Photo by Mike73 on Morgue File.
Life is a series of beginnings and endings. We leave one job to start another; we quit cities, countries, or continents for a fresh start; we leave lovers and begin new relationships. What was the last thing you contemplated leaving? What were the pros and cons? Have you made up your mind? What will you choose?
For some leaving is easy. For some, it seems their life is one constant good-bye. We say about these people that they are afraid of commitment or they bore easily. They seem to no sooner settle into something, (whether that something be a relationship, occupation, place), than they are already looking for the next stop. It reminds me of the person eating breakfast and already contemplating what they will be having for lunch!
For others, saying good-bye is the hardest thing to do. They would rather stay too long, even to their own detriment, than to leave. Some stay in jobs too long that they long knew were dead-ends. Or, jobs that were asking them to do things that went against their morals and ethics. Some stay in relationships too long, with a partner that is abusive, (whether physically, emotionally, mentally), thinking that they may be able to eventually change him/her. Or, thinking that this is what they deserve. Others stay in locales too long, fearing change and leaving loved ones behind. They have grown accustomed to life here and they fear what the next place may bring; the uncertainties, the strangers, the new challenges.
There are usually good reasons for staying and for leaving. The question, the dilemma is often times knowing which to do.
We all know the old adage, the grass is always greener on the other side; but, sometimes when you get to the other side, you realize the grass is no better here than it was over there. Of course, it is not always about better. Sometimes to advance in life or faith, we do not necessarily need to move upward; perhaps, we just need a lateral move. I know lateral moves get bad press. What’s the point of that, someone will ask? We are always looking for something better, something bigger. We are looking for more of this or more of that.
But, maybe our focus is all wrong. Maybe we have believed a lie. Maybe it is not about moving up, perhaps it is about moving over or even down. We may be less happy than we could be because we are constantly looking at what we don’t have, instead of what we do. This leads us to be less than satisfied or grateful for the blessings God has given us. The blessings he has given us now. But, we are a disgruntled bunch. We want bigger and more blessings.
Yes, God, my car is fine, but I really want a newer one, we think. Why newer? Often times simply because it is newer.
Yes, God, my house is lovely and all, but I really would like a nicer or bigger one, we protest. Why? Just to have it I suppose.
Yes, God, my job is fine, but I would really like a better paying job or that promotion or that raise, we cheer ourselves on. Why? It seems we really believe this is what life is all about, and, to some degree, we feel as if God owes us this much.
As I said in a recent post, I never have minded change. I can roll with the punches with the best of them. Does this mean I don’t appreciate normalcy? Does this mean I don’t like constancy? Of course not. But, it does mean I realize life is about change; sometimes things change.
Above all this, especially for those of us who are Christians, is seeking God’s plan and purpose. I have found in my own life, doing God’s will is not some magical formula. It is not some mysterious open sesame. I have found that I do God’s will, that I live in God’s will by simply doing those things that God has commanded and instructed me to do. As I live obediently, as I live by faith (and not by sight) God’s will is done in and through me.
Of course, there come times when a decision must be made and I need to seek God’s wisdom. There have been times when I have made my own decisions, presuming to know what God would have me do and I end up in some mess or another.
How do you know when to leave or when to stay? Your gut? The stars? A dream? Friendly advice?
While we may find counsel in good places, ultimately only God can lead us through life. After all, he is the one who created it. He is the one who shaped and formed us. He is the one who has a plan for our lives. Who then is better to help us make such decisions?
As a Christian, I am called to follow Christ. If he leads me to stay, then I should stay. If he leads me to leave, then I should leave.
There is a prayer I often pray, typically daily, that goes along these lines. I pray, God, give me wisdom to see what you are doing in my life. Give me wisdom to see your will, to see the doors you are opening. And God, give me faith to trust you and follow you through those doors.
These really are the two essential things we need: wisdom and faith. We need to know what God is dong and then trust him to do just that.
It is as the apostle Paul testified, for me to live is Christ and to die is gain (Phil. 1.21). You see Paul said to the Philippian believers that he was ready to go on to heaven, but for them it was more profitable for him to stay. Stay or leave? For Paul, it was not his decision, it was in God’s hands.
May we, as Christ-followers, have the same mindset as Paul. So that, whether God leads me to stay or leave, it is all for the glory of Christ.