Posted on April 2, 2015
LIAM:Surely one of the most stress inducing questions in life for many Christians is What does God want to do with my life? And deeply connected to that are all types of anxiety related where that might be and how I know God is really speaking? A good friend and leader of ours recently announced with equal part humility and conviction that God is leading him to move with his family to Tanzania, so I thought he’d be the perfect guy to ask.. Noah spent his 20’s pastoring a predominantly African American Mennonite church in Washington DC. When he began asking question about ‘What is Church?’ rather than inflict his learning process on the congregation 1 he decided to move to South Africa around the same time as Rachel and I and has been one of the most articulate and extraverted learners and processors I have met. This unique talent means that when Noah learns, everyone around him learns too and that’s why I invited him to share on this subject.
NOAH: Our family has recently walked through a process of hearing God lead us into a transition for a move to another country (Tanzania). It’s our second international move. Here are some of the more practical things we are learning.
- Plant your heart where you are now! It’s totally frustrating for you, and disheartening for those around you, when you let your heart, mind and speech drift into a season and place you aren’t in yet! Bloom where you’re planted until the day you fly away.
- Bend your ear to God’s voice. The key is to listen, more than to look. There’s a difference. Our hearts follow our eyes, feet and mouth. Just listen at first. God often starts the transition process through whispers. When you’re hearing consistent whispers in the same direction, you’re likely on the road to transition.
- Don’t blow things out of proportion…you’re not that important. Ok, you ARE important, but often we make a much bigger deal out of moving on than God or others do. He moves his kids around. Transition is natural and it’s not the end of the world if its your turn. Relax and enjoy. Give yourself permission to keep walking ahead.
- Let your planning follow the “cloud.” Why not lay out your top 3-4 Good/God ideas for the future on the table. Don’t limit your options to only one place at first. You may regret it later. If you’re gonna make a big move, put some competitive ideas on the list of where you end up. Dream! And then follow the cloud of God’s peace. Where does the peace rest? Now, make the call. State it.
- Now, test it with an open hand in a small circle. This looks quite simple. Go to people that love you and clearly walk in step with God’s heart and say something like: “We have listened and tracked with God’s leading and we sense he is saying ____! Do you sense we are hearing from God? We don’t want to miss Him.” Then, listen to them and God some more over a period of weeks. Perhaps this will lead to a few adjustments. That’s ok and probably a good thing.
- Proclaim it with clarity to the larger circles. Announce the leading of the Lord with joy and grace! Start the practical planning. And take your time with the transition. It’s almost always unnecessary to rush processes like these
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- his own phrasing. ↩