handful of people decided to join us on the adventure and one of the team members decided it was time to move back home. Hmmm, that wasn’t in my plan either.
Before we moved, I felt God share with me this thought, this declaration, this promise.
“It’s not going to happen the way you think it will, but it’s going to be EVERYTHING YOU HAVE EVER HOPED THAT IT WOULD BE.
When we get married, have children, start a new job career, move to a new place, we have all these plans we immediately put together. Whether it’s, the five year plan to have a baby, or the we are going to be home owners within a year, plan. We put these plans together with good intention–It’s what we have learned to do.
But life happens, and when we place our life in the hands of God, God happens. We often plan out things we want to do and accomplish, rather than getting a vision of who we want to be.
It’s great to plan the kids, the house and the picket fence, but it’s more important to get a vision of who God wants you to be.
A vision says, “I want to serve people”
A plan says, “I want 500 people in my church.”
A vision says, “I want to be in a place of influence.”
A plan says, “I want a promotion within a year.”
Plans and goals are good to have, but not items or achievements we anchor our hope or measure our lives.
2. Don’t learn yourself weak.
Church planting is not for the faint at heart and there are some incredible resources available to us as church planters in 2015! Resources, programs and ministries that help you set up for success. Just like there are parenting books, mom blogs and all kinds of resources for new moms. But, if we place so much emphasis on having a “successful”, trouble free life, we don’t know what to do when life happens. There is no such thing as trouble free! When we “educate” ourselves so much, we remove our dependence on the Holy Spirit and the guidance of Jesus. When we plan so particularly, we are tempted to take less risks and don’t know how to handle situations that didn’t come in our handbook.
In the bible, when God told Abraham to go, He went. Learning is good, but the best way you can “learn” and prepare is not going to another conference, but rather, being faithful where God has you currently.
3. Presence is better than preference.
The amount of times I have asked, “God are you sure you didn’t call us to Dallas, where I can get a big ole house for the price I am paying for a two bedroom apartment?” Is kind of hilarious, Haha! All kidding aside however, there is a lot of temptation to pursue comfort over God’s will. Having three little ones, it would be so much easier to live closer to family–date nights, late nights and meetings would be so much easier to have if we had family to help. But, this is where God has me! When I choose to be fully commitment to this place, God provides and makes a way.
When I posted on Facebook that we were moving, so many people text me, asking if we were moving away. Kind of made me sad, how casual and normal it is for people to do something and then give up on it, move back, etc. I’m not pursuing a comfortable life, where I sip sweet tea on my farm and have brunch at a trendy spot every week….I’m pursuing God’s purposes for our lives. If that includes sweet tea, brunch and maybe a farm, hey…I’ll take it.
When things don’t go as planned or when adversity happens, we have to stay the course, commit ourselves to the process in order to see maturity happen in our lives. God is such an amazing God in that His word promises that He will give us the desires of our heart.
Rather than looking for the perfect weather, or the perfect geographical location, let us say, “Here I am Lord, send me.” His will is incredible & is filled with blessing. He has come to give us life, and life more abundantly. I choose to pursue His presence rather than my preference.
I have definitely learned a whole heck of a lot more than three things, but these three things have been the root to a lot of what I have experienced, walked thru or have been tempted with. I’m grateful we took that leap of faith. It hasn’t been anything like we had planned or thought it would be, but it really has been so much more. I’m thankful for every closed door, un answered (not the answer I wanted) prayer, because they have led me here, to this moment.
This is just the beginning. Cheers to another 3!!!
TRUTH: “He who has begun a great work in you, will be faithful to complete it.”
DARE: Allow God to complete it!