Several months ago I wrote a post titled “Knowing When to Walk Away” where I outlined that change is inevitable in our lives, but few of us seem to know when God might be leading us to something new. I received several negative reactions from people who felt I advocated for leaving when times get tough.
My desire with the post on walking away was to highlight the importance of seeking God and wise council when making big life decisions that involve significant change. We should never be flippant when it comes to possible change within vocation and calling.
I actually believe that more often than not, God calls us to stay rather than leave when we first sense we should move on. I think this applies to Christian ministry, relationships, and jobs. Often the easy way out is to leave, but I don’t believe God is about providing us with easy solutions for our complex problems. Faithfully following Jesus through all parts of our lives is a difficult call.
Here’s 5 reasons to stay where God has placed you:
1. Faithfulness is Greater Than Advancement
Often the reason we desire to leave our current situation is because we want to move up to something better. Whether this is the corporate ladder or finally getting out of youth ministry to do adult ministry, or trying to get a more attractive girlfriend, our motivation lies solely in moving up and stays disconnected from calling.
God was faithful to us in sending His Son, who was faithful even through death, in His obedience to the Father.
Before God calls us to anything else in life, He first calls us to faithfulness where He has placed us.
2. Covenant Over Contract
My wife has the uncanny ability to become best friends with just about anyone in under 15 minutes. I marvel at the conversations she can have with the grocery bagger. But even for her, building relationships that matter takes a LONG time. For the past several years she’s invited a group of girls into our house to build friendship and to talk about faith. Building relationships took years of intentional and consistent effort.
When we move from place to place in life we are forcing ourselves into superficial relationships that never have the time to develop into meaningful interactions that help us grow. Relationships that matter take time. We can learn a lot from trees who spend years building a root system in order to grow where they are planted.
Many of us have a signed contract saying we will fulfill our job description, but beyond this contract we have a covenant with God to edify His body, and this happens through the longevity of relationships with others.
3. Moments Are Fleeting—Just Ask Esau
Hebrews 12:16-17 “See that no one is…godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected.”
All of us can make poor decisions during intense moments. Esau is our example of how this can go against us after the moment has passed. I have no doubt it was not long after he had digested the meal from Jacob that he came to regret giving up his inheritance rights to his brother. Esau’s emotions in the moment should not have been trusted.
Rather than making knee-jerk reactions to difficult situations and jumping ship to find something we hope will make us happier or more stable, we should instead fight through the difficulty knowing something beautiful is on the other end of the struggle.
4. The Grass is Never Greener
It wouldn’t be a popular saying if it wasn’t true.
5. What Needs to Change is Us, Not the Situation
This is the most important principle when it comes to change. Often in our desire to change the circumstances of our lives, what needs to change first is us. God is constantly at work in our hearts and in our lives, even when we’re oblivious to His working.
As I’ve recently sensed an urge within myself for something new and different, I’ve spent the majority of my time in prayer, conversing with God and examining what is going on underneath the surface.
If the situation changes but I don’t recognize the changes going on within me, I’ll continually be outside of where God truly desires me to be.
In the end often what we need is to live into what God is doing in us, rather than moving seats on the bus only to run into the same frustrations later on.
I know many of you have endured the longevity of difficult circumstances. I’m quite interested to know how each of you stuck it out.
What are some reasons to stay rather than leave?