Posts Tagged ‘decision making’

I will begin this installment on the sixth principle of emotional health Embracing Grief and Loss with a confession: I have not been myself lately. I admit it. I’m coming apart and that’s a good thing. So much of my life has been invested in being the pastor of VX church that it seems unreal that we are closing. So unreal that I do not know how to be. And that speaks to me. It shows me how much being in this role has defined my life. I have defined myself by what I do. In the past few weeks I have gone from lethargic to hyperactive and back again. In fact the night before I had to preach on this topic I did not sleep at all. I couldn’t place my finger on it and blamed it on too much tea (that theory dissolved after I realized yerba mate has 1/3rd the caffeine of coffee). I have been forgetting things and remembering some things that have been long forgotten. On top of all this I have been trying on more new identities than a pampered rich girl tries on clothes in a Beverly Hills dressing room. To put it simply I have been grieving.

Grieving the fact that relationships will change. Grieving the fact that in a few Sunday morning I will have to choose where to go and what to do. Grieving the fact that I will be on the receiving side of a sermon side and not on the giving side. I am grieving the numerous inside jokes that have developed over the years. I am grieving over the fact that the world will not feel like it’s all on my shoulders and people won’t look to me to help solve their problems. Yes I will even grieve that.

Why? Because it is loss. It is change. In order to adjust to change we have to grieve over the reality that once was. People have been asking what is it like to make a decision to close a church. To be honest when we actually made the decision it was easy because I had prayed and thought about it for months. The hard part came after making the decision. Then my emotions caught up to me. That’s because any loss no matter how much it makes sense affects us in profound ways that we are unaware of. God gives us grieving time for the rest of our self to catch up with reality. I believe that’s why even though Sunday was coming…nothing big happened on the Saturday in between the crucifixion and the resurrection. Jesus’ family and friends cried and mourned their loss. The crowds were gone. There was silence in the grave. Saturday was uneventful but profound. In order to really embrace Sunday it was necessary to sit in Saturday. And that’s what I’m doing right now as I search for a new way to be. And the best thing that I can come up with is…be a child of God.

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PhillyskylineRight now we are preparing to go to Philadelphia and just like the t-shirt I got
from some friends at a Vineyard conference a few years ago people are asking “Why
Philly?” When presented with the question I just tell people it is a place that
we really fell in love with and it has been on my mind since we last visited.
Is this enough to suggest moving there? I personally think that it does. Now there
are other reasons:

  • A great college town. Yvette is a college instructor. I am
    aspiring.
  • Cheesesteaks. I haven’t been eating red meat since January but
    this would definitely sway me
  • A larger African American population. The Los
    Angeles area is only 8% African American while Philadelphia is 43.4%. I need this kind of
    emotional and cultural retreat as I have been working deep in cross cultural
    ministry for a long time
  • A change of scenery. I have lived in Southern
    California all my life. I think a change of scenery would be good
    for my soul. Seeing the seasons change sounds exciting.
  • A smaller less suburban environment. LA is a city of suburbs
    and I am tired of the sprawl. It is definitely not my speed.

Now these are natural reasons. But are there any supernatural ones? A better question is Do we need to have supernatural ones? Last night we talked to Mike Flynn. He is an associate pastor at a Vineyard out here and a great teacher and speaker regarding Holy Spirit ministry. He talked to me and Yvette about guidance. He says there are four things that are needed when a follower of Christ makes decisions:

  • Scripture. Right now we have no definite scripture that says
    go to Philadelphia.While we have nothing that says don’t go we do not have anything that explicitly says go. Anything that we have would be indirect like “Have faith in God” “Go to a land I will show you”. Nothing that really stands out in framing this decision from a Biblical perspective.
  • Peace. To have an inner peace and calm about the decision
    and not a feeling of apprehension. Mike said that this is found in our heart or
    right under our breastbone. While I don’t subscribe to the breastbone theory I
    do think that our decisions as Christians can be guided by a subjective peace.
  •  Wise, godly counsel. This is where I am at a loss. The only
    godly counsel that I personally have received regarding this decision has said “Gofor it” but more in the sense of “You know what you are doing and this is what you want so…Go for it.” I went to my former counselor and he said this is a good decision for us since it involves risk and will grow our faith.
  • Circumstances. This is where I am really at a loss. We keep
    looking for jobs and cannot find anything except there are an abundance of
    entry level jobs or service jobs that would not get us to a better place
    financially. There are not even a lot of ministry jobs which is the one field
    that I have experience and education in.

Now those are the four areas that need to be covered. I
really would like to make a good decision right now and not just plow through
this time because I need somewhere to go to escape. I also do not want to make
a decision based on the eeny meeny miny moe theory that JHenry talks about in
his blog. I want this decision to line up with what I believe and the overall
picture of my life and not just this one section of chaos.

That being said. If there is anyone who has anything to say
regarding our situation besides “Go for it!” Then please chime in. I am
searching for answers and am willing to eat crow if we are headed the wrong
way.