Timing is everything, they say. Who the ‘they’ is, I don’t even know – but I think they’re right.
I was reminiscing the other night about how I first heard about the-church-yet-to-be-named-Mosaic. It was my last Sunday night in Houston, and my church there prayed for me as I was heading to Austin to start full-time campus ministry. And afterwards, Brian (soon-to-be-pastor-of-Mosaic) stopped me to get my info. We talked about how his family and Don’s family weren’t moving to Austin ’til December, so we’d talk after that. We three met up for coffee in January, and perhaps the rest is history… Maybe I would have found out about the church through another way, but who knows when that might have been?
In 2003, I had planned to co-direct a lingua-cultural project to western China, but because of the timing of SARS, our whole team got re-routed to the Global Urban Trek – Manila. That was an amazing summer of learning and growing for me as well as for the team – and it didn’t happen the way I planned.
I had planned to co-direct the Manila Trek in 2004, but because of my sister’s cancer, got re-routed to Richmond for a different kind of mission trip. It was a really hard and important summer for our family, and I wouldn’t trade that time if I could.
I didn’t plan to be a part of a church plant… nor did I intend to go to the Philippines in 2003. And no one certainly plans for a close relative to have cancer! But life doesn’t always go by our plans, timelines, and flowcharts. Sure, we have ideas and hopes – but we respond to what is in our path the best way we know how. Sometimes later, we see the good in the situation. Sometimes we don’t.
Sometimes the unexpected is an amazing gift. My good friend Carrie is driving out with me next week (gulp, next week!). A year ago, I had just started thinking about moving to California, and had interacted with Carrie maybe 3 times. In the course of a year, I’ve seen lots of ways our friendship has been a wonderful, unexpected gift in the midst of decision-making and transition.
And sometimes timing forces us to make decisions. One of my top motivations for moving to California is proximity to the Fuller Northern California campus – because it’s time to buckle down and finally finish this degree. I’ve only got a couple more years left in the 10-year window they give for a master’s degree, so it’s got to be done now.
And finally, timing sometimes means that we say ‘no’ to something great so that we can say the bigger ‘yes.’ I’ve been invited to participate in the Third Lausanne Congress in Cape Town – an amazing almost once-in-a-lifetime event. But I’m also moving cross-country and trying to adjust well to a new job, new community, and new timezone (ok, maybe that’s not the hardest thing). Some wise friends say that when making decisions – make them in light of the most important or far-reaching thing (as far as you can tell). So in this case – it would be that I want to setup my transition the best way I know how. And a 2 week trip to South Africa as I take over a new team and start new seminary classes probably isn’t the way to do it. Yes, being a part of this unique congress and learning from Christian leaders from all parts of the globe would be an amazing opportunity. But I also only get one shot at transition to California.
So that’s what I’m thinking about these days. And maybe more pressingly, the timing of this move. The truck loads on Thursday morning, and right now they’re not planning to deliver my stuff until 2 weeks after that. I hope that timing improves, but if it doesn’t, that I have joy in transition anyways. 🙂
now playing: Help Help – Mates of State