Isaiah 30:1-2 “Woe to the rebellious children,” says the Lord, “Who take counsel, but not of Me, And who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, That they may add sin to sin; Who walk to go down to Egypt, And have not asked My advice, To strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, And to trust in the shadow of Egypt!
The pandemic triggered many to re-evaluate every area of their life, including where they call home. From economic devastation to newfound freedom in remote work, home became less rooted. And the fantasized dream land of California is no exception. I have had the “should I stay or should I go” conversation with co-workers, friends, family, Christian and non-Christian. And depending on who you listen to or what news station you watch you might come to different conclusions.
But what I had to stop and do numerous times myself because I forget too often, and I bet many Christians do too, is the following:
Ask God what He wants you to do.
There are those of you reading this that are thinking about leaving California.
You have read the headlines about the California Exodus, the worsening homelessness crisis, bad schools, rising crime rates, insane cost of living and taxes along with all the lingering stereotypes of progressive, godless and liberal attitudes that might too many believers have deemed too unforgivable and hopelessly unchangeable.
There are those of you reading this that are thinking about moving to California.
For some who were raised outside the state, California is fantasized as the land of the rich and famous, where dreams come true, a home for those seeking to live their truth openly and freely, sunbathing on the beach year around one day and snowboarding in the mountains another or even the same day.
And many raised here, they can’t image calling any other place home.
But again I ask, what does God want you to do?
I personally have been on the “it’s time to go” train a couple of time. And so have many others since the pandemic. According to the California Policy Lab, Entrances to California from other states have dropped 38% since March of last year, while the number of residents leaving to other states has increased 12%, the report from the nonpartisan California Policy Lab said.
To be honest, if I had my way I would be living in Austin or Dallas. The overall vibe, people, food and affordability jives better with me. I often feel like a square in a circle hole. Check out my post Culture shock. I lived in Houston nearly 4 years and loved it. I have annoyed all my friends with my constant reminiscing of Texas. You can read about my culture shock I experienced since moving here from the Midwest.
I have seriously contemplated moving back especially now that Im indefinitely a work from home employee and Austin is a city available to work from. I feel the pull to return more when I feel discouraged about what I haven’t achieved yet (marriage kids home etc) and how much easier it would be to do that there (greener grass and what not).
Before the pandemic, around jan 2020, I received a DM from my old boss in Houston. She was in need of a marketing director for my old team, a massive jump in my career plans. She was willing to buy out my lease and essentially name my price to come back. After questioning my purpose being in San Diego, wondering if maybe only God wanted my parents to move without me joining them, I thought this was my answer and out. But I had enough sense to pray about it first. I was all in just waiting on God’s yes. The waiting and praying went on for days and the DMs from my boss asking for updates only added pressure. Then, like so many times before, I heard God’s still quiet voice in the shower while praying in the Spirit. “Focus on what I have called you to do and don’t waste time with distractions” was not the exact words but overwhelming feeling as all desire to take the job left. It was clear. God had spoken and the fear of the Lord sealed it. I replied with a final message to my old boss that I would have to decline the job and thanked her for even considering. It was so tempting and disappointing to say no but it was the right choice.
It was only a couple of months later the pandemic was in full effect and the country shut down. One industry that has been most impacted by the pandemic is the restaurant and hospitality industry, the same industry I had just declined a few months ago. And when compared to the industry I was at the time and still am, I would have traded a secure and financially thriving industry in the pandemic era, biotech, for one that could have been financially and spiritually devastating. No one saw the pandemic coming. Hindsight is 20/20 but when we stop to ask God for His council and trust in His plan, not the temptation and deception to go where we ought not to go, foresight is 20/20.
I was again reaffirmed that I need to stay put. I was visiting a church service a couple of weeks ago when one of the pastors strongly stated: Everyone is moving to Texas, but we are called to stay in California. This is where the fight is. God needs us here and we aren’t going anywhere.
That message shot from the stage and slapped the sense back into me.
Had I forgotten how may family prayed and fasted for God to confirm moving here and His promise that our reward was in San Diego? Had I forgotten how my whole family has been prospering like never before. How I have grown and come into my calling unlike any time in my life. The friendships I’ve never had. This blog He had me start. The many, many confirmations along the way. (Add revival references, Azusa, Four Square, Jesus Movement)
I was questioning all of this because of some news reports. It would be more comfortable and easier to move to a place where I could do things my way in my own strength. Because on paper, it makes sense to move.
But God’s ways our higher than our ways. And His thoughts higher than our thoughts. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, soul and strength.
We need to be positioned where God needs us. Not our will but His be done. We pray and read this but do we believe it? Are we willing to surrender our plans to obey God’s and follow Him to the ends of the Earth, in the valleys of the shadow of death or to the highest mountain tops?
How many of us if we are honest with ourselves would upend our lives and move and leap into the unknown if it meant keeping our jobs or taking a new one with more pay for a company that would easily put you on the chopping block without explanation or notice? We are so much more that. There is God and mammon. We cannot serve both
Every believer is called, with a gift, that is designed for maximum impact for the kingdom if we are in the right place at the right time God ordained for us. It is not only missed blessings on our part when we are not positioned where we need to be in God’s plan but there are those who will potentially miss out on salvation, blessing and/or encouragement because God’s chosen vessel for the task, that would be you, was not there.
We must consult with God when making a move. Whether it is to stay, go and move here, only God knows what is best for you and what lies ahead.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you that your word is a light to our feet. I repent and ask forgiveness in not coming to you first and listening to your voice in decision making. Open my ears to hear and confirm your will in my life on where I should move, if at all, in this new year. Take all desire that is not of You away and replace it with Your desires. Search my heart and root out all wrong motives, fears and doubts that could influence my actions. I surrender my life to you as my Lord and Savior and trust you have plans exceedingly and abundantly better than mine and the best intentions for my life. I ask all these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Application: Set aside your pros and cons list and devote the next week in focused prayer and/or fasting and quiet time to consult the wisdom of God. Journal what God speaks to you. Ask for confirmation and check if it aligns with scripture.