Last Year's Tools
As some of you may know, I made the decision at the beginning of this year to leave my job as a handyman/fixer/builder dude to pursue ministry and music full time. A couple months of it have taught me many things. I'm constantly on the lookout for opportunities to minister to others, and also to be ministered to by God in His infinite wisdom. With life being so different every day now, I've been really trying to go after a lot of projects and goals that I never was able to before. It's been awesome, but until a few days ago, one particular task had been avoided since the shift... I hadn't taken all the tools out of my van. Handyman jobs need a stupid amount of tools, so my poor, little Chevy Astro was always weighed down with everything from hand tools, to power saws, to bags of drywall mix, to drills, etc., because you never know what you'll need next. It was to the point where the entire back half of my van was packed to the brim with tools and supplies so much that I had to constantly shift things around in the front half to accommodate music gear, personal belongings, and kids.
It was for various reasons that I didn't clean out the van, and many of them felt fairly valid. "It has been raining a bunch recently in San Diego, and who wants to clean out there car in the rain?" "I only have an hour, and I know that it'll take a least three..." "I still do run into situations where I need tools..." and so on. Plus, I even really liked the feeling of being the hero guy that could fix anything on the fly, no matter where I went. But the sad, honest truth that I came to realize as I finally took the time to clean it all out is that I was terrified. I was afraid to take the plunge of saying "God, I wholeheartedly follow Your will. And even though I have no idea where the next dollar will come from, it's not your plan for me to make it with these tools any longer." In the back of my head, I was holding onto the idea that, "if God fails me, I can always rebound with these tools." It was a remarkably emotional time during the whole cleaning, and I'm pretty sure I came out of it as drained as if I ran a marathon! But at the end of it, there was a sense of freedom in my heart that truly felt like I had given over something that REALLY needed to be given over, like a weight was taken off of me.
The very next morning, I took a long drive to a worship event that I was leading for. This is common practice for me now, because I seem to live pretty far from anything that I regularly lead worship for now, but this event was way farther than normal. But I noticed something different this time... My van handled better! It actually had decent acceleration! Highway cruising speed felt easier and smoother! And best of all, what I thought would have been almost a full tank of gas for the trip left me with over half a tank remaining!!! I had NO idea just how much was being affected by all that weight. I should have figured it out when the cleaning process involved five or six HEAVY trips down to the shed in the back yard. But I didn't really understand how much the gas mileage, suspension, tires, and engine (and whatever else) was being affected.
My big takeaway from this experience is that we constantly need to be reevaluating where we are in our walk with God. My lack of faith in the calling God is moving me into now was not only wearing out my van, but it was also putting a hinderance on my ability to get to new places He has for me. My old tools were wearing out my current tools, and preventing room for new blessings and tools that He might have for me in the future. My old life and my old calling were making it harder to function and breathe in my new life and calling. My fear of the unknown future prevented my clearing out of unnecessary weight from my past.
Walking in fellowship with our Heavenly Father moves us from glory to glory... and we need to all ask ourselves "What baggage am I holding onto from my previous life that's preventing me from getting to that next glory?" and we need to do whatever it takes to let go of it. Although it was for me this time, it is often times not something as big as completely reworking our entire life. Maybe we are stuck in an old way of thinking. Maybe we can't let go of a hurt. Maybe we find too much of our identity in that old life, that old job, that old ministry or church, or those old habits. Whatever it may be that God is calling you to right now, He is the master planner and provider for that vision. He will never be surprised by your future needs, and He always has the unlimited resources to meet those needs. God would never call us out of our comfort zone to something new if He was planning on leaving us there alone. Start unpacking!!