Today we welcome Justin to the blog! Let’s step into his season…
Describe the season you currently find yourself in.
Currently I am in a season of starting a new job, freshly moving to a new place and adjusting to a slower paced style of living. Just a little over two months ago I was a successful branch manager of a rental car location. Growing up I never aspired to rent cars, and I think it’s safe to say that it’s not anyone’s dream to rent vehicles, but that’s beside the point. Renting cars was not my passion.
During my career I struggled so much with finding satisfaction and worth in what I was doing. Even though I was not happy, I struggled to trust the Lord with the direction my life was heading. Too often I found myself leaning on and trusting in myself and did not trust the Lord to guide and direct me. For months I prayed to the Lord to just show me why I was there, and every time He would say, “Trust Me.”
I would apply to other jobs that I thought had to be better than my current situation and I would get rejected and the Lord kept saying, “Trust Me.” It’s funny because I remember thinking, I am going to mess up your plan Lord because I am impatient and I can’t take it anymore. Every time He would say, “Trust Me.” During that time I remember thinking there is no way I am ever going to do what I love and follow my passion because I can’t afford to move on from such a good paying job, with great benefits.
Then one day, just an hour before my shift was over I was threatened by a very angry customer with my life. You never really think about your life flashing before your eyes but in that moment, it did. That day I remember leaving work, trying to process everything that happened and thinking to myself, my life is not worth risking to rent a car. That entire night I tossed and turned as I tried to brush off what had happened that day as if it were nothing. The fact remained that it wasn’t just a normal day, it was a day when the Lord was boldly reminding me to trust. Trust Him with my life, trust Him with my future, trust Him that He hears my prayers and the deep inner workings of my heart.
So the next morning I woke up and it was clear that it was the day I was going to unabashedly trust the Lord. So, I did what any reasonable person would do, I quit. I walked away from a financially stable job. I walked away from great benefits. I walked away from an amazing career path. I walked away from what I thought was my identity. And I walked into the open arms of my Father that loves me and cares for me and I trusted Him.
What is God teaching you/revealing to you during this season?
During this season the Lord has taught me a great deal about trust. In trust there has to be humility. The act of humbling yourself before the Lord is truly admitting that His plans are greater than any plans we can ever imagine. Humbling yourself before the Lord is saying that He is greater than I, and I have no purpose outside of making much of Him. James 4:10 says “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” What’s so funny about this verse is that it doesn’t reference time. Timing is something I had to humbly give over to the Lord and say to Him, “I trust You, and I trust Your time.”
After I quit my job I was unemployed for right at about two months. One of the most humbling things is to patiently wait for the Lord to open up doors and opportunities and to trust Him when He shuts doors. I remember praying to the Lord often and asking Him, “Why?”, when He would close doors that I would try to walk through and He would faithfully say, ” Trust Me.”
Those were the moments when I had to remind myself that He has been faithful to provide thus far, so why am I doubting His plan?, and then once again humble myself and trust Him.
How have you/are you changing during this season?
Goodness, I have never felt a deeper relational bond with the Lord than I have in these past few months. This entire season has shaped and changed the way that I view my relationship with the Lord so much. I genuinely see how deep His love is for me and has always been for me each and every step of the way, even in affliction.
I recently read a quote that perfectly sums up how I view the love of the Father, it says, “Devine affection doesn’t mean that you won’t face affliction.” This season of life has altered the way that I view the so called “valleys” in my life. Yes, in those valleys it feels as though you are trapped, but God is and always will be faithful. It wasn’t until I reached the other side of the valley that I was able to reflect on how the Lord used these past few years to prepare me for my future.
Recently, I accepted a position at a local Christian camp. I have always had a heart for camp and camp ministry and I looking back I can say that the Lord heard every one of my prayers. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” What a sweet reminder that the God of the universe cares about what we care about.
What encouragement would you like to share with someone who is in a similar season?
I want to encourage anyone that may be going through a similar season to truly take a step back and examine every area of your life. See which areas you haven’t fully surrendered to the Lord and what areas you are still trying to do it alone. Something that I learned, and am continuing to learn, is sometimes you have to trust even when it doesn’t make sense, even when the Lord is saying, “quit your job and follow Me.”
Another thing that I want to encourage others is to remember that the Lord is so good to minister to us in unique and unconventional ways. Unfortunately, for me it took an extreme situation for the Lord to get my attention and remind me that He is enough and I need is to put my trust in Him. My last encouragement comes from one of my favorite worship songs. It says, “find me here at Your feet again. Everything I am, reaching out I surrender. Come sweep me up in Your love again and my souls will dance on the wings of forever.” What an amazing reminder that when we totally surrender, we are wrapped up in the love of the father and like it says in Matthew 5:5 – “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” So give it over to the Lord because He cares.
A Prayer for Justin
Thank You for Justin. Thank You for the season You have him in. Thank You that You are aware of him and with him in this season, as You teach him how to surrender trust in himself and to trust You. Thank You for letting him share his story, one that resonates deeply on a personal level for me, for I walked a similar road. Thank You that with You our valleys become our mountain tops. Thank You for stripping Justin of his earthly identity, so that he would be reminded that the only identity that matters is who he is in You. Thank You for caring enough about Justin to care more about his holiness than his happiness. Thank You for giving him grace in the waiting, by pulling him closer to You even when he was impatient. Thank You for closed doors, Lord. Thank You for not giving Justin what he wanted, but what he needed. Thank You that Your timing is perfect. Thank You for showing your beautiful timing in Justin’s life. As Justin begins his new position and adjusts to new rhythms of life, continue to draw him closer to You. Help him live what he learned in the season he is walking out of. Heal any parts of him that are still wounded from his afflictions. Show him what trust looks like in this season of his life. Guard him from trying to find his identity in this new position. Help him to remember that You are Purpose so he does not need to go searching for it. Thank You for being the One Thing we can always trust. In Your Trustworthy Name, Amen.