Are you in a season of life where you’re not sure what God’s doing, yet you sense He’s up to something? You can’t see what’s next but you get a clear sense there’s a next coming? God uses transition periods not only to grow us as leaders but also to bring us back to baseline dependence on Him. Transitions are seldom clear, rarely without sacrifice and never easy. Yet there are times God unexpectedly brings new assignments that will stretch and grow us in ways we had not imagined.
I’ve stood at that crossroad of a potential transition a few times in my life. I remember when I was an associate pastor at Pawleys Island community Church, I was happy and thought I would be there my whole life. Then without warning God stirred a discontent in my spirit. No one made me angry, hurt my feelings or offended me in anyway, there was just a strange sense that God was moving me. While the feeling was clear the direction was not. So I decided to go on a journey of discovery and through this process God miraculously made it clear that I was to plant a church in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
If you get a sense that God may be preparing you for a change make sure you position yourself to listen intently for His will. Here’s a process that’s helped me navigate a couple of transitions over the past 20 years.
- Set aside a specified time for a Journey of Discovery. I’m not saying to put God on a time limit, but I am suggesting that you determine a period of time where you focus intensely on listening for God’s direction. When I was sensing a change at Pawleys Island I chose to do a 90 day journey.
- Fast and Pray. During my tine of uncertainty in Pawleys Island I decided to fast every Thursday. This intensified time of prayer lead me to a greater sense of dependence and surrender.
- Study a Specific Passage or Biblical Character. Asked God to show you a specific Scripture that will be your primary devotional focus during this time. In my early 90’s transition I studied the book of Nehemiah. During my 2004 transition that brought me to Seacoast Church I studied the life of Abraham.
- Seek Godly Counsel– On two different occasions I asked 7 men to meet with me one on one that I might seek their counsel. These were men I knew and trusted. Men I felt had a sense of what God may be doing in my life. Or in some cases they were men who had been down a similar path that I was currently on. Their counsel proved to be invaluable. I journaled the highlights of everyone of those conversations and would go back again and again to review what God was saying to me.
- Journal daily God Sightings. During my time of seeking I journaled like a mad man capturing every little whisper of God’s voice. I looked for daily “God sightings”, those small things you see God doing in your life that give you indications of His will. Do this over a 30, 60 or 90 day period and you will be amazed how active God is in giving you daily direction.
- Journey With Your Spouse. Many times when you’re feeling a transition coming you’re tempted to keep it from your spouse so they won’t worry. But God wants to use your spouse as part of the confirmation process. If you keep if from them you’re limiting their joy and potentially their sense of peace during this discovery process. When I was considering a transition from Pawleys Island I talked with my wife daily about the journey and what God was saying to her. In the end she was convinced of what God was doing before I was.
I’ve used this process for three major transitions in my life. While this may not work for you the point is if God is whispering, “I have something new for you” define a process that will help you listen to His heart in an intensified way.