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THIS Changed Everything I Understood About My "Calling"
Our Big Move
October 24, 2021 An Excerpt From My Prayer Journal
“I can come up with a thousand reasons why I should hold back, why I am not the girl for the job. BUT I don’t ever want to miss out on something because of my unbelief. Jesus, I want to be all in YES to whatever and wherever you lead our family! Moving doesn’t make sense to a lot of people - especially our family. But I believe you are leading us and I do believe you have something for us. I do not have answers- but I know you will do what you will do and we are here to be used in any way you ask. YOU are bigger than visas/mortgage/jobs/housing markets/borders/money/schools…You allow these to exist, so YES I believe you operate outside of these boundaries! YOU called out Moses, a tongue-tied shepherd to go and lead a nation. YOU called Gideon a mighty warrior before he even entered a battle. YOU called Abraham a father of many nations before he even had one child (and he was old!) YOU call things out of people that don’t make sense to others around them! Jesus, if you ever want to call something out in me, please help me not have unbelief. Please give me the faith to say, ‘If you say so!’ I want great faith more than anything…”
If only I knew the extent of what I was praying. The next year was about to get real!
Let’s back up a bit to June 2021. Covid was still buzzing all around and things were pretty restricted at this time in Canada - especially Ontario. For months Sam and I prayed over a stirring in our hearts to move to the States. Was God calling us to move?Where would we go? Should we stay? Either way, we want to be obedient to God’s plan and best use for our lives and ministry. Moving would be a huge deal, but staying where we were didn’t sit well either. It would have been easier if God had parted the clouds and in a bright beam of light had spoken, Baxters! This is your official calling - it’s time to move! Then at least, when asked why we were moving, my answer could simply be, God called us!
But that never happened.
There was no audible voice. No command. Not even a dream. No one at church stopped us and said, God is calling you to move! And yes, I had prayed and asked for all those things. For months, we prayed for an answer; God - what should we do??
We felt pretty unsure. I mean, there were a LOT of factors to think about: jobs, work visas, housing markets, dollar exchanges, school for our kids, we’d be leaving a home we loved and family we were so close to. So we prayed and prayed some more. Eventually we fasted. For five days we laid down our comforts to seek out God and where He may be leading us. I thought if we are going to be this super spiritual, God would speak to us and at least lay out a 1-year plan.
But there was no holy download. No plan. No clarity.
However, we both experienced this tiny feeling in our guts - that we needed to focus on getting our house ready to sell. We didn’t know if we would sell, or what would happen if we did, but we were both sure we needed to be ready - just incase.
I suppose when things don’t move at lightning speed, I can get a bit impatient. But, God! I want more details! What comes after that? And after that? And after that? Oh the spiral of control is real, isn’t it? The long road of waiting gives an awful lot of room for anxiety and worry. (I’ve learned since then that God often operates in giving the “next right thing” and not the whole picture. I’m sure this is to save us from our control-hungry selves and learn to actually trust Him!)
Well, let me just give a huge shout-out to the Bible. It’s almost SO obvious that we can forget to go here when in a swirling world of doubt and uncertainty. Let me tell you how reading the Bible has completely changed the trajectory of how I see my calling and my every day living for Jesus.
In the midst of whining and complaining for clarity on our calling, I started reading the story of Jesus walking on water. If you have grown up in church, this was a classic felt-board story. The disciples were out in their boat. They didn’t have fog machines in church when I was a kid, but I imagine they would use one in the retelling of this story now. Fog, likely clouded the air making it hard to see too far across the water. The wind was picking up and the waves smacked against the boat as it rocked back and forth. All of a sudden, out of the misty-fog, a figure comes walking towards them! After their initial (and understanding) shock and horror - they realize who it is. Peter, the most excitable and eager disciple says, Lord! If that’s you…call me to you!
Wait. Back up.
Did you get that?
Jesus didn’t call Peter first.
Peter asked to be called.
He said, Lord, if it’s you, call me to you! And you know what Jesus said?
Sure! Come on out!
So, if I am reading this right, I don’t have to wait for the cloud parting, light beaming calling from God? I can actually ASK? Well this changed how I positioned my prayers. Instead of feeling insecure that I didn’t get this direct line from God, I started to pray, God, if this is of you - if YOU are in this, can we move?
Whether or not you’re sure of what God is calling you to, I want to point you to a scripture that is crystal clear and extremely foundational when it comes to our calling as Christians. And I am confident if we do this, we will never miss out on what God has for us.
Short and sweet:
“God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:9
Not only does this state the promise of God’s faithfulness (which is so valuable to remember daily), it’s clear we are called to community with Jesus. Doing everyday life with Jesus by our side, growing in relationship with Him. This may seem very simple, but it’s the right next step to anything else.
If we don’t want to miss out on what God has for us, then we need to be walking so closely with Him that we can hear His voice prompting us over the crazy culture we live in. Things are LOUD out there, guys! It’s so easy for us to get bogged down by news, politics and opinions. If we aren’t in daily relationship with God, we may think He doesn’t speak anymore, that the Bible is irrelevant or that we have to earn a role in His kingdom. All of that is false. And if we spend time with Him in prayer and especially in His Word, we will see what is TRUE. That we are all called according to His purpose.
The second thing is our calling to pursue righteousness (read: not happiness). The Bible says, Do not merely listen to the word, but DO what it says (James 1:22). We need to pursue Jesus, and pursue a life that looks like His! It may be counter-cultural, but this is God’s best for us! This is why Pete jumped out of the boat in the first place. He wanted to live like Jesus. His choice wasn’t about risk-aversion, staying comfortable or making a calculated decision. He wanted to do what Jesus was doing.
We knew that for us to move to the States, we would have to walk closer with God than ever before. We knew things could be so challenging that we would have no other source of endurance but God, Himself. And so after months of praying, preparing and planning - we got out of the boat and listed our house for sale!
What we didn’t realize was how big the waves were about to get.
(Stay tuned for part-two coming next week)
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