Tag Archives: calling

Today I walked away…

There are defining moments in everyone’s life – decisions that determine the very course of your life. Several months ago, I made one of these life defining decisions, and today I took the first step down the path determined by this decision.

Today I walked away from one career to start another. After 9 years, I officially left full time practice as a counselor at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, an organization I respect, that trained me, and took me from a scared, insecure graduate student to a (mostly) confident and competent professional. Today I left coworkers I love, admire, and consider family. In so many ways it could be a sad day. And honestly, in some ways, it is. But the sadness is tempered by two things.

1. Pine Rest is going to let me stick around a few hours a week to keep my clinical skills sharp and to make sure my coworkers don’t miss me too much. So it’s not really “good bye” or even “see you later” as much as “see you less”.

2. I’m leaving a career, but I’m moving towards a calling.

I’m following a calling to teach and so Monday I start what I hope to be a long career in academia. And it starts as a visiting lecturer at Central College. And you see, a “visiting lecturer” is just that – “visiting”. It means I have a full time job for exactly one year. So today I walked away from the security and predictability I’ve enjoyed for the entirety of my adult career. Today I walked away from the known and into the unknown, from the certain to the in between.


Today I walked away from doubt and towards belief that God is good.

Today I walked away from fear and towards faith.

Today I walked away from holy discontent towards peace that surpasses understanding.

Today I walked away from defiantly being in charge towards relinquishing control to the Lord.

Today I walked away from the comfortable and towards the courageous.

Today I walked away from settling towards living in God’s sweet spot He’s called me to.

Today I walked away from the good, in fact the very good, in order to walk towards God’s promise of great.

If you’ve been following my most recent blogs, you’ve been on a journey of learning about Jesus as our Good Shepherd, a trustworthy shepherd that protects, provides, knows us intimately, and loves us deeply. His voice is calm and steady. His guidance is certain and secure. He has my best interest always in mind. And he promises following him leads to a rich and satisfying life. So yes, today I walked away from a lot, but I also walked towards my Shepherd’s voice…

Is Jesus asking you to walk away from something and towards His voice? What’s holding you back? What is keeping you from following the Shepherd’s voice? Maybe today is the day to walk away from all that keeps you from walking towards Jesus.

And of course…Go Dutch!! 😉



Confessions of a Single Life – Part 1

So here’s the deal. This blog has been in process for months. There is so much I want to say (and have been wanting to say) but the words have not come easily. Writing is like that – sometimes you have to untangle the thoughts and wrestle with the words. But here it is – the one to put questions to rest and clear the confusion. What kind of questions? The polite ones: “So…are you dating anyone?” The awkward ones: “Who are you bringing with you to the wedding?” The funny ones: “You’re not unattractive so why aren’t you dating anyone?” And the ones that are left unsaid: “What’s wrong with you?” Yes, it is time to talk about my single status.

It is odd to me that I am such an anamoly and it is especially strange to me that even many churches don’t know what to do with someone who is single. After all, Jesus was single! (So all you singles out there – remember that Jesus knows and can relate to what you are experiencing!) Paul was single and recommended it as the preferred marital status. It appears that many of the prophets were single. And yet…

But I digress…back to the questions. Let’s get right at it: Why am I still single?

Is there something wrong with me? No. I mean, yes, there are lots of things “wrong” with me – but no more or less than any other person who walks the earth. I’m not damaged goods. I’m not inept at relationships – in fact, I think I’ve learned to be pretty good at them!

Am I just disinterested? NO. I am very interested in finding “Mr. Right”. In fact, wanna know a secret? I’m a SERIOUS romantic. I’m as sappy and gushy and Hallmark greeting card as it comes! (If you are interested in assisting in the search, you may send all prospects to MNDGMZMin@gmail.com.)

Am I just too picky? NO! (For one thing, is that even possible? This is a spouse, not a pair of shoes or my coffee order!) However, I do know what I am looking for and I am willing to wait until I find him (or he finds me).

So what’s the deal? The deal is that in college I prayed a very dangerous prayer that God has continued to answer every day since. I looked around at the married couples that I admired, including my parents, and noticed one commonality: they all complimented one another in ministry and service to God. I noticed that without the other, they would be much less effective in their work advancing God’s Kingdom. And so my prayer was this: “God, may I only marry if and when I am able to do exponentially more for your Kingdom with him than I can do by myself.” I’m telling you, if you pray, God will answer – so be careful!


