My aim with this initial post is to tell a little of the backstory of my recent and current journey from a career in ministry to a new career as a life coach. I hope my story will relate to something in yours, giving you wisdom and courage to make bold choices when the time comes. Here’s my story……..
A little over three months ago, on September 29, 2016 I walked out of my office at my church like I had done about 4,000 times over the last 17 years. Yet this walk was different. My step was slower and my eyes were moist. I was walking out for the last time. My choice. The right choice. But a very hard and potentially costly choice. No fanfare and no parties which is how I wanted it. My coworkers were more than gracious with their hugs, genuine words of affirmation, prayers for my future ….… and requests for my office chair and standing desk 😃 . It’s all good.
When I walked from that building to the parking lot, I walked from certainty to uncertainty. I walked from a good, consistent, every two week paycheck with benefits to the uncertainty of finding my own clients in a field where more fail than succeed. I walked from a team of 30 people who loved me and had my back to working alone from home. I walked away from working at a church that is making a difference in lives around the world every single week to a job where that is not yet true. I walked from a job I knew and performed well to one that requires me to learn and refine a new skill set. Because of all these things I found myself asking the same questions I had asked many times before - Was I doing the right thing? Was this a wise and prudent decision? Was I out of my mind?! It was too late; I was already walking out the door, well past the point of no return. Deep inside I knew this was right, but sometimes doing the good and right thing is a very hard thing. This was one of those days.
Why did I do it?
It’s not easy to explain but it began with a simple nudge. I had felt similar nudges many times before but never had the stakes been this high. Usually the nudge urges me to say “I’m sorry” or to give up a Saturday morning to help a friend move or to have that tough conversation I’ve been avoiding. Sometimes I listen to the nudge and other times I regrettably turn a deaf ear. This time I listened for several months trying to determine if this nudge was the hard to discern voice of the Holy Spirit or simply some midlife impulse (honestly, I’m well past midlife). I prayed, had many talks with my wife, and sought council from trusted, close friends who speak truth to me. All of these helped, but this was a decision that fell squarely on my shoulders.
Ultimately, it was words that I spoke to others that came back to speak to me - I hate it when that happens. About a year ago I preached a message on walking by faith, partly to help me with the inner struggle over this decision that had already begun. At the end of the message I shared that when one walks by faith there are two possible results. One is a sense of “oh, wow!” - you see God do amazing things that you would not have ever experienced outside of faith. The other response is “oh, no!” - risk taking is scary and doesn’t always turn out like you had hoped. It may leave you wondering, “what in the heck have I done?” When you walk by faith there are few guarantees. To walk by sight is much safer. Doing so means you will rarely experience the “oh no's” of life and you will rarely experience the “oh wow’s.” This is how it seems to me most people live their lives. No “oh no’s” and no "oh wow’s,” only “what if’s.” That is where I could not stay; that is why I walked away.
Have you ever felt that nudge to move in an unfamiliar direction yet lacked the courage to take the first step? I believe my story is the story of many. Maybe it’s your story. Many are regrettably stuck in the rat race of earning a paycheck to maintain a lifestyle. Others choose the comfort of the familiar over the risk of newness and adventure. New isn’t always right; it’s not always better. Rash decisions are often faulty ones. But so are no decisions. Choose wisely, friend. Don’t settle for “what if’s.” I pray 2017 will be your best year ever!
"for we walk by faith not by sight” 2 Corinthians 5:7