Sometimes God directs you to leave a comfortable situation, with no alternative in place. It’s part of the way He works with His people.
Last month I terminated my relationship with an organization with which I had been associated for the past six years. There was no rancor, nor an incident which prompted my actions. We had just gone in different directions, and I didn’t feel that the relationship was of any value to me going forward. Looking back on it, I can see God’s hand in influencing my decision.
Then, a strange series of events occurred. In every sphere of my business, I experienced a positive, unexpected event. Multiple events, multiple business efforts, over a three-week period immediately following my separation. I had a strong sense that these blessings were, in some spiritual sense, being hindered by my involvement with the organization. When I left, it opened the sluices of the spiritual dam, and the blessings which had been backed up, poured through.
Not the First Time
As I reflected on this, I realized that this was not the first time in my life I had the same experience. I had to leave my position as a divisional manager, for example, before I could catch sight of the business which has occupied me for the past 25 years. Within that business, I had to leave a broad market focus before I could narrow in on the niche which has provided 90 percent of the revenues to that business.
In a more personal place, I had to leave the institutional church system before I could experience the blessings of a new perspective and closer relationship with God.
Over and over again, in big ways and small, I have seen that I had to leave a situation before I would be in a position to receive the blessings that were being hindered by that association. It was rarely a case of leaving one situation so that I could occupy a greater one. I left because it was time to go, and, in most cases, there was no vision of what’s next. Inevitably, though, “what’s next,” has always been a situation that was more challenging, more fulfilling, and that required me to grow in ways that I would not have otherwise – to create new skills, meet new people, take on new attitudes.
But, I rarely planned for that. When I left the status quo, it made space in my life or my business that would soon be occupied by something bigger and better. My motivation for leaving was rarely to find something better — rather it was to eliminate a comfortable status quo. The bigger and better came later and would never have happened if I had stayed with the previous situation.
Leaving is almost always a difficult choice. In this last occurrence, I wrestled with the decision for at least a month before finally acting on it. The status quo is tremendously attractive, enticing us with familiarity, existing relationships, and comfortable places. We can create lots of reasons to stay.
In this case, as in so many others, when I realized a fundamental principle operating in my life, it is easy to uncover it in the Bible. There is a principle at work in the way that God often works in people’s lives and businesses – often you must leave a situation, even if you don’t know what’s next, in order to be a position to experience a ‘what’s next’ that is bigger, better and more fulfilling.
Sometimes these ‘leavings’ are voluntary, and sometimes they are forced upon us. Think of Joseph leaving the comfortable surrounds of his family to eventually be in the place to save the known world from famine. Think of Abraham, leaving Haran, quite unsure of what was next. Think of Peter leaving his fishing business to follow Christ, with no real inkling of what that meant. Think of Paul, leaving his status and position, to do the same.
These are a few of the stories that come to mind. I’m sure you can find more. They all have these things in common:
A person was nudged by the Holy Spirit, or in some cases, forcefully removed, to leave a comfortable situation for an unknown. That effort required faith, overcame fear, and put the person in a place to receive a ‘what’s next’ that was bigger, better, more fulfilling and had a greater impact for the Kingdom.
Of course, this flies in the face of conventional wisdom which says, don’t leave a situation until you have something better lined up. I’ve given that advice to dozens of folks.
But, there is a time, in the life of Christian, where you are nudged by the Holy Spirit to leave a comfortable situation where the status quo is acceptable, without any next step in view. There is a season for everything. Sometimes, God calls us to end the season and leave the situation without a clear view of what’s next. Its a Biblical principle, and one of the ways God works with us to build us into something better than we would be if He had left us on our own.