I have yet to experience the word “comfort.” I mean, before I was 10, I had nine different addresses. I grew up in New Jersey, but after the age of 17, I have lived in West Virginia, Long Island, Queens, Brooklyn, and now the D.C. area. I have worked since I was 11…and still feel like I am just “getting there” professionally after four degrees. At times, I struggle between going where the money is or going where the mission is (just being honest). I used to daydream a lot about what my life would be like without always “hustling” (legal hustles of course) and would meditate that ONE DAY I will get a break.
When I moved in Brooklyn, I thought I made it! There were no shortages of “Thank you Jesus” for my stainless steel appliances, washer and dryer, and the comfort of knowing that I was the first occupant of a pretty upscale complex. I was determined to stay–until I got laid off from my law firm. And STILL, I was trying to make it work. I worked per diem at another law firm, and continued to fantasize about that BIG BREAK–all to stay in Brooklyn. But the harder it got to stay there, I began to ask myself “If this is really…TRULY…where God, MY FATHER, wants me to be…would my (perceived) DESTINATION leave me DESTITUTE?” I mean, I had heard of tests, but I also had to consider that I was perhaps not where I needed to be. What looked like my resting place…was merely a pit stop. And my next destination…wherever it was…did not “look” appealing.
The hardest thing to do, at times, is MOVE. We can get so consumed with the PREPARATION of moving, that we fail to even acknowledge that staying could mean FAILURE. The process to progression is often painful and punishing. But it can be even more detrimental to stay stagnant in a place where God intended to be a temporary stop. Let us consider the following:
- If Noah had been so consumed with the stress of building the ark, he and his family would have perished in the floods that engulfed the entire earth.
- If Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers, would have been consumed with the mindset that he was a servant, he may have never reached his ultimate destination of royalty.
- Moses, who was adopted into royalty, could have lived a comfortable life as an Egyptian. However, he traded his earthly inheritance to take on his divine mission of freeing his people, the Israelites, from slavery.
The process that each of these persons endured looked daunting from the BEGINNING!!! But contrary to pop-culture theology, the process of a Believer is not entirely enviable. Wanting the property, position, and prosperity without accepting the process is counter to the teachings of God. We are told that the “race is not given to the swift” (Ecclesiastes 9:11). In other words, we should not gauge our success, milestones, or destination by how quickly we achieve our goals (even when it appears that others are getting there quicker than you). We are also told that if we truly want the PRIZE that God has for our lives, we must “press toward the mark.” (Philippians 3:14). What are you willing to do to get the PRIZE that God has for you? Or would you rather settle for the counterfeit prizes of this world??? The point is that living “on purpose” sometimes means “living on the move.” We have to be open to hearing the still voice of God for our next instructions. I truly believe that as a Christian, if I ever get a little too “comfortable,” I should begin to worry. While God’s grace will provide periods of stillness and tranquility, those periods are also times of rest and preparation for the next chapters of our walk. Even in rest…I gotta move!
There is a subtle common trait that ties the above characters together–obedience. The Word says that “obedience is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22). Look, although I may have been successful in living out my “hood dreams” in BK (short for Brooklyn for those who are unfamiliar), taking on two jobs, limiting my spending, and taking public transportation instead of driving to save money–while all acts were “sacrifices,” they still would have been performed out of disobedience and counter to where God was preparing to send me. It is hard for us to recognize that we are put in a place that does not look like a blessing. But keep in mind that even “setbacks” can be “setups” for your next promotion! Remember…we were created to give glory to God! Anything that comes between us and Him may be removed! If I would have stayed in BK, rather than get up and leave at the right time, I essentially would be saying to God “I know better than you.” I would have been guilty of not only making my apartment and neighborhood my “idols,” but also elevating my (limited) knowledge over His (infinite) wisdom (which is pretty dumb).
My move from the NY area to the DC area was kind of major for me–there were a lot of adjustments. And even still, I am sure that God will have me move a couple more times until I am settled in one place. But I do have comfort in knowing that my chaos is “custom” made by God! We each go through different things, to be prepared in different ways, and to serve different purposes.
So pull over, look around, and ask yourself: “Am I at a pit stop?”