Are You Settling or Strategically Planted?
Ever felt like you were settling? Maybe in the area of your career, relationships, or purpose. If so, I promise you’re not alone. Very often, I hear young adults, like myself, express feelings of uncertainty regarding God’s direction and positioning for their lives. Whether it’s:
- “I’ve out grown my current role or company, I believe God is leading me to find a new job!”
- “He (She) is a good guy (girl), but is he (she) the one God has for me?” or
- “Nothing is taking off for me in this city, I am considering relocating!”
I have asked myself some, if not all of these questions, in different seasons of my life. So how do we really know whether we are settling or if we are right where God wants us to be? Over the years, I have realized from personal experience and conversations with others that there isn’t a one size fits all answer to these questions; but there are ways to discern God’s direction and His proper positioning for our lives. However, before we discuss these indicators, its important to discuss the root cause of our longing.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (AMP) tells us,
“ He [God] has made everything beautiful and appropriate in its time. He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God]--yet man cannot find out (comprehend, grasp) what God has done (His overall plan) from the beginning to the end.”
This verse provides us with an idea as to why we have a desire for more. God has placed eternity into our hearts, which is connected to our divine purpose. God created us with eternity in mind; that we’d live forever with Him in eternity. Whether we know it or not, our hearts are literally yearning for eternity. Nothing in this world can and will ever satisfy this longing, but God. I truly believe, the “more” we sometimes crave is more of God. That is, more of God’s presence, His will, His plan, His alignment. For those of us that already have a relationship with God, there is still so much more of Him we have yet to discover. Therefore, we too continuously desire more. So where does this leave us? I am so happy you asked…
Since nothing can satisfy the desire in our hearts for eternity, we sometimes feel like we are settling. This results because our desire for more is often misplaced. Instead of being directed towards God, it is directed towards things that doesn’t even come close to meeting our heart's true desire. We may feel satisfied for a moment, but then we find ourselves desiring "more", "different", or "better", once again. So are we ever in fact settling?
Yes, and we know we’re settling when we accept less than God’s best. To settle is to accept or agree to (something that one considers to be less than satisfactory). We know that we are settling when where we are doesn’t align with our purpose, but remember our purpose is eternity. We must ask ourselves, in the context of eternity with God, where does this desire to leave my job stand? Is my current situation sowing seeds that will matter when I spend eternity with God?
To know these things, we must get to know God. We must learn to discern God’s voice. This also happens by getting to know Him. In practical ways, we must ask whether our current situation of settling is associated with fear? Fear is the opposite of faith and if we are staying in situation out of fear, fear of being alone, fear of not having enough money, etc., we are settling for less than God's best. God wants us to walk by faith. We must ask ourselves whether our current situation is producing growth that aligns with eternity, i.e. character growth, faith growth, etc? If it is, we may actually be strategically planted where we are for a far greater purpose, a purpose that connects with eternity.
To be Strategically Planted:
Sometimes what seems like settling might be God strategically positioning us for His purposes. I believe this short testimony may help you understand what I mean…
About a year and half ago, the company I worked for went through some changes and I was offered a role that was different than what I was originally hired to do. It was a ‘take this role or unfortunately, we will have to let you go” type of situation. Being a person who is willing to give things a try, I accepted the role. The work was purposeful and sometimes enjoyable, but it was also both emotionally and physically draining. On top of that, my living expenses began to exceed my pay, so I was often left struggling to make ends meet.
I began to think I was settling; therefore, I did everything I could to get out of the position. I invested countless hours and energy applying for other jobs. I networked like crazy to find better opportunities. I even tried coming up with creative business ideas to create other streams of income. However, all of my efforts fell flat. I contemplated quitting on a daily basis, but never fully had peace about that decision. After a while I started feeling really depressed because I believed the situation would never change. However, things began to change when I started focusing less on how to get out of the position and more on how I could make the most of where God had me.
A new position eventually opened up and to make long story shorter, I received a promotion. I believe God intended for me to receive that promotion when He first planted me there, but first I had to surrender, and allow God to do what He wanted to do. God wanted me to care more about the impact I could make for eternity by being a light in the lives of hurting people. I was strategically planted for God's work!
Moral of the story, just because you desire more doesn’t mean its the time to move! Staying planted can lead to the fruit and harvest you’ve actually been praying for. Maybe you’re not moving in the direction you thought you would be, at the pace you thought you’d be getting there. Don’t run faster, walk closer, closer to God. Many are running, but have no idea where they are headed. Sometimes the blessing is not in the uprooting, but in the staying planted. While the conditions may not be favorable, it could be producing growth in you and positively influencing those around you. These are the things that will matter in eternity!