leaving church [part 3]

i told you about how i recently left my church of 15 years...

well it was quite the long process, both logistically and in my heart. there were so many things surrounding our decision, and so many pros and cons on either side. i thought and thought and prayed and prayed. it was a pretty weird time for me. i told you about how God was using this move to grow me and to reveal my pride i didn't realize was there. but let me share a few universal lessons i learned along this little journey, that i think anyone can benefit from.

around June, i started wondering how crazy i must be to think i should ever consider leaving Dr. David Jeremiah's church. like, seriously? people come from all over the country to hear him, they tune in on their TVs and their radios to listen because they don't have the privilege of attending his church, literally seven minutes from my house, where i've gone for 15 years.

now, in my head, it doesn't take much for full-on crisis to ensue. 
my emotions always lead to thoughts that lead to beliefs. 
in about fifteen seconds flat.

this particular day, i began to consider that maybe i was carelessly leaving the place where God was already using me, and was planning to continue using me. what if He had great things in store but they'd never happen because i was leaving it all behind.  i got myself to believing that i would miss out on a huge opportunity that could only be presented if i was still there. and why would i do that to myself? i mean, i want God to use me and He can really do it best there, right?

i started to believe i might be making the biggest mistake of my life.

when i snapped to reality for a second, i knew i couldn't allow my mind to "go there" any longer, i could not adequately deal with all the emotions and thoughts that were swirling. i had to P.R.A.Y. i needed God to clear it all up for me.

and do you know that every time i have an episode of emotions=thoughts=beliefs, if i just call out really quickly, even if it's weak and faint and quiet, He is SO FAITHFUL to deliver me from the madness in my head and set my heart back on His Truth. it's the times i don't call out for His help that get really out of hand. and i'm not exaggerating. it's a serious issue that i have.

so when I finally asked for wisdom and Truth and perspective, here are some things God brought to mind:

1) there are B I L L I O N S of people in this world who do not attend David Jeremiah's church. and they're fine. his church is not the be-all and end-all of churches. his teaching? incredible, anointed, almost unsurpassed, sure. but there are other churches that people attend and love and thrive in. and their pastors are amazing teachers and they preach the gospel too. and their members are still Christians and God still loves them [i think He threw that in because maybe i subconsciously thought otherwise ]

2) also, why was i panicking? was it really because i wanted God to use me and i think He can best use me there? or was that my excuse. excuses like that don't make much sense when the God of the universe knows my name and every hair on my head and sees my every thought. so i had to get honest with myself: is it really all about me? and where i feel comfortable and known and maybe even a little bit famous? do i want God to work in and through me wherever i am? or do i want to try my best to "do great things for Him". you see the problem, don't you? i have it backwards. i don't do great things for Him. He does the great things, and i am humbled [and mostly overwhelmed and dumbfounded] that He'd ever want to use me, the mess of a human being that i am, through which to do them.

3) God does not exist only at Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California where Dr. David Jeremiah preaches on Sundays. you guys, i really must have believed this, deep down, because God literally said that to me, in my spirit. and then He reminded me that His kingdom is lived out in and through His people around the world, in every tribe and tongue and nation and ethnic group i could ever imagine. He is in His people. and His people are everywhere. [including, but most definitely not limited to, Shadow Mountain, and David Jeremiah].

4) i was making this entire thing completely and only all.about.me. [which is sort of like #2] and one of the biggest lessons i've ever learned is that it's totally and utterly NOT about me. or the church i go to or the people i serve with or the famous pastor that i learn from or the opportunities that i have to be on TV or whatever else i was panicked about leaving.

it is a gross understatement to say i'm so thankful for the times 
that God pulls me back to reality. to Truth. 
to His heart and His thoughts and away from my own. 

my mind is a steel trap sometimes, dangerous and deceitful and selfish. but lately He's been breaking through and whispering Truth to me right in the midst of my chaos. i'm so thankful that He hasn't given up on my mess. i would be so tired of me by now. that's for sure. i'm so thankful for the reminder that "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." - Philippians 1:6

i read recently that God's will is more about who we are, than what exactly we're doing and where we're doing it. He wants our hearts to be ever transformed. the rest follows. that gives me great comfort, you too? hold fast to His word, spend time with Him daily, and we can be sure we're on the right track. He will reveal the details in His very perfect and very specific timing.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<     click here for part 4    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

1 comment:

  1. Wow, again - thanks for sharing! I used to listen to Dr. Jeremiah everyday on the radio! :) Glad to hear that God is guiding your path and revealing Himself to you in new ways as you follow this wild new journey He's got you on! :)