Archives For destiny

stupid facebook ad

I had a rough day at work. I’m a claims adjuster, which is actually a very rewarding job – I help people who are hurting. Ususally their house has burned up or the water heater popped and flooded them out. I’m not bragging – I’m just telling you straight up if something like that happens to you, you want me as your adjuster. I will put you back the way you were before, quickly, efficiently. I’ll take the majority of the stress of it all completely off you. That’s what I do and I do it well.

My heart, though – it longs for something else. I don’t think about it much because it actually makes me sad when I do. I used to be a pastor. When I’m in a joking mood, I tell everyone I’m a claims adjuster, which is basically the same job as a pastor, it just pays more. I miss it. When I sit and think about it, I remember all the good times, all the people I’ve met and who have allowed me to be a part of their lives. I really miss it – even the hard stuff like funerals, hospitals, jails…I just miss it.

I was the same kind of pastor as I am a claims adjuster. That right there was the problem I think.

I came home tonight after a really long day, got out the computer and got on facebook and to the right where the ads are, I saw the picture above, with the caption, “47 and ready to be a pastor? Earn a degree at a Christian college!”

I already did. I already was a pastor. I did everything I could to bear everyone else’s heavy load, and I just about killed myself doing it. There’s a big difference between calling a local contractor crazy because he can’t add up his estimate right (or even spell most of the time) and being all things to all people all the time.

I was on 24/7. At one church I even lived right across the street from the church building. People just drop by, or someone can’t get in, or the alarm goes off, or so on and so forth.

For 15 years I was everything to everyone. I should have been pointing them to Jesus. I should have been teaching them to stand on their own. All I did for those years was tighten up training wheels, AKA enable codependency.

Yes, I preached, I taught, I led. Looking back, compared to what I know now, it was incomplete, immature. I can’t go back in time and teach myself what I didn’t know. But I can do it differently moving forward.

Believe it or not, I’ve learned a lot about people and ministry being a claims adjuster. A big part of my job is to take as much on myself as I can. That’s the job. But I always take time to educate people – here are your options, here’s what your policy says, this is what I need you to do for yourself.

I tell people exactly what to expect, and then with them make it happen. I don’t push it back on them – I empower them to do it – I give them permission to help themselves. It makes people feel good, too. I get great feedback and try to help the people around me at work see that they don’t have to, and really can’t, bear the whole thing on their own.

That’s what the church I am a member of has done for me. I am responsible for my own spiritual growth. Not my pastor, not my wife, not the teacher in a class I go to on a Wednesday night. That’s what I need to do for others going forward – make them see they are powerful children of God – they can have their very own relationship with him, they can pray, they can study his word, they can minister – all on their own.

Do I still want to be a pastor? Is water wet? Do bears bear? Do bees be? Uh, yeah! And I think when the time is right, I will be.

Anticipation

November 27, 2012 — Leave a comment

christmas-tree2

Right now, my kids are going crazy. Because we are aggravating them. We had our Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving, and the day after T-Day we went out and bought a nice new tree, wrapped all the presents and put them under the tree. The very first thing Trinity asked was, “Can we open one present early?” “Nope” was the only answer she got.

She went to the calendar, started counting and realized that she would be staring at those gifts for over a month. Zoey doesn’t care as much, but she kisses her presents goodnight before going to bed.

What is it about anticipation? It’s maddening, but still often it’s a very sweet feeling – you know something good is coming, you may not know when, or maybe you do. And you’re so excited you can hardly wait! It’s going to be so good! Your heart is pounding, you’re out of breath, your mind is churning! Anticipation can be fun sometimes!

Sometimes, though, anticipation drives us crazy and just leaves us there. Anticipation can make a person bitter. That’s what happened to me.

I knew something good was coming, I didn’t know what or when, and it stopped being something I was looking forward to. It was taking too long. I was restless, impatient, so I stopped waiting. And the anticipation – the fun kind – ended and I got angry.

Anticipation is supposed to be a good thing – it’s supposed to be the waiting period between where we are or what we have and the awesome/wonderful thing that is to come. We are supposed to be excited every time we think of it, we are supposed to daydream, we are supposed to contemplate how different things will be when the time comes.

I knew God had something good for me, and I lost focus. I forgot that he is good. I forgot that he loves me, that he wants good things for me. I forgot who I was in him – and I became someone I wasn’t supposed to be.

I became angry, resentful, apathetic. I didn’t care what God had for me anymore. He wasn’t going to pony up, so I would get all I could out of life on my own. That plan never really took off, either. And then it got even worse. All because I forgot that I’m God’s kid, living in his kingdom already, and that the down payment of all that is to come has already been given, that I can live victorious and free regardless of my circumstance.

So I wallowed in anger, hate and self pity. I was a Scrooge, year round, until I began to be reminded of everything I had forgotten. I began to be encouraged, prayed over, loved by others who had no reason to love me. I began to heal from the past – the self imposed things and the imposed upon me things that had broken my spirit

Something I just heard today from Steven Furtick - sometimes we have to wait because God is preparing us for what he has prepared for us. Sometimes we are not ready to step into our destiny! Sometimes we need to grow, learn, trust, pray and over time become who God dreamed we would be – then he gives us what he has prepared for us.

