The Beginning of Something
Last year I left my dream job and landed at the beginning of something!
Out of My Control Zone
I’m at the beginning of something. Maybe you are too. I’m in unfamiliar territory. I’m way outside of my comfort zone, A.K.A. my control zone. I want to go back because I’m afraid of what’s ahead, the unknown. But I can’t. At this point, I’m committed. I have only two options.
I can go kicking and screaming or I can be patient — throw my hands up in the air and enjoy the ride.
I think this is exactly what King Solomon (the Preacher) was talking about when he penned Ecclesiastes 7:8.
Better is the end of a thing than the beginning of it, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. (Ecclesiastes 7:8 NKJV)
Put this verse in context. Solomon is nearing the end of an incredibly extravagant life. He pursued it all and had it all – power, wealth, women, business savvy, intellect He makes the mega stars of our day look like mere Mousketeers.
The Preacher approaches the podium. He clears his throat to speak. The audience is silenced. It’s so quiet you can hear a pin drop on the dusty stadium floor. The man that had it all is about to help us make some soul-searching sense of what really matters in life. Hush the crowd. Silence the background noise. Quiet the random thoughts racing through our minds. Lean in to hear hindsight wisdom, the most powerful wisdom of all.
Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; Vanity of vanities, all is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 1:2 NKJV)
All is hebel (heh’vel) which means a vapor, a breath. Some translations say meaningless, everything is meaningless. Here today, gone tomorrow. One giant heap of so what.
Talk about a buzz kill. Did you hear that? That was all the air being let out of my boastful pride of life tires. Promotion at work? So what. Moving on up with the Jefferson’s? So what. Got a blog? So what. New house? So what. Mega retirement portfolio? So what! Approval of men? So what. My kid bumper sticker? So What. Recognition? So what. Perfect size whatever? So what. Chief women’s mucky muck? So what?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the Preacher’s sermon and yet I continue to pursue filling my life up with things that in the end don’t matter.
Now Hear This!
It’s not the things that are in themselves good or bad. It’s that we use the things (curiously similar to idols) to make us feel worthy, full, and satisfied. The Preacher is giving us a running head start to see the other side of that dead-end path. You’re chasing a high that is like a breath. Breathe in. Exhale. It’s over. All that work for what? Back to feeling empty.
Preach On Preacher!
Turn with me to the very last page of Ecclesiastes for some good news. Ecclesiastes 12:13. The Preacher concludes with this…
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments. For this is man’s all. (Ecclesiastes 12:13 NKJV)
Way to bring it full circle Preacher! The credits are scrolling on the big screen. It makes me want to jump to my feet in applause. He brought it home with this simple conclusion. He tells us where the all is. If you want my cup runneth over kind of living it begins and ends with fearing God.
The Trust Walk
What does it mean to fear God? Let’s look closer at the Hebrew verb used in the text –Yare. It means more, much more, than outward conformity. It means plugging into the host of heaven’s GPS and following His turn-by-turn instructions.
Every day, here I am, your servant is listening.
Every day here I am, your servant is following.
Every day here I am, your servant is obeying.
The Preacher is telling us that it is the every day trust walk that leads to life’s ultimate joy and satisfaction.
Last year, Jesus very clearly led me to quit my dream job. I left a very stable company with a cushy salary and that’s how I ended up here at the beginning of… something.
Quitting a job like that would be a lesson in how not to climb the corporate ladder. I didn’t quit on whim. It was a long, prayerful, gut-wrenching decision. It was made in tandem with the two leading men in my life — Jesus and my husband, Dave. The more we prayed, the more it became clear that this was the right direction for our family. So I resigned. And 10 months later, I’m still working on the beginning of… something.
This something that I’ve starting is really a lesson in trust. I’ve traded in a job that I pursued and the entire work vapor that went along with it — applause, title, paycheck, stability for the applause of heaven and things of eternal value. I’m learning that the real rush of life is obedience. Knowing that I’m in His will and being okay with not knowing exactly how this is going to turn out. I’ve let go of the steering wheel.
The Beginning is Hard
No one said it would be easy. I don’t know where I’m going and I don’t like that. I’ve lost a big piece of my identity and that’s really uncomfortable. I don’t feel as important as I once did. Prideful sigh. The beginning is hard. But I’m determined to stay the course.
There are plenty of times I want to latch back on to my illusion of control. I want to fill my own tank up. But I resist because I’m heeding the Preacher’s wise words in Ecclesiastes 7:8. I’m starting something new. New is hard. The end will be better than the beginning. I refuse to give into pride and run back to what’s familiar. Instead I’m going to be patient and see this trust walk through.
Now I’m not suggesting that God is calling you to quit your job. That’s what God led me to do. What I am saying is that you need to prayerfully pay attention to whatever it is you might be pursuing that is empty. Drop that thing like a hot potato and just become willing. Be willing to believe that only Jesus can fill up all those empty places. Be willing to believe that Jesus has a plan for our lives that will give us meaning. Be willing to follow Jesus and start that trust walk –one foot in front of the other, one day at a time.
I’m at the beginning of something. Maybe you are too. You know it’s His will for you and you know it might be hard in the beginning. New ministry? Leaving a job? Starting a job? Newly married? Newly single? Empty nester? Resolving to begin new healthier communication patterns with your spouse? Your kids? Whatever it is, if its new, you’ll want to go back to the familiar. But don’t. Were on this coaster together. Why not see it through to the end? Be patient, throw my hands up in the air, and enjoy the ride (if you’re reading this instead of watching the video you’re missing some pretty awesome roller coaster footage).
Want to go deeper on today’s topic? Download the study guide.
Remember, someone you know needs to hear this.