I was chatting with a friend at work the other day about how things were going in his life, mostly shooting the breeze…
“How’s the weather? …
Hot? Texas? Yeah, that never happens.”
“How are kids?”
Yeah, I didn’t expect much from the conversation. I was just being,… well, nice. It’s what you do. I am not the kind of person to blow someone off — at least not on purpose. I find that rude. And if you see someone, say hello. They are a person, too, right?
Expecting this to be a simple, casual conversation of “Hello, how are you?” (while I get my coffee in the break room) to be no more than passing… And then God entered in.
Let me pause this story for one moment — God can be “God” in your life, and make a difference, but only if you allow Him to be. Meaning, that we DO have free will and if He is trying to move in our daily lives, and we choose to ignore it — or have a relationship with God like we are just being passive with him, “How’s the weather God? You making it along today? … Excuse, me I need a refill of some java.” If we are blowing through life and NOT allowing Him access to move, speak and intervene, then we are missing out on so many opportunities for greatness, peace and fullness of His joy is our daily life.
Back to my friend: when God entered in.
This friend, we’ll call him Jeremiah, was not only an employee in the same company I work for. He is also a career student. Yes, I said career student. I say that jokingly, but Jeremiah has been in school for YEARS, going on 10. He has children practically in middle school that have only known their dad as a student. Why so long in school, you ask? Jeremiah has passed the level beyond a bachelors and masters degree; He is working on completing a Doctorate degree. (I say, that’s pretty impressive. I personally don’t have the drive to attain that level of education.) But, to Jeremiah, he feels that God has called him to do what He is doing — that it’s his passion to teach others, write curriculum, a lead others into a deeper revelation of God’s word, The Bible. He likes his “9-to-5” job, and it pays the bills. But, he said something interesting:
“God complicates things.”
He went on to tell me that the way his school is organized and when they are offering classes for his doctoral program, If he didn’t go full time this next year, He wouldn’t be completely out of the program, but He would have a “dead” year of waiting to finish his program. He went on to say that being in school as long as he has, as you can imagine, has had some strains on his family (wife and kids). “They have endured a lot,” he said. “The thought of another year of, ‘Where’s dad?’ ‘Oh, at school… work… writing papers… okay…'” Yeah, that gets old — especially given the length of time Jeremiah has been pushing along in his studies.
I get it. When there is an opportunity in front of you that you feel is from God — along with the idea that it is something that you are REALLY passionate about — yeah, I would go after that as well. But, why did Jeremiah say, “God complicates things”?
“I’m at a ‘Y’ in the road.”
For Jeremiah, he is the chief “breadwinner” for his family, feeling the pressure to provide monies for a home, car, food, etc. Those don’t come easy or cheap… And if my friend chose to go to school full time, which would make work either really hard, part-time, or even non-existent. Either of the latter 2 would put a financial strain on his family — and even putting his doctoral program full-time and his job remaining full-time, that would be a whole different type of strain, on both himself and family.
As Jeremiah put it in our conversation, he was at “A ‘Y’ in the road.” Does Jeremiah follow his passions 100%, a place he feels called to, while putting a deep financial strain on his family… Or does he do the logical thing and just “keep on truckin’ down the road” and his degree comes when it comes, further delaying what he so enjoys? — To Jeremiah, God complicates things.
As a friend, I could have remained passive, and said, “Yeah, that’s a hard decision,” gotten my coffee and left. And honestly, my first thought was a bit selfish. At work, there is a big, several month project coming up that he is in charge of. For where we worked, making this project a success was VERY important and would be “game changing” for our company. Having Jeremiah a lesser part of the team, or potentially not on the team at all, would be a tough reality to swallow. Jeremiah is THAT important to the project. Him going to school full-time might make it difficult on me and my co-workers. But, I didn’t say anything about that project.
In the course of our 4 minute, break room chat, I didn’t bring up the “project.” I think we both knew it, and it went without saying that Jeremiah leaving us to go to school full time would be hard on his co-workers.
So… with family on one side needing money to keep the lights on, and present co-workers on the other side depending on his leadership, while this drive on the inside urges him forward, you can see why Jeremiah might say, “God complicates things.”
Jeremiah needed the truth.
I couldn’t let the conversation come and go without laying out the truth I was feeling, and I felt that Jeremiah needed some encouragement.
Selfishness aside, I had to tell my friend and co-worker this… “It sounds like God isn’t complicating things, but simplifying things.”
He looked at me. His face was puzzled. “What do you mean?” he said.
“God calls us to do one thing, knowing that we have these other things going on in life. In the process, God isn’t calling us to many things, but rather one thing: following Him. So, let’s push all things aside, trust that if He has called us to it, He will provide the means along the way. He just calls us to obedience. He takes care of the rest.”
Jeremiah smiled. He got it. He was worrying about everything else and seeing the difficult of the journey as the battle, forgetting the calling that God was drawing him towards.
The truth is God doesn’t complicate things. WE do. Our minds. Our worries, struggles and fears. Those are the lens we see our life through. “Oh, that will be hard. I just won’t do it.” Yeah, it’s gonna be hard. And yet, let me remind you, Jesus called us to live for Him — he didn’t say it would be easy; he just said, “Go…”
I understand that we might choose not to do something, even if it was GOD telling us to do it, because it’s gonna be “hard.” Now, I’m not a woman, and I will never be pregnant — but, most mothers will tell you that pregnancy is NOT easy. In fact it’s difficult… REALLY difficult. I don’t have to take a poll, but I would guess that the majority of them would tell you that while pregnancy is not easy, it’s worth it in the end.
Will you allow God to make life simple again?
When we allow “self” into the calling that God has placed on our lives, it does get complicated. But when we allow God in, and allow Him to be Lord, put self aside, allow God and He will “make it simple” again.Share your answer on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
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PROJECT: Faith Journey.