Patiently Anxious

I sit here and look at the two words in the title. I, among others, love a good dose of irony. When I asked for some feedback, my wife asked me “don’t you mean impatiently anxious?” That would make more sense though! Not with me! I am patient on the outside but on a scale of 1 to 10, I am hovering around a 37 on the anxiety scale! I have not been tested and I doubt there is a medical problem. So why all the anxiety (I think we can all agree that patience is a good thing so we should look at the other half of those two words!)?

businessman office mobile phone financeI am a pastor in search of a church. One of the reasons I love the Church of the Nazarene is the process one must go through in order to become a pastor. Not anyone is allowed to shepherd a flock, and that is a great thing for His Church. Just as the eleven disciples approached the replacement of Judas with discernment and prayer (Acts 1:16-26), we as Nazarenes do the same.

But hurry up already!!!

I started this blog as a form to express some of those things that God has placed on my heart as well as to give the few of you reading some insight into who I am. To start I am overly (my wife would say obnoxious) extroverted – and yes, I have been tested there! Part of that personality profile is the overwhelming desire to go and do once my mind has been made up. Once I committed to taking classes towards ordination, I completed it within two and a half years only taking one six-week period off. I did this and achieved academic excellence as my lowest grade was a 92% A-. I do not say this as a self-given pat on the back but to show you, the reader, that I believe we should excel in anything we do as if we do it directly for our Creator (1 Corinth 10:31), and to illustrate, once I have decided something, I run for it without sacrificing quality. As Nazarenes, we go through three levels of licensing with those that are ordained elders performing said interviews. black chairs and white tableI figured I wasted enough of God’s time running from His call and I need to do all I can to get my contribution “all-in.” Since we (as Nazarenes) are serious about who leads God’s people, I need to be serious about my commitment to Him.

All steps are bathed in prayer as we go along.

Where am I going with all this?

It’s a long bath! Have you ever read a daily devotion and stay there for a week? Yeah, that is me this week! With the possibility of a major move that would cross multiple state borders, many would consider this a stressful event. I remember a study in college that said moving was the most stressful event that one would go through. While there are newer studies that move it further down the stress ladder, I believe most will agree it is not something we look forward to! A mentor of mine once moved three times within three or four years! Even as local moves, he was fed up of the look of a cardboard box! I think it may be that change part that we try to avoid. One of the things I have yet to find in those studies that look at life events is “consistency” – it is simply not on those lists! Have consistency and say goodbye to anxiety! I digress! The devotion I was thinking of earlier that is visited and meditated on and prayed over deals with the stress and anxiety over change. One of the scriptures for this particular day is found in Psalm 27:14. “Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.” IMG_1352Can we say the word “wait” one more time please (sorry, sarcasm is hereditary – thanks Mom and Dad!)?

I look at this short and simple verse and find it, well, isn’t all that simple. It does not matter how ready I am to take that step; I am instructed to wait on Him! The all caps indicate God our Father. It is His world, His time and HIS WILL! One of the commentaries out there says we are to “humbly resign to His will.” Furthermore, it takes courage and strength. I think this type of courage is not facing a death-defying act but more resolve in the face of the unknown. It takes strength as well. The strength that fixes the heart on Him. When I think of fixing something on another object, I picture the range of movement is removed. When we fix our heart on Him, it cannot move to the left or to the right. At this point, the anxiety has devoured all of that strength and I have to lean on the promise that in my weakness He is strong (2 Corinth 12:9)! I am sure no one else deals with this type of anxiety, right?

Does this mean an end to the internal screams at the sense of urgency I alone create? Unfortunately, not! Does it mean I can continue with the next devotion in that series? Again, a hard no for me anyway! One of the District Superintendents I submitted my resume to over four months ago writes in his letter of response: “If you are up for some fairly intensive next steps that may very well lead to nowhere, lets talk some more.” Where was this at the beginning of the search?

Anyway, here is to some more intensive steps that may not lead anywhere specific! Until then, pray for me that I end up where He wants me, when He wants me and how He wants me!

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Come on….  What are we waiting for?  Hurry up… PRAY NOW! 😊

Easter Thoughts – The Hard Prayer

This is a time of year that is ripe for reflections on those that have followed God’s call to be shepherds.  We (at least I know I do as well as those that mentor me) often look to the example of Jesus in all we do. How we disciple, how we discipline, how we preach, how we teach and how we even pray all come from how the Son did all of those things. What I spend hours reflecting on is the latter of those things during this time of year.

Continue reading Easter Thoughts – The Hard Prayer