Thanks for your letter! It was so good to hear from you, it has been a while hasn’t it? Lets get down to brass tacks – you asked for my advice. Lets see if I read it right. You’ve been working steadily for a while. It’s an ok job and though it’s not what you dreamt of the money is coming in and lets be honest these days a jobs a job right? Sounds simple enough till your old friend from Uni invited you to come on board at his exciting start up for very low pay. I sense your frustration. Life would be easier if we didn’t have to deliberate this stuff.
Let’s be clear about me – I’m not sure I’m best qualified to help. All I can really do is share my story. In the end it wouldn’t be a risk if someone like me could tell you exactly what to do. I guess really that’s it. There is an anatomy to risk. You don’t know what to do? Check. There is potential for something good if it pays off? Check. Yet it could all go wrong? Check. Most of all there is a “moment.” It can’t go on forever – it’s either in or out. These moments must come.
I guess the same could go for that next level relationship leap, the move to the unknown city, down to what you feel God is calling you to – anything really.
Do you remember my last “moment”? You knew that I’d dreamt of moving abroad and doing something for God. We’d talked together long enough and prayed for one another but it just hadn’t happened. I think it was about Christmas time so I laid it before God in full acceptance that “here” was fine. It’s a few years back now but the chain of events followed something like this. In late January of the following year my boss called me into his office to invite me to work for our charity in Australia for a month to fulfil an important task. What sane person would say no?! But that’s when my fear kicked in. What if I failed? Exposed and embarrassed enough to cost my career.
I remember you laughing at my deliberations over such an obvious decision – I hope you understand my dilemma now! The moment of decision had to come on the Monday morning. I lay awake that Friday night challenging God. Why does he put us in these situations where so much seems at stake but nothing seems clear? That’s where I got clever with God. OK God I’m here now but I’m going to ask you to never put me in this position again. That’s when it dropped into my mind. My friends in our New Zealand office were coming home soon and there was a need for a leader over there. A feeling of dread passed over me. Well let’s start with that one God – don’t let them ask me to do that, it’s too big a risk. I was an unlikely candidate anyway.
So that’s how it all kicked off. You know I said yes the following Monday. You also know, however unbelievable it sounds, that it was just an hour later I was invited back into that same room and asked to move to New Zealand for that very role. You also know I said yes to that too. I guess my Australian yes warmed me up. To realise that yes I could fail. All my fears could come true but God was with me either way and the rewards were worth the risk, especially as we were a charity helping those in need.
So did it pay off? For me it was better than I could have imagined and I could stop there but it wouldn’t be fair to you. For what was my biggest risk? After four years I gave it all up to come back home. Why? I sense there’s something more to come. I used to run down a road called Tamaki Drive. It’s simply stunning, winding past glorious vistas, cafes and shops and I could have stayed the rest of my life. However on many a run God started to whisper “run past settling”.
I’m sure I heard that voice. I really am. Much good has happened since I returned but not yet enough to fully justify my last risk.
I can’t tell you there’s a recipe or that it always works. So should you take your risk? Your moment is coming and if not it may be the time to make one. All I can say is that you must have these moments and I am prone to take them. The rewards are high and especially worth it if people are involved. God will be with you either way, though either way it may very well be:
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. (Psalm 139:9)