Today, as I penned the date in my journal, I realised that this month marks 10 years since I left my full-time job as a food technologist. Wow, it still feels a bit surreal, as I cannot believe that it is a whole decade ago, it genuinely feels like just the other day when I stepped out of that big grey gate and the confines of an 8 – 5 job that was so familiar to me, into an unfamiliar world of walking by faith. There were no other jobs lined up and there was no plan B. All I had was a word from the Lord and with that, I decided to place my hand into the hand of the Holy Spirit and allow Him to lead the way! I am so thankful to the Lord for sustaining me throughout this journey and being a perfect father because no matter how far we need to lean in, Papa God can cushion our total weight without dropping us. He remains the same through the ages and like this song Same God by Elevation ft Jonsal Barrientes declares: “We can stand on His faithfulness”.
There are so many great adventures as well as some major struggles that have transpired along my journey over these past 10 years but I thought that I would share my heart on those things that the Holy Spirit has impressed upon my heart and it has forever changed me!
Jesus said – “Follow Me”
Jesus calls us, to “follow Him”. The best representation of this is when Jesus called the first disciples. This passage of scripture is a great illustration –
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.Mark 1:16-20
Phrases that stand out from this passage and reveal that the disciples answered the call to “follow” Jesus without hesitation are, “at once” and “without delay“. This is what the Holy Spirit is requiring from each one of us as well, as He is looking for our complete trust in Him even during those times when we may not be able to see where the journey is leading us. Another thing that is required, is our surrender. This means a complete laying down of our lives, giving up control and submitting all our ways under the Lordship of Jesus. Trusting that He will perfectly guide and orchestrate our steps.
Here is an illustration that the Holy Spirit revealed to bring greater clarity to my journey –
When climbers embark on an unknown trail such as Mt Everest, they are often allotted a “GUIDE” that will assist them along the trail. The guide is the one that knows the ins and outs of the trail, He has it perfectly mapped out and knows the pitfalls. He surely knows the spots that need to be avoided due to them being unsafe. These climbers have to
place their complete faith and trust in their guide and at no point do the climbers question the guide as they trust that He has sufficient skill, experience and knowledge.
In the same way that the climbers place their full trust in the guide so the Holy Spirit is calling every person to trust in Him as their perfect “GUIDE”. The Holy Spirit knows the way that He is leading and at no point will He mislead us. Our portion is to “follow” even though we cannot see the full map because we trust the one who holds the map. I can tell you that following Jesus is the best decision I have ever made!
The journey often looks opposite to how you envisioned it
This journey has been one of placing my full trust and dependence upon Jesus and allowing Him to lead the way even during the times when it looked opposite to what I expected. Here is a little bit of the back story… At the time that I left my job, I believed that I was being called into full-time ministry. The Holy Spirit had revealed this to me and others confirmed this ministry call so I was super thrilled and ready to step into this new adventure. To be honest, I had the prophetic word but my struggle was
that I did not know how to walk it out and how it was all meant to look. There were many preconceived ideas, floating around in my head, from wrong narratives that I had previously hooked into with regards to ministry. I was under the impression that I would immediately step into a ministry and that my days would be filled with preaching, travelling the globe and going on mission trips.
What I envisioned the journey to look like was very opposite from what it actually looked like. Now don’t get me wrong, this has been a journey jam-packed with adventure but there was (and still is) a large number of my days that are spent doing regular day-to-day activities such as cooking/baking/gardening/blogging and most importantly spending time in the prayer closet worshipping, praying and being taught by the Holy Spirit. What I came to discover was that when our actual view of something does not align with our envisioned view this often leads to some level of disappointment. I struggled with hope deferred along the journey and I had to allow Holy Spirit to autocorrect these wrong mindsets. As I look back, I see how the Holy Spirit meets us at the place that we are at and slowly begins a work to change us into His image. He gently cuts us loose from those things that are hindering and preventing us from producing fruit so that we can be changed into His likeness. I am so thankful for God’s absolute grace and how He longs for us to run into his arms during these times of disappointment and lack of understanding so that He can be our comfort.
