There is a difference between ‘leaving’ and ‘going out from’. You can leave a place or a situation with no thoughts or intentions of going back or having any additional involvement. But when you ‘go out from’ those places or situations, you carry them with you to be able to utilize the relationships and experiences as you move forward…
Yes, there is a difference between leaving and going out from. To leave (in this post’s context of “change”) means: to depart, to desert, to abandon or even to terminate association with; while to go out from seems (to me) more as: to leave one’s house (or a place), to travel, to work away from home or to take the field as a soldier. Please, along with Merriam Webster (used for definitions), go with me here. There is a difference. Leaving and going out from, they do not mean the same thing.
I posted a blog back in August (2017) titled, “Open Your Eyes and Stand.” The heart of the message being that I had been sort of resting on my bootie, not taking any chances, not engaging in activities that would take me out of my comfort zone and essentially not contributing a lot to the Kingdom’s work. My study time and my prayer life were good, as I had lots of time to devote to these activities. I sort of stayed in a holding pattern there though. I figure if you have to be stuck somewhere, study and prayer are not a bad place to be…unless you are using them to keep from stepping out somewhere else.
I have been a dreamer my whole life…crazy, big, insane, awesome dreams. Some of them have come true and some of them are still way out there somewhere. In the blog post, I wrote, “Dreaming, in general, seems to be something that was damaged along with the vision loss. I’ll think of something impossible and outlandish and then remember that I have no means to attempt it. I am constantly telling myself, ‘You can’t do that.’” I think when you lose the ability to dream that you lose the foundation for being able to step out into the unknown and take chances. Yep, I’d been sittin’ pretty, safe and pretty!
When I finally got down to what I was trying to say in the blog, it was that, although my vision is limited, there is no reason for me to hide out in the dark any longer. You know something that is interesting about this blogging thing is that I learn things about myself — often times, while I am in the act of writing them. This was one of those times. These words ended up on the screen, “Recently I have felt the Spirit luring me out of that anesthetized state.” There had been a few sign posts that week, as I was writing the blog, leading me to know that God was not finished using me and that I was far from ready to sit quietly to the side and let life glide on by. It was time to get up and get moving. I also stated that I had no idea what that meant.
But, over the next few weeks, God slowly started showing me a glimpse of the plans that He has for me. Some of those plans included spending time with some other folks, and not necessarily being at my church every Sunday. Then, even more than that, He started tugging my heart toward a little church sitting on the hill, surrounded by the biggest mission field in our county. In addition, over the past few weeks, I have even felt a little spark of the old dreamer flaring back to life. I am excited, very excited about moving forward and seeing the amazing things that God is going to do on that hill. I am sure there will be plenty of blog posts about the events that transpire there. But for this blog, I feel like there are a few things I need to clear up.
A number of folks seem to feel that I have just “left” them. Seriously, I did not leave, I went out from my church of over thirteen years to serve with an amazing group of people at a place where I felt God was leading me. Plus the fact is that I’m not really gone; I am still part of the Body at large. My service area has just changed. My Pastor was good with that. He said he understood completely. When I talked to him about it, he said that is what it is all about: people coming in, being fed, growing, being strengthened, and then going out to serve others, with others when the need arises.
As awkward as it is, here in this public forum, I kind of, sort of, maybe feel like I need to try and soothe a few hurt feelings and answer some “Why?” questions. For the record: I am not upset with anyone. No one hurt my feelings. I promise, there are no issues. I did not depart to regions unknown, I am still right here and available to participate and help out when I can. I did not desert anyone, I will still be around, but have broadened my reach to include others. And even though I have moved my point of service, I have not terminated any relationships. I am, in fact, hoping to bring together old and new to work together and grow the Kingdom as best we can.
What is it I see that I have done? I have gone out from… I have left a place that I dearly love, and have been a very active participant over the years; but I have gone to a place where God is also present and is ready to reach down and do mighty things (that only HE can do.) I have traveled away from a safe, secure place (on that back row) to step out in faith that God will use me to show the love of His Son to others. Yes, it has been home to me for over thirteen years; but I once taped paper banners over all of the exit doors that read, “You are now entering the mission field.” Ah, I am finally following my own admonitions. Plus, I think we all realize that we are in a battle and are soldiers in that battle, and soldiers have to, eventually, engage.
I am amazingly excited and energized about the possibilities ahead! My deepest desire is to serve my God and attempt to follow His leadings. There have even been some pretty big dreams bouncing around in my head the past couple of weeks. The one thing I do know is that I serve a BIG God and He is in the business of making BIG things happen. He has already started a big thing with me by allowing those dreams to seep back in and sending me to a place where the “big-ness” of them can be realized!
“Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don’t you see it? I will make a road in the desert. I will make rivers in the dry land.” Isaiah 43:19 (ICB)