Change is the only constant. Whether you are talking about your personal life or your professional life, the one thing you can count on is change. I was reminded of this timeless truth as I prepare to move from one large church to two small churches and move from my home to a different one.
The good news is that God does not change – we can always depend upon God to lead us through challenging and adventurous times.
Leaning on God is an acquired skill for many people. It is a skill worth investing in with your time and attention. Now that the Church is in the season of Lent, we have an opportunity to renew our commitment and trust in God through spiritual practices. As we go deeper with God, we better learn to trust. When we fully trust God, we lean without fear.
Spending time in devotional reading of Scripture is critical to discovering who God is.
All too often, we read long sections of the Bible looking for facts – the “who, what, where, when, and why” of the story.
In devotional reading:
- We take just a small portion and sit with it.
- We read the same words over and over and pay attention to those words that just seem to leap off the page for us.
- Then we sit with those words – listening for God’s voice to speak through the words.
In this way we are not learning about God – we are getting to know God and getting to know who we are in God. This is the first step in trusting the Lord.
Reading for facts for a Bible study is necessary – but encountering God in the pages of Scripture is critical.
Prayer is another essential act in developing trust.
We are usually very good at intercessory prayer – asking God to act in others’ lives. We like to give in this way. Too often this is the only way that we pray.
Spending time in prayer for your own needs is not selfish.
Spending quiet time with the Lord – prayer without an agenda or even words – is not self-indulgent. Carving out just five minutes to become aware of the Divine presence will remind you that God is always there for you. So take some holy time for yourself and God – the encounter will increases your trust.
Fellowship – spending time with other Christians – gives God flesh.
Through the loving care and support of others, we experience the Lord’s presence. Of course, they cannot be caring and supportive unless we are honest about what is happening in our lives.
- Look around for others that are spiritually mature.
- Make the first step to invite one or two (or more) into your life.
- Know that others are lifting you before the Lord – this is encouraging.
Again, we are used to giving to others – but allowing others to give to you is an important spiritual practice. Not only is it humbling to be the recipient of a casserole or card in a time of challenge and adventure, it is a reminder of God’s ongoing care in every time of life. This, too, increases our trust.
In this time of change, I do not know what lay before – but I know that God goes before me. I will transition into a new location, a new church family, and a new ministry by leaning into God – trusting “… all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Acquire the skill to lean into God and no change can overwhelm you!
About Carol Pazdersky
Carol Pazdersky is an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church. She serves Bel Air UMC in Bel Air, MD, as the Pastor for Congregational Care and Missions/Outreach and on the Boards of Faith Communities and Civic Agencies United and Be the Change Baltimore addressing issues of homelessness. On a daily basis, Carol ministers with women who are seeking to balance their personal, professional, and spiritual lives. She is a wife, mother of three young adults, daughter of aging parents, friend, and animal lover and on the same journey to find balance. Her sermons are archived on the following sites: www.MtCarmelChapel.org and www.BAUMC.com.
I’m Carol Pazdersky, a pastor at Bel Air United Methodist Church in Bel Air, MD (Jory’s church). Spiritual formation is my passion! I have seen so many women facing burn-out because of the heavy load they carry—being a supportive partner, involved parent, care-giving daughter, strong business leader, and dedicated friend. With all that is happening, the spiritual life can take a back-seat—and without the firm foundation of Jesus, we may feel like a dry well. What are your greatest spiritual needs? How can I offer support and encouragement for your journey? On the other hand, some women have figured out the balance between faith, family, friendship, and business. I would love to have you share your wisdom as well. Email me at pazderskyc@ baumc.com with your victories, challenges, questions, and thoughts, and I will respond to them in the coming months. I’m looking forward to sharing this journey with you.