Holy Spirit always takes us beyond our comfort zone
Those that know me well can verify that I am not usually one to take significant risks. Throughout my life, I always toed the line and stayed within the confines of the boxes that I was placed in. Colouring within the lines is safe and something that I do best as I have always been so scared of failure and the opinions of other people. Fear of man has been one of my biggest stumbling blocks along this journey… But the Holy Spirit, in His kindness, has a way of getting you to do things that are beyond your comfort zone. One of the biggest risks for me was starting this blog as throughout my school career, creative writing and spelling was not my strength. People, including some teachers, would keep reaffirming the struggle which added to my insecurity in those areas. So you can imagine that when the Holy Spirit said to me that I need to start a blog, as He is calling me to write, my response was very much… Say what God??? That is really not possible and I started rambling off all the reasons why I am incapable of doing it. The Lord, however, has a sense of humour and He knows what He has placed inside of us. I have also come to realise that our struggles are no hindrance to God as He can take our struggles and use them for His glory.
All I can say is, what a journey it has been! The best two words I can use to describe it are, adventurous and exhilarating! It often feels like a wild rollercoaster ride, with all the ups and downs, bends that you did not see coming and wild moments. There is never a dull moment when walking with the Holy Spirit. If you had told me 10 years ago that I would leave the food industry, be living for Jesus, be a blogger, love gardening and be pursuing a journey of living naturally
(this is very much still a work in progress) I would have said – that sounds like absolute craziness. I do love this life and journey the Lord has afforded me to walk out and I am daily learning to take bigger steps into the unknown. Holy Spirit does know us better than we know ourselves and has a way of unlocking God-given destiny in our lives.
Looking back keeps us stuck
I was raised in a family that deems education and a career very high on the achievement scale. After completing high school, I went to study for a degree in food technology and once I completed that I began a job as a New Product Development Technologist. This way of working was so engrained in me as this was the lifestyle that was modelled for me.
When the Holy Spirit called me to leave my job, initially it was exciting and I rode the
high wave but eventually, everything began to settle and I found the ministry way of life a huge struggle. I missed the familiarity of work and there was a great conflict, very much like a tug of war, do I stay the course or go back to work? As soon as anything got difficult my immediate response was, Holy Spirit, can I please go back to work? This happened over and over again, as going back seemed like the easier route.
Work was my security blanket and the very thing that brought me safety and I did not know how to operate outside the confines of this structure. I can truly relate to the story of the Israelites that were freed from Egyptian slavery where they were “working” by the sweat of their brow, with much toiling. The Lord sent Moses to deliver them from the hands of Pharaoh, out of oppression and into a land flowing with milk and honey, yet when things got difficult they grumbled and complained and said that their life of enslavement was better in Egypt.
“They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!””Exodus 14:11-12
God’s heart for His children is always greater levels of freedom. When the Holy Spirit calls us to step out of the old and into something new, He knows exactly where He is leading us. We on the other hand struggle with leaving that which is familiar behind but this can derail our destiny. Looking back instead of embracing the new thing that God is calling us to step into, can keep us stuck and hopeless. I want to encourage you, that if God is calling you to leave the familiar place, step out, and don’t look back. What lies ahead is always greater than what you are leaving behind as Holy Spirit always moves us out, to move us up!
Living in the mystery
Many things about this journey, don’t make complete sense to the natural mind but then again God is not looking for our understanding but our obedience. There are many mysteries in this kingdom journey and God is looking for us to partner with Him to search them out just like you would search for buried treasure.
As we step out in obedience to what the Holy Spirit is calling us to do, we then find ourselves colliding with destiny. It is a real step-by-step journey and remember that obedience is our portion and the outcome is God’s. I encourage you to place your hand into the hand of the Holy Spirit today and allow Him to lead you as He always has the best adventures in store.