When God says leave, what do you do?

Abort! Abort! Why leave

We’d been thinking about possibly making a church change at some point.
Maybe. Sometimes. Later. Maybe not.
But that night, although I didn’t hear audibly from God, I had no doubt he was telling me, “Now!”
Really, God? But this is where I’ve been for years. Where I thought I’d stay for years more.
So I walked away. From the familiar, the comfortable, the known.
Into? Well, I’m still not actually sure.
What I am sure of is this: if you’re not able to glorify God well where you are, you might need to go somewhere else.
Maybe not immediately. Because maybe the problem is more you, less the circumstances. Or maybe it’s still not clear. Give it time. Pray. Repent. Grow.
But if he makes it clear—and he made it clear to me, over and over—don’t look for compromises. Be responsible. Be obedient. Go.
The cost

Won’t that hurt? Yes. Majorly. It’s been months and I still hurt. I miss friends.

But I was missing grace more. I was missing freedom that Jesus died to give me. I was missing a consistent, dead-center focus on the One who gives his all so we can have it all and surrender it all for his purposes.
Maybe I wasn’t meant for safe church. He knows I need pushes (I’m not exactly a thrill-seeker). I can too easily sit down in comfort when I need to be stepping out in faith. Need to be chasing grace. Need to be shadowing closer. 
So when I saw him illuminating the exit door just for me, I was uneasy.

Following Jesus isn’t for the faint of heart. Sometimes he asks you to make a bold move, one you don’t really want to make. This was one.
I had to obey—because I trust him mostly—and I want to trust him totally.

I grabbed his hand and we walked.
What has it cost me? A lot. Some people don’t understand. They’re hurt or angered or confused. Many have yet to notice (that aches, too). And others just don’t care (I’m not naïve). I’ve had to sacrifice security; approval; convenience.
The benefits

But what am I gaining?

  • Peace, resting in the confidence I’m walking in his will
  • Faith, leaning harder on him, less on heritage
  • Intentionality, seeking more opportunities to love him, to love others
  • Provision, uncovering new resources and insights and relationship
  • Worship, releasing new avenues to praise and honor him
  • Purpose, reevaluating gifts that can be better used for his glory

Leaving was more than walking from; it was walking toward.
    Toward a righteousness holier than my doctrinal intellect.
    Toward a kingdom mission broader than a single tribe’s.
    Toward a grace wilder than man’s manufactured works.
God doesn’t always require a departure to walk closer with him. But sometimes he does ask us to leave a place or a ministry or a relationship where his work through us is complete and is no longer functioning to glorify him (at least through us).
When he does, what will we do?

* * *

What is God nudging you away from? Toward?
I’m sharing My Hazardous Faith Story for the synchroblog connected to Ed Cyzewski and Derek Cooper’s new book Hazardous: Committing to the Cost of Following Jesus. My review here.

Share your own story of costly discipleship at In a Mirror Dimly, all week.


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