For over three months now, I have been on what I lovingly term “fun-ployment”. Simply put, fun-ployment is doing the work of a full time job for the love of it without being remunerated for it. And I have loved (almost) every minute of it.
I don’t recommend it for everyone, but I’m a firm believer that if God says “Go!” then you go, despite the uncertainty of where He is leading. This is how I ended up in fun-ployment. God said go, and so I went.
That makes it sound much more simple than it is. The decision to follow God was not taken lightly, nor was it a spur of the moment one. It was a journey, a long journey with many pit stops and check points along the way. But that is a story for another day.
This season of fun-ployment has lasted longer than I originally anticipated and I found within myself, for the first time, this strange sense of peaceful nothingness. When I was employed it’s like the days and weeks ahead were already planned out. I’d come into work at the same time, every day, do what needed to be done, go home and repeat. That would be the process for as long as I could see, regardless of where I was employed. It’s not that this was a bad thing, it’s just how it was, or is.
When I arrived at the beginning of this year I saw before me a huge blank canvas. I knew that my decision to leave my old job was the right thing, but 2017 stretched out before me full of potential and a whole lot of uncertainty. I didn’t know exactly why God had brought me to this point and equally didn’t know where I was heading to from here. Did God want me to focus solely on Thread Harvest? Did He want me to get a full time job? Was He really going to provide for me?
So many questions swirled and circled around my mind as I stood on what felt like water, suspended on something that was not stable, only made stable by the One who had called me out onto it.
What started to become clear was that a pace was being set. God was moving and providing answers, but He was setting a pace and was not going to be rushed. It was up to me to decide if I was going to match His pace.
We see this in sport. Pacemakers are those who usually sit at the front of the pack and set the pace for how fast the group of competitors go. From horses to cars to the weird sport of walking, usually the person at the front is setting the pace. The other competitors fall inline behind until the opportune moment where they can overtake and become the pacemaker themselves. Some times they do this with great success, other times the pacemaker catches on and ends up pushing them back inline by upping the pace.
The whole pack is moving towards an end goal, the finish line, the ultimate prize. Each competitor who makes up the pack has that finish line firmly in sight, and whilst they know they will reach it, they realise that if they go too hard too soon, they run the risk of burning out. But they also know that if they don’t maintain pace, they’ll fall behind and ultimately end up coming last. So rather than looking too far ahead, they set their sight on the pacemaker. If they can maintain their pace, there’s a chance they’ll have an opportunity to overtake when they are close enough to the finish line and win. Maintaining pace requires them to be future minded, but present-focussed. They have to remain engaged with what’s happening in the here and now if they have any hope of making it to the end point.
Whilst I have no intention of overtaking God, I am learning how to view, plan, hope, dream for what’s ahead but maintain pace in the here and now. There is any number of directions I could have taken coming into 2017 with a blank slate, but the one I chose to take was to remain with the Pacemaker.
I’m sure you will agree that we spend most of our time striving for what’s ahead, be it the weekend, that event, the holiday, when that bonus arrives, once I get that promotion, when I buy the investment property and the list goes on. We’re constantly in a state of “yet to be” where our sentences seem to always be starting with “once that happens…” or “when this comes along…”. When we view the world this way, we loose the beauty of being here and now. And there is so much beauty to be found when you let the Pacemaker set the pace. Slowly, subtly, you begin to see today for what today is.
The finish line hasn’t vanished, it hasn’t moved, it’s not redundant, it’s just not your focus for today.
Matthew 6:34 commands us to not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. The Message translation puts it this way:
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
How many of us can really say we understand what that feels like- to “give your entire attention to what God is doing right now”? I thought I did, but everyday I am realising I hadn’t even got close to understanding what it means to be fully present in today. I still don’t have it right, but I have seen the value in letting God set the pace.
We are never stagnant when He is our pacemaker.
Now would be the point where I anticipate you’re expecting 3 steps on how to do this, or my top 7 tips on being able to be future-minded whilst being present-focussed. But it really comes down to one thing and one thing only – the depth to which you pursue Christ will directly influence the pace you adopt with the Pacemaker.
It’s desire. It’s not about checking off a list or implementing good insight. It is pure desire. Nothing else. And where does desire come from? The heart. To Hebrew writers the heart has “three special functions, knowing, feeling, and willing” (ref.)The heart was more than just the place that houses our emotions. It is the place in which we contain knowledge and where our will springs up from. So the desire to follow the Pacemaker stems from three things: how well do you knowHim? How deeply do you love Him? And how willing are you to follow Him, wherever He may go?