Life is marked by transitions. When you’re a kid, you want to be a grown up. When you’re single, you want to be married. When you’re in school, you want a job. Over and over again, we define our lives by the transitions in between places.
I can feel this pressure in my life. I’ve become so accustomed to and comfortable with change, I think it’s addictive, so when it’s not happening, I feel out of sorts. Like something is really wrong.
Yet, the paradox is, I really like my life. I particularly despise work travel. A big part of the reason is because I love my life, the activities I program in, my weekly routines, the people I invest in and the people that invest in me, and to put all of that stuff on pause while I’m away is really painful. I like my life. I don’t want to be away from it at all.
Yet I’m always scouting out for the next big change I want to make. Never content with where I am, yet never content with anything new… I don’t know what is wrong with me.
I really do love my life and what I am doing. I’m in one of the busiest yet most fulfilling times of my entire life. A huge part of that is working in middle school ministry. Two of the greatest honors of my entire life were paid to me last week. One of my 7th grade guys texted me he wanted to talk to me, and when we met in person, he sat down and started his story of… “I trust you more than my parents”. Then a few days later, one of my other guys said he feels safe here telling me what’s going on in his life.
This is the most important work I’ve ever been a part of. Yet, more and more I think about what else I could do, what could be different, what could be bigger and better. I crave another transition, instead of celebrating in the moment.
The other part about transitions is something that my favorite pastor Andy Stanley talks about when it comes to character in leadership: it is optional. Good character is not a prerequisite for leadership advancement. A leader’s natural abilities will more or less inevitably advance their authority faster than their moral will can sustain them.
Which, translated in my world, the faster I push my transitions, the faster I’m going to blow this whole thing up. We need to pace ourselves so our ability to stand our moral ground is proportionate with our responsibilities. Or I’m gonna blow it all up. I know this. I pray every day that I won’t blow this whole thing up. And everyday I do something, that left uncorrected, that will eventually blow me up if left uncorrected.
So why am I never satisfied? Why am I always looking to the next transition? Why can’t I be satisfied with the amazing things I have here and now? Why do I plan for the future–acting as if I’m discontent with the present–under the guise of “strategery”.
This week I interviewed a bunch of prospective student ministry leaders, and one of the most common questions I asked came from a question Terry Storch asked me as I was interviewing at LifeChurch.tv: “If the enemy wanted to take you out–what would he have to do?”
I got some interesting, surface level answers. But I told each person to take that question home and think about it. Let it keep you up at night occasionally. Because I thought about that question again last week, and it did keep me up.
And one of several areas I know I get taken out in is my dissatisfaction. I get so focused on what’s coming up, what can be made so much better, what tomorrow can bring that I quickly get distraught and so dissatisfied with where I am right now.
I am in a really good spot right now. I am making a difference. God is using me where I am. I am content, even though I have plans and ideas for the future, where I am now is an awesomely great place to start. I won’t let the enemy’s deceit run my life or ruin me in thinking there is anything wrong with what I have now.