Visual Story Network

Here are a few thoughts (can you say "free advice?") from my major transition season seven years ago as the Lord led me to co-found the Visual Story Network. The following were the most helpful practices I observed when God was calling me into a new role without knowing what the heck it was.

1. Seek God. He is always speaking but that does not mean that we are always listening. Maintaining a head-bowed, hands-raised attitude is not always easy. Create the space that allows you to encounter the living God.

2. Slow down. It was in slowing down that I was best able to hear from God. I’ve got a driven personality, but the Lord made it clear I was to operate in third/fourth-gear rather than my normal fifth-gear mode. I intended to take a three-month sabbatical, but that just did not work out for me. I was, however, able to take two mornings a week to retreat to the local library where I was free to explore how God wanted to use me next.

3. Read. Here are the titles that were particularly helpful for me.  

   "Now Discover Your Strengths" (the online test that comes with the book was one of the most helpful of all the testing/profiling I've done over the years). As much as possible, you want to operate in the realm of your gifts. Mine: Includer. Achieve. Responsibility. Arranger. Woo.

   "Living the Life You Were Meant to Live" is a life-coaching book by Tom Patterson. The exercises at the end of the chapter were very helpful in revealing the themes and seasons of my life. It was through this book that I realized God had been working in my life in seasons of seven years.

4. Write. I did tons of journaling in the local library. I had a folder with a lot of blank stationery. I probably filled 100 pages over the course of six months. As I would go back and reread, certain themes surfaced that helped me understand the desires and passions the Lord was giving me. These questions from Bobb Beihl are a great starting point.

5. List. Every time someone suggested an idea or I had an idea of a new role, I wrote it in a Word document. Before too long, I had 30 possibilities on my list. I would periodically re-prioritize each option. The top 10 were "most likely."  The middle 10 were "maybes."  The bottom 10 were "least likely." In the end, it was something from the bottom 10 that moved to the number one spot (starting a new ministry). 

6. Test. I had a circle of friends/counselors who I could process with on a regular basis. Your spouse should be at the top of this list. 

7. Time. I was fortunate to have six months to make a decision (thank you Jim Green). I saw the handwriting on the wall and began to lean into my next life before I left my prior role. Adequate time allowed God's perfect position to percolate up to the number one slot.

8. Go where the greatest faith is required. And each of my transitions, God has led me to take the biggest step of faith among the options I was considering. I have never regretted it. Great faith always precedes great blessing.


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So helpful

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