“God is great. Don’t get more simpler than that bro.”
“Until you have to pick up that cross that you can’t carry, and He picks it up for you. And carries you and the cross. Then you know.”
Recently was talking with a good friend who is considering stepping away from a marketplace job and people he has been serving and leading for over 13 years.
He said Todd, “Sometimes the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze!”
I laughed outloud. I had never heard that before, whata line!
Maybe as we enter a New Year you are also considering a change. Maybe you are feeling the squeeeeeeeze!
If you are considering a change … here are four things to consider if you want to leave a place and people well.
How you leave is how you are remembered.
You can have an incredible season of life in a place serving people and still completely blow it in the end. I can tell you from experience … it could be five or ten years of faithful service, friendships and memories … but make no mistake how you leave is how you are remembered.
Just like preaching and public speaking … whatever you say last is usually what people remember most.
It is the same with life.
Your words and actions are amplified 30X in your last 30 days in a place.
How you act and react determines how you will be remembered.
This a sobering truth and reminder to …
- Make peace
- Assume positive intentions
- Speak well
- Be honest
- Be loving
- Be patient
- Be generous
… as you leave.
Understand not everyone will understand.
Especially if you are a follower of Jesus … not everyone will always understand how, when, where and why He is leading you.
You will not always understand how God leads you!
And in a crazy way it’s not actually your job to understand everything God is doing or leading in your life. It’s just your job to be obedient. In addition, it is not your job to make sure everyone you know understands or agrees with God’s leading in your life and family. It is your job, however, to do the best job possible when discerning God’s plans for your future.
For most of us one of the major things that keeps us up at night is worrying about what’s next … what is coming tomorrow, next week, next month and next year.
The good news is there is Good News in the Bible.
Jer. 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
This verse states clearly that God knows the plans He has for you. And that’s great news! That is great that GOD KNOWS His plans for you.
But what keeps most of us up at night is wondering how do I KNOW God’s plans for MY FUTURE?
Is it even really possible to know God’s specific plans for your life?
Here are three questions you can ask when trying to discern whether a direction is really from God:
- Have I taken time to pray, or am I rushing into things?
Sometimes we rush into decisions thinking …
- If I don’t take this job
- If I don’t marry this person
- If I don’t make this move right now
I will miss this incredible opportunity.
And here is what I learned many years ago …
If God is in it … it can wait a minute!
God is not sitting in heaven saying, “If you don’t hurry up and take this job, buy this car, marry this person or make this move – you are going to miss out … I can’t hold this together forever!”
So … slow down and take time to get away. Be alone and pray.
2. Do my friends and family agree, or do they think I am foolish?
Anyone who thinks they don’t need the advice of others is foolish.
When you are trying to discern God’s plans for your future, you should seek and listen to the advice of your friends and family.
However, here is what often happens …
Many of us will keep seeking advice until we find the advice we are seeking.
We must be willing to seek and LISTEN to advice even if it is not the advice we are seeking
3. Does this plan agree with scripture or contradict it?
God will never guide you to do something in the future that is opposed to what He has already said in the Bible in the past. God’s Word will never contradict God’s Will for leading in your life.
So, if you really want to know God’s personal plans for your future, here is the key …
Saturate yourself with Scripture.
And don’t read it and debate it.
Read it and obey it!
You never show your own character so clearly as when you describe another’s.
When leaving places and people there will be those who take cheap shots at you.
Just be ready for it.
It usually has far more to say about the other person than it does about you. It is not easy for the people who are being “left behind” even when they are very good people. And it is certianly never easy for comfortable and complacent people to watch others chase God’s dreams, be brave and live curiously!
It is far easier to stay in a safe place and critique
than it is to push away from the dock into some deep waters and create.
This is especially true in our socially connected world. Social media is like a petri dish for criticism, comparisons and commentary on the actions of others.
And there will be those who once stood by you who now want to grab your leg and trip you up as you try to step away.
Just remember … the way you speak about others says far more about you than it does about them.
Do not sell out your own character to publicly or even privately take someone down a notch.
One of my mentor pastors from years ago said …
“When you wrestle with a pig you both get muddy, and the pig likes it.”
Stay out of the mud.
Do not let a rough season of life characterize you for the next two months or years!
And realize the high road will never be the easy road.
Be thankful looking back and brave looking forward.
I am a nostalgic futurist.
Which means I am simultaneously looking back and dreaming forward.
When you prepare to leave places and people, take some time to look back.
Remember how good God has been to you.
And take some time to dream forward.
Remember that God has a perfect track record of faithfulness …
and He is not going to blow it on you!
“Sometimes the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze.”
This was spoken to me today by a friend who is considering a career change after more than thirteen years at the same place.
How do you know when you should hold on tighter and when you should let go?
I have had this conversation with at least ten leaders already in 2020. I personally believe and counsel most leaders to hang on, whenever they can! I believe hanging on and choosing longevity is to be prized.
But there are times in your career where you certainly feel like the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze! (Whata line!)
If this is you … I will be posting an article in a few hours with several things to consider when considering leaving people and places.
I am calling out.
I am not hiding.
I want to be found.
“Whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
I am wisdom.
As we enter this New Year and decade I am overwhelmed by Gods goodness, favor and grace.
I look at me in 2010 and today.
And I consider all the good things I have been able to experience.
All of the places God has allowed me and my family to love and lead.
I am humbled and grateful.
