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« Relationally Engaged – Insights from Scriptures | Main | The Traveling Vagabond Gets a Job!!! »
Wednesday
Sep022015

Final Reflections… The Traveling Vagabond  

 

Today we will end our era of being vagabonds, as we will arrive in Orlando Florida to a furnished apartment to begin a new life.  Tomorrow I will start as the National Director of Church Strengthening at Converge, and Terri will start looking for our new home.  Levi will start online school and in the near future he will check out School of Rock of Orlando.

As short as two weeks ago we had no idea where we were going to spend the rest of our lives.  32 days ago we left our Vegas home being absolutely clueless as to where God was taking us.  60 days ago I was training my replacement, tearfully saying goodbye to The Crossing Staff, all of which I have grown to love dearly and deeply.  90 days ago I stood on the stage of Fuller with great excitement receiving my diploma for my doctorate, yet a bit anxious as I had no idea where life was taking me. Nine months ago, I sent out my first resume.

What a wild and crazy ride.

I would like to close this era with some reflections I picked up on the way.  It is not all inclusive, rather a handful of things that come to mind:

  • God is good, even if I was still a traveling vagabond – I am at a different place in my life now.  In the past I would have said that God was good all the time, but in truth my identity was deeply tied into my work, ministry and success.  If things were not going well I found myself mad at God.  Truly putting your identity in Christ changes that.
  • Embrace every moment – In my younger years, I would have squandered a season like this by being tied up in knots with worry and anxiety.  Truly embracing Matthew 6 “Do not worry about tomorrow” was a freedom I have learned to take to a higher level.  This new found freedom of saying no to fear, turned what could have been miserable season into one of the best times in my life.  Each day was a new adventure and turned out to be better than any vacation in the past I spent months planning for!
  • Remain consistently faithful – Integrity is the only way to go.  I remained faithful to my previous ministry, faithful to my search, faithful to my family, faithful to growing in my self identity, faithful in friendships and of course faithful to God.  There were many times that the temptation was raging to take an opposite course. It might have felt good in the moment to allow negative emotions boil up and out, but I have learned that it would be a miserable existence.  It is important to note, I am not talking about bottling up negative emotions and putting on a brave face.  God does not call us to that and besides, it never works.  Instead I mean, truly believe God is in control and He has got all of the twist and turns figured out.  If I truly believe that, then it becomes easy to be faithful in the moment. 
  • ·      Ask God to orchestrate the desires of your heart – From Psalms 37:4 I have a new prayer that I am praying every day: Lord orchestrate the desires of my heart, and then give me the desires of my heart.  I had another job opportunity this month that would have fit perfectly to my goals.  The location, the pay, the specific role – it would have been great in that it was everything I wanted.  As I began to pray Psalms 37:4, God began showing me that what I thought I wanted, was not what I really wanted.  This happened to me over and over again.  He gave me every desire of my heart, thus I am so happy. Ironically though, it was not what I set out for, as I did not know at first to desire these things. 
  • Friendships and family are really important – Fear drives a person to isolation. Pride makes a man think he has to handle something on his own.  To counter fear and pride, I learned to love and lean upon my friends and family in a much deeper way.  During this season that should have been divisive: my marriage is stronger, my sons and I are closer, I have deepened friendships and I have reunited with many older friendships. 
  • Be an encourager along the way – As a time that naturally leads one to be needy (I was a vagabond after all!) God led me to speak into the lives of other people.  Some I have known for years, some I met along the journey who became new friends.  Some I met as a divine appointment and may never meet again.  By taking the focus off myself I not only got to continue in ministry, but the back draft is that I too become encouraged.
  • God has a lot of cool tricks up His sleeve – Yes, the most obvious is giving me a dream job that I did not even know could exist.  That, though, is only one example.  When you look for God along the way you really discover that He is at work in every twist and turn.  It has been so energizing to see God do cool little miracles all along the way.  I pray that I always walk with my eyes wide open.

 

This ends the Traveling Vagabond blogs, but it does not end my era of blogging.

I am thinking of focusing on three areas: Key principles from books I have been reading, insights from scripture, and wisdom I have gained from doing ministry – what do you think? 

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