As some of you may know, I resigned from my youth ministry job a few weeks ago. I am moving to Oklahoma to work at my dad’s oil business to support my family as I work on my PhD full time.
So I wanted to explore some of the things that have driven my thinking as I made this decision, because I think they are helpful in a lot of situations.
One of the biggest influences on this was a talk I listened to about Ruth ch 1. I recommend the whole talk, but here is a quick run down:
Ruth and Naomi both lose husbands, which in their day meant that they had little means of supporting themselves. Ruth was young enough that she might have been able to move back home and find a new husband. Naomi was probably not going to survive, so she just decides to move back home.
And Ruth decides to go with her. She didn’t have to. But she made a decision.
Often when we are confused or unsure about what the future holds, we sit back and do nothing. We may have a desire, a dream, a calling, or a passion but we put it on hold because we are unsure. We have fears and doubts. We don’t want to fail. Or we assume that “the will of God” will be wrapped in butcher paper and twine and will parachute into our laps as we pray.
But what if what God really wants is just a decision? A step?
This is what Ruth did. She was unsure and had to be scared. But she also was not afraid to fail. She assumed she would die. But she did it anyway. She made a decision.
The whole book of Ruth is filled with decisions. Some good. Some quite poor. But God uses all of them in a beautiful story of redemption. He uses the failures and successes. Both work into his plan.
So maybe it is not about making sure we are making the right decision. Maybe it is about moving forward and learning to trust.
I read somewhere that the best thing you can do for yourself is make the right decision. The next best thing is make the wrong decision. The worst thing you can do is make no decision at all. Too often we sit back and wait hoping all the right sign posts and doors will present themselves.
So we end up doing nothing, because staying put is easier.
This idea is what drove our decision making process. The PhD has been a dream for a long time. So I applied. Then the job opportunity came up and we made another decision.
I am nervous. I have doubts. I am grieving the things I am leaving behind. And I am constantly worried I will fail.
But even if I do, I know that I will be okay. Because this is not a step away from a job or a church. It’s also not a step towards a job or a PhD. It is a step towards God and who I believe he is calling me and my family to be.
We are sad to be leaving Wichita, but we are giving our grief to God as well. And as we head to OKC, we are both nervous and excited. But my good friend Adam always says that is exactly where life is meant to be lived. So we are stepping forward and trusting.
When we learn to trust and to act, God shows up in amazing ways. And if we are moving towards God, we never really fail.