And that is some sweet anticipation! I can’t wait! I’m like a kid at Christmas! My present is right there, staring me in the face – all wrapped up with loving care, with pretty paper and bows and when God says, “Ok it’s time” all the pretty wrapping in the world will not stand between me and what he has prepared for me, and what he has prepared me for.

It’s slow going right now though. I know some very specific things I need to work on. Other things I have a vague idea about. I’m getting there. But I know that the future God has for me is right there! My current thinking is I could probably step right into that destiny at any time. I think if I continue on my current path, It’ll happen and all of a sudden I’ll wonder, “what just happened?”

Psalm 27:13-14 says, “I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord.” I know what’s coming, just not when or how – and I’m ok with that!

How about you? Have you lost that sense of wonder, of anticipation? These are some of the sweetest things in life – unless you get too impatient, unless you try to do what only God can do. You can’t force your way into destiny – it’s a gift that God will give you when you’re ready to receive it!

Expectations

October 22, 2012 — Leave a comment

expectations

No matter what age we are, we tend to rely on our expectations. For instance, this morning, our older daughter told the younger that it was crazy hat day at school, and gave her a crazy hat to wear. The only reason the older one did this is because she had a better hat in mind for herself.

The problem occurred when the older kid couldn’t find the hat she had in mind and took the first hat back that she had given our younger daughter. The younger one screamed and cried and threw a fit. Her expectation was that her Sissy would keep her word and let her use the hat. The circumstances changed and expectations met selfish reality and although I wasn’t there, it was a tough situation for my wife.

It happens, right? We expect certain things in life. Expect that it will turn out the way we planned. Sometimes we expect we will graduate high school and go to college, but sometimes people don’t get accepted, don’t have money, don’t have the grades. Sometimes we graduate college and expect we can get a great job and end up working part time at a local taco shack. Sometimes we get a specialized graduate degree and really have high expectations and end up doing something not at all related. Sometimes it’s confusing and heartbreaking when things don’t happen like we expect.

There’s nothing wrong with any of that, though. Really and truly. It’s ok! I’m just sorry it took me so long to figure that out.

The thing about expectations is, they can really hold you back. Sometimes we are stubborn about it, too. “No – I went to school for this, I’ve wanted this my whole life, and I am going to do this!” What if God has a different plan for you? That’s ok with you, isn’t it?

You know this verse, I know you do. Jeremiah 29:11. Here’s a different translation you may not have heard – “I have not lost sight of my plan for you, the Lord says, and it is your welfare I have in mind, not your undoing; for you, too, I have a destiny and a hope.”

Think on those words. Meditate on them. Realize how significant it is that God would say something like that to people like you and me.

Do you think your situation, regardless of what it is, caught God by surprise? He was just bebopping around in heaven, looked down and saw you hanging by a fingernail off the side of a cliff and said, “Wow that’s surprising to me. I didn’t see that coming at all.”

NO! He has not lost sight of any of us! He has a plan for us, and it’s a good plan – way better than anything we could ever come up with on our own.

My plans led to the confusion and heartbreak I’ve experienced, but God’s plan is always about destiny and hope – we all have a destiny that God has planned and that should give more hope than anything! More hope than the best job, more hope than a winning lottery ticket. More hope than you could ever imagine!

You, like me, might be thinking though that you are so far from where you thought you’d be that it’s hopeless. You might even be feeling worthless, like a failure, like you’ve messed it all up. I’ve been there, in fact I deal with that almost every day. Sometimes I feel like I wasted my whole life. I feel like I tried to do what God wanted me to do and failed and now I’ll never know what he really had in mind.

The good news is, this feeling is pretty common, and even better news is that with God, nothing is wasted. Not your most mind bending failure, not your lowest point, not anything. No single thing is wasted. God can and will redeem it all! That’s how big he is, and that’s how much he loves you!

Another verse – And some context first. Joseph was a man of dreams, and his brothers were so jealous that they threw him in a ditch and told his dad he was dead. Then they sold him into slavery. Then he was put in prison for something he didn’t do. These events make up the bulk of his life. For the majority of his life, if you look at it from the outside, you would think, “Wow it really sucks to be you. No, really.”

During all those years it would have been so easy for him to think, “you know what? This stinks, it’s not going to get better, my expectation was, based on my dreams that God gave me, that I’d be living in a big house and have a book deal with a movie option. And here I am rotting in jail. My life has been a waste! Why God?”

But in Genesis 50:20, we see that he didn’t just get out of jail, but that he’s the #2 guy in all of Egypt. He’s pharoah’s right hand. There is only one person with more power than him in the entire earth. And he gives God the glory for it! He says, “You meant to do me harm, but God meant it for good — so that it would come about as it is today, with many people’s lives being saved.”

What others meant for evil, God can turn to good. When your expectations fail you, God’s dreams for you will restore your hope. Don’t waste another minute on your plans! Go to God, discover his dreams for you, learn to follow him, and his dreams will become your dreams!

What do you think God is saying to you right now? What do you think his plans are for you? Ask him, and he’ll show it to you, and give you everything you need to fulfill your destiny!