My husband and I encounter many youth workers as we travel and attend conferences. My heart goes out to them as I listen to their stories and often hear our own story echoed back to us in their words.
We share a deep love for the students God has given us, a constant desire to do more in the world, and the consistent pain of having to leave a place we love. Some ministers stay put for many years, but that has not been our story.
As the spouse of a youth minister, I’d say we should probably go back to living in tents. I know all the stats on youth workers and their lack of job security, and I have been the willing participant in all this moving around. It’s something that we share with really amazing youth workers and all around great people we run into at conferences, at work, at seminary, and through friendships. A friend just confided that he has changed job titles or location about every 4 years. He is a lifer as a youth worker. Doesn’t want to be the adult pastor.
So we live like nomads. Always ready to pull up stakes, no matter how difficult this feels. Thank the Lord he put examples of this kind of life all through the Bible. We may not be living the American dream, but at least we are living Biblically! =) That’s some comfort. Abraham did not settle in Egypt, but lived in the desert along the trade routes. Egypt sure looked good though. All that food and wealth. Yum.
So there is nothing wrong with putting down stakes and staying put. I yearn for it. However, I do believe that as a follower of Christ there is a mentality attached to the nomadic existence that is valuable to us all. How many of us in our passion for Christ have claimed we will go where ever God tells us and do whatever he says? Fess up, ‘cause we all have. But unless we maintain this mentality, we lose heart and lose hearing. We spoke out of turn, when we really had nothing to give up, but now we have a ship load of stuff to lose.
Our latest move has been one of the toughest for me. I am not Lot’s wife, aching for what was, but I am certainly feeling it more than I used to. It’s not making it any easier that we are walking into an extremely uncomfortable season of life. There have been some BIG sacrifices. And yet, God is faithful in so many ways. It’s like he has a carrot on a stick, dangling it out in front as we walk this unknown path. We’ve witnessed miracles. Interesting how miracles tend to happen outside of my comfort zone, because miracles are thrilling and uncomfortable all at once. They reveal to us the vast power of our God in comparison with the myth of my own puny power.
I recommend Mark Batterson’s book, “The Circle Maker” which you can order here. It has been helpful in praying through this season of life and letting our faith grow as our perspective of God grows through prayer. Super encouraging as we strain to hear the voice of God in our own lives and dare to dream again.