May I suggest that  being single is not a “less than” way to live? I am not incomplete because I do not have a husband. And being single does not necessarily mean that the person is broken or weird or clueless or anything else. Single people do not need pity, a sympathetic head tilt or looked at as if they are aliens. They need the same thing married people need – relationship, community, love, grace, affection, and understanding. Yes, I get lonely. So do married people. Yes I feel misunderstood. So do married people. Yes, sometimes I feel life would be easier with someone to share it with and yet my married friends tell me they think life would be easier if they were single!

single 2

Marital status does not define me and it ought not define you! Single or married is not your identity – your identity and my identity are found in Christ alone and in carrying out the unique calling he has placed on each one of our lives. Yes, my heart’s desire is to be married someday, and I believe that in time God will grant or change that desire. Until that day, I have so many blessings and am doing my best to live life in a manner that honors God and fulfills the calling He has given me. I have a career I love and can devote a lot of time to because I am single. I have friends I love and who love me. I have the ability to bless others with time and resources that I likely would not have if I were married. And the things I fear I am missing out on because I am not married? Such as kids, what leads to kids (we’ll talk about this more in a future blog!), and the unique companionship of a spouse? Well, I trust that God’s current plan is better than those things and I choose to trust that I am not “missing out” but carrying out the unique life God has blessed me with.

So, to my married friends, be kind and gentle to the singles in your life! Include them in your community and family life. Invite them over for dinner and to your children’s activities. They will gladly be “aunt” and “uncle” and will likely treasure being included! And take an interest in what is going on in their lives! Even confident singles are hurt by exclusion or assumptions so offer grace and seek to understand.

To my fellow singles, please live life to the fullest! Do not  alienate yourself from friends that have gotten married. They still need you! Do not sit around pining for that perfect someone or expect the pizza delivery person to be that someone! (I’ve tried it – they were always awkward high school students and that much pizza created a bad health situation.) Remember, you are not less than because you are not married! You have a special place in God’s kingdom. You have a special calling to carry out! Don’t wait to start life until you have someone to share it with. Instead, start living life and expect God to provide someone to join you in the process!


You Lead. I’ll Follow (Albeit Anxiously and Reluctantly).

“You lead, I’ll follow. Your hands hold my tomorrow. Your grip. Your grace. You know the way. You guide me tenderly. When you lead, I’ll follow. Just light the way and I’ll go. Cause I know what you’ve got for me is more than I can see, so lead me on.”

These lyrics by Jamie Grace have been my phone’s ringtone for the past year. This catchy tune with the rah rah lyrics is uplifting, encouraging, and empowering. Until you have to live them out…

Seriously, think about the last time God asked you to faithfully follow Him and your reaction. I hope it was one of eager excitement to run hard in the direction God moved. I have to admit that this is not how I react. It’s how I want to react, but it’s just not. At all…

What do I do? I tell God I will follow him wherever he leads me. I tell Jesus I’ll pick up my cross and trust him in all things. But then when he shows the way, I kick and scream and protest. Why? Because I’m afraid. Because I’m comfortable. Because it’s not my way.

It’s exactly what the Israelites did. They wanted to believe God would lead them through the desert to the Promised land. But when they got sick of manna and feared the giants that already occupied the land, they grumbled and protested and waivered. They even turned to a man made trinket for answers and turned on each other when God responded in anger. They wanted to obey God’s laws, but when that made them different and unique from the people groups around them, they asked for a king so they could fit in.  And so often people refused to follow Jesus because the pull of their family, their profession, or their possessions were just too strong.

There is an epic battle between the part of my heart that is fully redeemed and longs to chase hard after God and the part of my heart still stuck in the things this world has to offer. And so often we cast the things that keep us from following God in a negative light, but really they are often really good things like career, family, reason and logic. Faith is rarely reasonable. Faith in God requires that we give up the really good things for the unimaginable great things of God. One part of my heart wants to choose faith and follow. The other part wants to choose fear and stay put, where it is safe and predictable. It’s my choice: God’s way or my way.

my way gods way

One will lead to the Promised Land; one will not. One will lead to a life I cannot even fathom; one will not. One will glorify God; one will not. One will grow my faith; one will reinforce my fear.

Thankfully God is patient and purposeful in His pursuit of His people. When fear outweighs faith, He continues to lead and continues to call us to follow. He continues to promise that His way is the better path. Exodus 15:13 say, “In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.” And John 8:12 says, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

So how do we choose faith instead of fear? How do we follow God’s lead? It starts by desiring to follow where He leads and it takes listening for his voice. In John 10, Jesus tells a parable about sheep following their shepherd. In verses 3-6 he says, “The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

Do you know Jesus’ voice? He’s calling. He’s leading. You simply have to listen and follow, even if it is anxiously and reluctantly. Just do it obediently.