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Knowing God in the Transitions of Life


Living intentionally to serve can be a beautiful thing. Sometimes I look at my life and I am just in awe of the places I have been, the things I have seen and the people I have met. God's plan is beyond my wildest dreams.


At the same time, serving has moments that are really difficult and not fun. The moments when you cry out to the Lord or have to remind yourself that the light in you shines brighter than any darkness around you. Those moments are so real, too. And they cut deep.


When I think about transitioning, whether the decision is to go and serve or to stay serving where you are, I think about three things. I'm not an expert. This is just from my experience and the wisdom I have received from those who have walked this journey before me. I hope this also gives you things to think about and encourages you.


1. Know that you know that God called you. Write it down.

2. Know that your relationship with God matters more to Him than your actions.

3. Take steps to build the life you need to be happy in the place you are.


I can't believe that God wants us to obey without also the joy of loving Him and seeing the goodness of the path He has set us on. He loves us. And He doesn't need us. But He invites us to participate. Because He loves us.

Know that you know

One of the best pieces of advice I got when I prepared to come is that you need to know that you know that you know that God is calling you. Be confident beyond a doubt that God is calling you to a place and time.


We should expect that if we live intentionally, we will meet many challenges. Some of them create problems for a short time – maybe a short-term medical issue or a short-lived spiritual battle. But some of these challenges leave you wondering where God is in all of this and why God allows it – like the death of your child or a marriage falling apart.


Knowing that you know that you know that God called you will give you the confidence to stay on the narrow path and keep taking steps forward.


Also, whatever it is that God showed you and however it is that he showed you, write it down. Writing it will help you to remember. I have personally gone back to my notes several times.


Your relationship with God matters more to Him than your actions

For sure, there are moments in life where God asks us to hang on, to trust, to suffer for a greater good. But I think, as Hmong people, we don't talk enough about being emotionally healthy. Emotionally healthy meaning that our heart and our spirit are full and complete, able to serve God from a foundation of love and joy.


I can't believe that God wants us to obey without also the joy of loving Him and seeing the goodness of the path He has set us on. He loves us. And He doesn't need us. But He invites us to participate. Because He loves us. And I, in turn, want to serve out of my love for Him


Whatever it is, it is not beyond God.


So, intentionally choose to stay. Choose to make the place you are your home. Be honest with yourself and with God about what you need. Pray for it. Invest your time and energy to make it happen.

As I look forward to the decisions I will make this year about the next couple of years, I am praying that God will show me how to choose my relationship with Him over all the actions I could take. Whatever they may be, may they bring me closer to Him and not farther away.


Build the life you need to be happy in the place you are

This last one is really practical. When I arrived, my first boss had lived the prior two decades in Asia. He shared with me how he and his wife were able to live here for so long: they chose to make this place their home and then they took steps to build the life they needed so they could stay a long time.


For them, this looked like creating a community with friends who also intentionally chose to make this place their home. In this community of friends, they raised their kids together and showed up for each other like family.


Their friends who were waiting to see how the wind might blow, most of those friends returned to their home countries.


So, intentionally choose to stay. Choose to make the place you are your home. Be honest with yourself and with God about what you need. Pray for it. Invest your time and energy to make it happen.


Don't live like this season of service is a detour and wait it out before returning home; live like this is the main road.

 

*Lisa (name changed) has a heart for the Lord and serves in Asia.

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