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Life is good yet you can’t shake the feeling that God has more in store you. You hesitate to step out, afraid to leave the familiar behind. You’re afraid to let go of something good so that you can move into God’s “great”.
I know how you feel. I’ve been a software developer for many years and I’ve always enjoyed it. But a few years ago I began to lose passion for my career.
I had deepened my relationship with God and was beginning to understand how much He loved me. I was discovering my true identity.
My values and vision for my future no longer aligned with my career. I realized that I didn’t want to be a software developer for the rest of my life.
October 17 was my last official day at my full-time job after working there for nine years. The pay was very good and I got to work from home. Divinely sent by God at the start of the recession, it had kept me and my family well since then. But as I look for new employment, I am at a crossroads.
Do I stick to what I know and find a full-time job as a software developer? It’s a good career. I know that God is able to provide a job like He did almost ten years ago.
Or do I go after the vision that God has shown me? A vision that may not involve software development OR fulltime employment.
If I had to make a “wild” guess I’d say it involves writing. An area where my twenty year’s experience may not be an asset. I’d be a beginner. I’d have to let Him lead.
Of course, I already know which choice I should make. I don’t know how I could stand in front of God at the end of my days and tell Him that I didn’t at least try to live my purpose.
But something whispers in my ear. It says, “Why leave a lucrative career for something where you’re a novice? What if you can’t support your family? What if others don’t understand? I’ve learned to recognize these thoughts for what they are – FEAR!
If I’m not careful, I can let fear keep me in a good place when God wants to take me to something greater.
Are you at a crossroads like I am? Do you recognize these thoughts? Let’s take a look at the fears that can cause you to settle for good instead of moving into God’s great?
FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN WILL CRIPPLE YOUR MOVE FROM GOOD TO GREAT
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Choosing to follow God’s lead means that I’ll be leaving a career where I have years of experience for… I’m not yet sure what. I suspect that it involves writing, speaking and even coaching. I definitely don’t have the full picture.
Fear of the unknown says that you should stay in your comfort zone. It’s good. Why would you want to move? Stick to what you know.
To step into the unknown, you have to give up control. It also means that there’s more room for failure. You have no prior experience that you can rely on if a challenge comes up.
But fear of the unknown will keep you stuck. How do you overcome it?
First, make up your mind to trust God. He always has the BEST plan for you. Don’t lean on your own understanding. It takes great faith to step into the unknown.
Ask Him to increase your faith little by little, day by day. He will be a lamp unto your feet and a light to your path in the darkness.
Second, take action. You may not have the full picture of where God is leading you, but He will have placed some things in your heart. Ask Him how you can begin to act on them.
In my case, I knew that I was being called to write, so I began to learn about writing. I bought books and courses (way too many) and tried to learn as much as I could.
Ask God how He wants you to take action. Whatever it is, do it. Don’t be afraid, He will help you (Isa 41:10).
FEAR OF LACK
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”Psalm 23:1
Not having a full-time job means that I won’t have a guaranteed income every two weeks as I did for the last nine years. I’ll have to look for the opportunities God sends me and take advantage of them.
The truth is though, I’ve been this way before and I can’t say it was fun. Before my last job, I freelanced for four years. In 2008, the recession hit and by August 2009 work had all but dried up. I was, for the most part, out of work until August 2010.
It was both the worst year and the best year of my life.
What made it the worst? Not being able to give my children everything I thought they needed. They were young and it was difficult to have to tell them “no” so often. This time around, my youngest is a few months from becoming a legal adult. Still, he’s looking to go to college and there’ll be fees and books to pay.
But I’ll choose to focus on what made that year the best. My relationship with God deepened exponentially. I saw Him come through for me at every turn. If He did it then, He will do it again.
Katie Swoboda, author of The Courage Habit says, “Fear of not having enough, is often really a fear that you are not enough.”
Fear of lack says that you’re not resourceful enough to provide for yourself and your family. It says that you might lose the good thing you have now if you go after something greater. But God gives you the power to create wealth (Deut 8:18)
Answer this question. If God had given you a detailed plan of your life when you were born (Ps 139:16). Wouldn’t you make choices based on what was written in it? Including the job you chose to take?
Your purpose is meant to provide, God guarantees it.
What does this look like in the practical? If you’re afraid that you won’t have enough when you step into your calling, find ways to bring in extra income.
Look for ways to tighten up your budget and start saving. Or start a side business and save the money you make. Some people have even replaced their income by freelance writing and virtual assisting.
Whatever you do though, don’t let “saving until you have enough” cause you to procrastinate. When God calls you to step out, do it even if you think you don’t have enough. He’s the God of infinite resources, He will provide.
FEAR OF MAN will snare your move to great
Proverbs 29:25 says, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.”
When I think of a snare, I think of a trap or a spider web. You’re moving along but suddenly you’re caught and now you’re stuck. Fear of man will keep you stuck right where you are.
Fear of man appears in different ways. The need for approval or fear of disapproval; the need for acceptance; fear of criticism.
Long before the office closed, I realized that my job no longer lined up with my values. I didn’t want to work long hours or sit at a desk all day (even if I was at home).
There were times I wanted to quit and I said it out loud. People thought I was crazy. I was working from home and making a good salary. Everyone wanted to know how they could find a job like mine.
I felt ungrateful because it was a good job. But I knew it wasn’t a “God” job. God had begun to lead me towards something greater.
I know that there are some who won’t think it’s wise not to look for full-time employment. Especially in the current economical climate. But they haven’t seen the vision that God has given me.
Choosing to take an uncharted path will draw some disapproval. Or at least some unwarranted advice, especially from those close to you.
In some cases, their comments might be out of genuine concern. But some of it might be persons projecting their own fears toward you.
The only approval you need to step into your purpose is God’s approval. Of course, He will place certain people in your circle to guide you. But the only ones who will ever have the full picture of the plan He has for you is Him… and you (eventually).
Learn to “chew” the advice. Be honest with yourself and ask, “Is this true? Does this apply to me right now? Does this line up with what God has told me?”
If it does not, discard it and carry on smartly. If God hasn’t shared with His plans with someone, what they are offering you is their opinion which may be prejudiced based on their own fears.
Your purpose is important. You can’t allow the opinions of others to cause you to be indecisive or to shrink back when you need to be bold. It can lead to disobedience. You cannot allow the opinions of others to derail your purpose.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela
Fear of the unknown, fear of lack and fear of criticism can keep you stuck in a good place when God has something greater for you. To overcome these fears take action, and trust God to provide for you.
Be confident in the vision that He has given you. His plans are good so don’t be afraid to move. Whatever He does will be great. He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it.
If this post has encouraged you to move from good to God’s great, share it so that it can help someone else.