4 Weeks of Thankfulness: New Opportunities

This week I'm thankful for new opportunities. Who doesn't love a new open door with a fresh start waiting on the other side?

Well.... sometimes me.

In the last year and a half or so Jeff and I have encountered a number of doors opening to us.

We both got new jobs.
We met new church families.
I got more serious about blogging and writing.
Jeff is in leadership roles at church.
I'm mentoring a DCE (Director of Christian Education) intern and volunteering more at church.
I may have a chance to dip my feet back into the youth ministry water soon.

All of these things sound pretty good. And, really, all of them are good. But every single one of these new opportunities have been scary to me in one way or another.

A new opportunity implies that something old was involved. Usually when a door opens in our lives it means that something else has closed.

We got new jobs because I lost my old one. Jeff was working part-time at the time and we needed him to bring in a full-time income for our family. The scary part - New jobs mean learning new things, new programs, meeting new people, learning new routines. It's a lot of adjusting.

I don't always do well with change. While sometimes change is exciting, most times it just makes me nervous. Even the possibility of change makes me nervous. So when the time comes to end one thing in life and move on to another, it can be very difficult for me, even if the change is a good thing.

If you're like me, you'd probably like some tips to manage this in your life so the new opportunities you're faced with don't seem so scary. Here are a few things I've been learning as life has changed in some big ways the past couple years.

God has a reason for the new opportunity. And I think He uses these new options to teach us. Maybe He wants you to grab hold of this fresh chance and run with it. Or, maybe He's using this as a way to teach you how to say no and create more margin in your life. Either way, God has a reason for allowing the change in your life. And you can know that whatever His reason, He has your absolute best interest at heart. It may not always work out exactly the way we want, but God knows what's truly best for us.
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

God promises to be with you. Sometimes we get too hung up on whether our decision is the exact thing God wants us to do. We need to know God well enough to know what He would have us do in a give situation, but what happens when you're faced with two good outcomes? Instead of worrying about which thing God would be more or less pleased with, maybe we should just focus on the fact that God promises to be with us regardless of which good thing we choose. When we're making decisions based on what we know about God, and based on who we are in Christ, God will use us and bless our work where we are.
"Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!" Psalm 90:17

God wants you to trust Him with this. It's too easy to let our fear of change give way to inaction. God tells us to trust Him and He shows us constantly all the reasons why we should trust Him. And when we're His children and we trust Him to lead us in the right direction, our fear is destroyed and God is allowed to do his work in our lives. If we're afraid of change, scared of something to end so something better can begin, or nervous to take the first step, and we let that fear be in control, we risk missing out on some amazing things God has planned. With God's Spirit living in us, we can let go of fear and let God hold us.
"It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." Deuteronomy 31:8

Yes, new opportunities can be scary, but they can be great ways God is using to show himself to us. So this week, I'm watching for these opportunities and trusting God with them. What opportunities has he set in front of you? How can you move forward in trust with him this week?

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