The truth is as I sit around this December 31st NYE afternoon at 3:51pm Pacific washing Jetty …
All I want to do is write an inspiring article like my friend Will Mancini! (You should really read his article today – The 2020 Pastor)
But the truth is … I feel like my 2020 already has “should” all over it.
I mean there are so many shoulds sitting on my shoulder and whispering into my ear today. And there are many people who believe they know exactly what I should do in 2020 and beyond.
Maybe you feel like that too.
You wish you had 2020 vision for 2020!
But the truth is … you don’t.
So, what do you do when you can’t perfectly post all your 2020 plans and ambitions by the time the ball drops in New York?
Here’s what I am going to do.
I am going to give myself
I am going to spend a little more time this week praying, celebrating and in some cases grieving things from the past decade. And when I have fully looked back, I will dream and plan forward.
I am anticipating and dreaming of big things in 2020 and I know there are going to be some major fireworks this New Year …
I just have to be sure I am lighting the right fuse!
Here is all I really want to say …
It’s OK if your New Year and decade plans are not yet ready to launch.
Give yourself some grace.
And then light the right fuse!
Have you ever run out of gas in your car? You’re driving along – no problem and suddenly you’re about to be out of gas, or you are out of gas. Several years ago, I was driving my mobile office around Phoenix and I am not sure how it happened but at one moment the gas gauge read half full and just a minute later it was sitting on E.
My first tendency was to question the reading. This can’t be right, I was just half full a few minutes ago. How can I be on “E?” So, I ignored the reading for about 10 miles and the needle started to move below E! How can something be below E? Isn’t empty, empty? Well, to make a long story medium length … you can’t drive on “E” for long.
Here is my question for you … have you ever run out of gas? Not in your car … but in life? Have you ever been at the place in your life where you have been going so hard for so long and doing so many things. You are caring for so many people and carrying so many other peoples burdens … that you are just running on empty? What about right now?
Let’s say this gas gauge could register what’s in your heart, what’s it reading right now?
Is it on “F” for full? Or on “E” for empty? Or somewhere in-between?
If you are you less than half full and headed towards empty … what caused you to feel empty and out of gas? Maybe it was the unrealistic expectations put on you by others?
The shoulds of others.
In this message we talk about how to kindly but confidently say “not now” to the shoulds of others. And begin to move from a should life to a good life.
We know it’s normal and perfectly acceptable to have a job description at work? But have you ever thought about how you have secret job descriptions for pretty much everyone you meet? We have things that we expect “others” to do for us. And they are usually completely unaware of these expectations!
Here is the simple succession of how we should on others.
- We have secret job descriptions and expectations of other people.
2. These people are completely unaware of our expectations of them.
3. They quickly fail to meet our secret expectations.
4. We get angry with them and should all over them.
In this message we dive into how We Should On Others. And we learn how we can should on others less and begin to move from a should life to a good life!
When we value people,
the way God values people,
we should on people, less.
Do you ever should on yourself?
I have shoulds that sit on my shoulder and constantly convene courtrooms in my mind. If I even think about saying “no” to someone who asks me to do something. I immediately put myself on trial and begin to present to myself evidence for all the reasons I should do what the person is asking me to do!
This message considers how we all live in the shoulds. And it gives us perspective on how to move from a should life to a good life!
The SHOULD HAPPENS book is available at all Parkview Christian Church campuses in Chicagoland this weekend.
And nationwide on Friday, September 27th!
This is a human parable.
If you’re like most people, you live in the ‘should’s. You are constantly chained by ideas of how your life should be, of what you should accomplish, of what you should be better at. You may feel anxiety about not meeting your shoulds each and every day.
What if you could escape that anxiety.
In this book, we’ll follow Tom Should – a person very much like me, and perhaps you.
He’s paralyzed on a daily basis by his shoulds – the larger-than-life ideals imposed upon him. They make it impossible for him to relax and enjoy the life he has, because he’s constantly comparing himself to others, and imagining the life he thinks he should have.
We’ll follow Tom on his journey from a should life to a good life – from resenting his life for all the ways it doesn’t meet his expectations, to embracing, enjoying, and treasuring the life he does have each and every day.
Letting loose of our shoulds is not easy. To many of us, it might feel like accepting the unacceptable, becoming less, giving up on our ideals, or thwarting our ambition. For that reason, we might never surrender our shoulds – until we see the power of doing so in action, through stories like Tom’s.
In this leadership parable, we’ll see how it’s possible to live our best lives in ways we never dreamed of. We just have to let go of many of our ‘shoulds.’
Tom’s story appears religious at first. And in a way, it is. He suffers from the shoulds that many religious people experience – the shoulds of trying to live a perfect life.
But the process Tom goes through as he learns to love himself and his life is a process all of us go through, religious or not. This is a human parable. The shoulds are blind to age, ethnicity, income and gender and they represent a pressure that all people face. It’s a process of learning firsthand what is truly important – and seeing what you miss when you live in the shoulds.
I hope that this book will help everyone who reads it. I know writing it helped me.
SHOULD HAPPENS will be available on the weekend of September 7th / 8th. I will be at Parkview Christian Church in Chicagoland launching this SHOULD HAPPENS book and teaching series.
We have a thousand things we feel like God should do. And when He doesn’t act like He should, things can get crazy in our lives and faith.
In this short clip, I talk about our desire to be God or at least control Him enough to get Him to lean in our direction.
Full message is online at www.parkviewchurch.com