Handling the (Learning) Curves of Life

I’m living in a state of massive transition, which is weird to say because I tend to forget this in my day-to-day operations.  I’m very task-oriented so sometimes I have to take a step back (usually on Mondays) and look at the larger picture and plan.

I preach about living outside of our comfort zone, and I’ve done my fair share of this.

Here I am again 🙂

On April 2nd, 2014, God told me (as I was driving in front of the Board of Education) that it was time for me to resign from First United Methodist Church.  I didn’t have a job to replace the church (I was driving a School Bus for insurance benefits) and had no plan as to what was next or where I was going.

On April 7th, I resigned with June 30th to be my last day.

On May 12th, as I was parking my car at a funeral I was to sing for, I received a phone call from our District Superintendent asking me to take a part-time supply pastorate role in Stanton, KY.  After talking and praying with my wife for a couple of weeks, I accepted the open door God had provided.

On August 5th (I think), I received a call from Toyota (TMMK) that a previous application (some 10 months earlier – to replace the School Bus job) had been accepted and that I was to start with them on August 13th.

So I went from something I knew really well (Youth and Music Ministry, and driving a School Bus) to pastoring a church and learning how to be a factory worker building instrument panels at Toyota.

Massive transition.

I told someone once that I enjoy living outside of my comfort zone, but that’s only part of it.  The correct way to phrase that would be “I enjoy living outside of my comfort zone because I know the benefits and rewards are going to be amazing!”

Truth be told, it’s not fun living and working in a state of discomfort if there is no hope of reward at the end.  This is why people “cut their losses” and “throw in the towel”.  When you realize that what you are pushing yourself for isn’t going to happen, then earthly wisdom says to punch out.

But spiritual wisdom doesn’t work that way.  As a Pastor, I can’t give up when people say things that aren’t true about me, or when nobody seems to “get it” when I preach, or when politics rears its ugly head and power struggles threaten our unity.

As a Toyota worker bee, I can’t walk off line and quit when I get a Part wrong or when the equipment breaks down, or when I’m tired of standing for 8 hours and they call an hour overtime.

Why?  Because I believe God has an incredible reward for my church and my life, as I obey … as I push myself to do things that are uncomfortable.

In fact, God tells us that I’m not even supposed to worry about this stuff!  Philippians 4:6-7 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.

This learning curve, to be honest, is quite steep.  I’ve been in ministry for 18 years but I am now in a position as head administrator of a church God has asked me to lead.  How do I handle this?

I’ve worked in construction when I was a young man, but nothing I’ve done has completely prepared me for the rigors and pace of factory work at age 41.  How do I handle this?

Well, I can either try to find my own way or I can get as close to God as possible.  I’ve seen where my strength gets me, so the only logical thing to do is to be a Philippians 4 person.

I’m going to set aside all my anxieties by giving everything to God in prayer and petition, with thanksgiving.

And I look forward to the peace that only He can provide.

What about you?


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