I recently have started adding podcasts to my morning runs. I normally have been listening to music to help me get hyped, so the heavy rotation was the Frozen soundtrack or Czarface, ‘cause you know, my fav Disney movie and a rap group with members from Wu-Tang Clan go together. Instead of listening to music, I started listening to podcasts to help me deepen my relationship with God and grow as a leader. I recently listened to a podcast called, “Leadership Lean in with Chad Veach.” Chad Veach is the lead pastor of Zoe Church in LA, and I really love his perspective and attitude when it comes to leadership. In the course of the podcast, he said that there is something he has learned when it comes to discerning decisions and other areas we find ourselves in. He said that God often times will block it, or bless it.
That idea hit me, because it’s so true, and it’s often the biggest hang-up we can find ourselves in.
Danielle and I are in a season of navigating the unknown. It can be so hard to discern the options and see what fits best for us, but there isn’t always a burning bush to tell us that this is what we need to do. I can easily get caught up in a plan. This is what’s going to happen, the next five years are going to be laid out like…you get it. In high school I was of the mindset of, I’ll graduate and go right into my choice college. Then God blocked it, said hold it, I want you to go to a community college first and see that you aren’t behind like you feel you are. Then when I went to a university, I was going to be a screen writer. Then God blocked that and said no I want to use you differently and to use your communication skills to reach others. I was in an internship at a church, which led to a staffing position, then God blocked that as well. God was clearly saying, this is the door closing on this season, it’s time to look forward.
That was hard.
These moments are not easy, especially the recent part. I don’t want to sound stuck on repeat, but sometimes in life it takes time to process through the pain. I had to leave a spot I was comfortable in. I left with not many people saying goodbye to me. I felt overlooked, no one was sad that I was gone, no one threw a party, or gave a thank you note; yet God is still good.
God loves us in all things, he just has to block some stuff in our life to get us into the blessing.
I always chuckled at the Israelites when they were delivered from their captors, but over and over, complain about the long journey so much and say they just want to go back. I don’t laugh at that anymore, because I find myself doing the same thing. I was delivered and God blocked some stuff from my life, but it was comfortable, and comfort kills creativity. It’s clear when God blocks something, but we have to make a choice to listen to that sign.
When God delivers you, you’re going to spend some time in the desert.
You’ve heard people say life is about the journey not the destination. I think the destination is important but the journey helps us receive the blessing of the destination. Does it suck? Well yeah, of course it does. There are going to be moments where you hate the sun, hate that you don’t have a lot of water, people around you keep complaining, and your shoes might not be the best fit. Okay, I’ll stop with the desert metaphors. Life is a journey. Some people reach the destination, but learned nothing along the way. You’ll miss the blessing if you’re angry at God for blocking your old life. I made a choice to not be angry at God, but rest in his love for me, despite the way I have been treated. I don’t want to miss the blessing he has in front of me. Why would you want to miss the blessing either?
When you make it to the promised land, remember who brought you there.
I used to always hate in junior high being at camps or conferences and listen to someone give their testimony. That sounds super bad, let me explain. There was a moment in the church world where testimonies were needed to be raw and real, that’s what’ll get the kids. The only thing was, the testimony focused way too much on the BC (before Christ) and not the BOC (because of Christ). It would be stories like, “I used to party all the time, I had the girls and the money, my life was like a rock star and I never wanted to come down. Then I met Jesus, okay let’s pray.” Hold up, you focused on your past sin like it was the good ole days, yet you don’t talk about the emptiness of that life. You don’t see how your life was only going to crash, but despite your mistakes and choices, Jesus saved you. That’s true for all of our stories, Jesus is the best point. Because in the moment you chose to let go of the world, your mistakes and choices, your life had a purpose.
This is true even after our initial start of our relationship with Jesus. I need to be careful when I enter into God’s blessing, the promised land, because if I’m not, I’ll attribute the blessing to what I’ve done. That’s pride. I hate prideful people, because it’s a reflection of something I have to fight inside me. I’ve known people in the church world who just love the attention they get. Maybe they’re a speaker, volunteer, or pastor; but they continually get complimented and for a while they are able to point it back to God. Then time and time again, they stop redirecting the praise, and they begin to let the pride in. For a while we can operate with pride, but eventually you’ll fall. We see it happen to mega churches all the time, the pastor becomes untouchable, but they let that pride seed in. All of us need to be careful of this trap, don’t let the promised land become your achievement over the truth that God’s grace brought you into the blessing.
This season has been one of growth for me. Learning to accept that God is going to block somethings in my life, so that I can enter a blessing is a powerful truth. It’s not just a truth I have, but it’s one that you have as well. There will be unknowns in your life, but it becomes very apparent when God blocks or blesses things in your life. That job you wanted turned you down, you realize this relationship isn’t clicking, you don’t feel welcomed by others; clear signs that God is blocking you from moving forward. In those moments, look to what the scripture says. God will provide for you, God says we should be equally yoked, God says that we need a community that encourages and builds us up. God will bless you when you are in line with what his plan is for you and when you are following what scripture calls you to. You have to know that there will be moments that you wander in the desert, but the promised land is coming, cling to the one who will bring you into it.
Grow in the seasons of the unknown.
About the Author: Joshua Thomas is a writer by day and superhero by night. When he’s not writing and crimefighting, you can find him reading a good book, sipping warm tea, taking pictures, or dreaming. The young writer doesn’t fully know what he’s doing, but is enjoying the journey of it all. You can tweet memes at him on Twitter @joshua_thomas__ or follow his hipster photos and Jack Kerouac musings on Instagram @joshua_thomas__