Moving Forward

Life is good here in Springfield.

OK, so I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of leaving Nashville, but at the same time I knew that Springfield was my next stop in life’s journey. I knew that it was God leading me here, and as such life would be good — I would feel at home in my new apartment, I would feel at home in the new office, I would like my new job, I would find a new church and new friends, I would learn my way around a new city. And all of that is happening so life’s good.

And now I’m ready to move forward. I feel like the transition time is coming to a close. It’s time to focus on the work here. Which there is plenty to do. I’m finding it both fulfilling and inspiring. My co-workers at Global Initiative have made me feel very welcome, and even in the few weeks I’ve been in the office, I’ve felt useful and needed. There is enough work currently on my plate and enough ideas for future projects that I’m ready to focus on the work here.

As part of my quest to read one book per week this year, I just finished A Passon for the Impossible: The Life of Lilias Trotter.  Trotter left her London home and comfortable life for the life in Algeria among the unreached. The art critic and social revolutionary John Ruskin believed that Trotter had the potential to be one of the best artists of the nineteenth century. But she gave that up to follow a call to reach the unreached, the Muslims of North Africa, and her love of literature and her talent in art gave way to new ways to share about the work happening on the mission field. To get there she had to go through a “crisis of her soul.” She had to decide between a future in the art world and a call to ministry. The story of her work in Algeria is inspiring and challenging, but it was this tension she felt between art and missions that resounded the most with me right now.

My current struggle is slightly different than Lilias’. I am in process of transitioning from music industry to missions — and doing so gladly — but while she took her love and arts into her new life, I am changing fields/careers entirely. I am looking forward to continue doing freelance writing/editing but I am currently working on letting go of a job that I’ve had for the past six years. I have been debating how and when to make the break or if I even should (I mean, won’t the extra money be helpful?). But as I read Lilias’ story, I felt more convinced that I needed to make the break, and until I do so, I won’t fully be trusting God to provide for the needs that I have (fundraising!).

Lilias said, “I see clear as daylight now, I cannot give myself to painting in the way he [Ruskin] means and continue still to ‘seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness'” (84). As things stand right now, my time is divided. I have more than enough work to keep me busy at my new job, while the workload from my music job hasn’t let up — in fact, it’s gotten busier. It’s possible that I could do both jobs but I don’t feel like I can fully focus on the new job and do the work that God brought me here to do.

The biographer notes that Lilias felt the same way about her art and ministry. “But Lily, whole-souled as she was, knew that she could not continue to do both and give either what it would require of her. The rudder of her will had already been set toward God’s purposes, whatever they might be (84.)”

“For all people, however, as for herself, Lilias believed that the fundamental issue in life remained the same: a need for total abandonment to God’s purposes. The ultimate test, if not the specific path, would require the willingness to renounce anything–person, place, possession, plan–anything that would stand in the way of God’s design” (85).

It’s interesting how you can read certain things at certain times that seem to fit exact what you need to hear at that time. And this is exactly what I needed to read/hear. I want to be “whole-souled” and that means that I cannot do both, at least as both jobs stand now — it’s just too much work. Pray with me for wisdom to know what to do and when to do it.

And so begins another week. A week I look forward to.

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