Above The Noise

Sometimes an opportunity seemingly drops in your lap for the next big thing.  When you find the TV sale, car, house or job of a life-time, it can be incredibly exciting.  You might even find yourself thinking, “I must be living right” and you very well may be.  Sometimes big opportunities are unexpected blessings and at other times they are expected rewards.  You may have been saving Christmas money for years to be able to afford that new TV, or driving the wheels off of your current car.  You might have the opportunity for promotion because of the endless hours of hard work and dedication you have given to XYZ Company.  But, should you buy it, or should you take that opportunity to do more and to earn more?  When it feels right, is the answer always, “YES”?

Very early in my engineering career, I remember reading Psalm 1:1 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly…”[NKJV] I was in my office and jumped up to go and share it’s wisdom with a co-worker.  She was wrestling with a desire to step away from her job to be home with her two quickly growing boys.  She was incredibly talented in her role and was consistently given opportunities to advance her career. The words were screaming from the pages and I wanted to encourage her to listen to those who could give her solid godly advice; not just sound corporate advice.  Neither direction was inherently wrong, but the decisions she made would set some distinctively different paths.  To keep it short, it has been fun to hear from her over the years.  I hear how her boys are growing and how she is so thankful to be available as a mom to lead them at critical times.  The family had to make some different financial decisions but in the rear view mirror she was convinced that her choice to invest at home was the right one.

Fast forward several years…On the tail end of a very successful project I was leading, the “next big thing” discussions began with my boss and my boss’s boss.  There were several production leader jobs coming open and as a young engineer I was on the verge of an early opportunity to excel.  With visions of sugar-plums dancing in my head, I began to enjoy the possibility of being rewarded well for my hard work.  I began to dream about the perks that came with such a position, and began to feed the desire to have the new role.  In the same season, God was pressing me about investing more heavily in ministry to others.   I was unclear what ministry would look like vocationally or the timing of such a transition. Neither direction seemed inherently wrong, but I was certain decisions made would set some distinctively different paths. 

I began seeking advice from my company mentors as well as input from trusted Christians.  As Nancy and I were completely open to God’s will and whatever was next, Psalm 1 came full circle.   I remember burying my forehead in my hands as I read, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly…” because the words were screaming directly at me.  I was attempting to pursue the dreams of this life as if they were some how independent from the call of the eternal. I was reminded that I MUST allow the voices that represented God’s counsel to speak the loudest in my life.  To keep it short, I will never forget a manager asking, “Here is the acid test.  Are you ready to give up your career?”  And how my heart raced as I responded, “I think I am willing to take that risk.”  The decision to step off of a fast paced career path was frightening and even disillusioning at times, but I could not have scripted a more exciting path to today.

I am not saying that you should necessarily pass on every big promotion, or suggesting that the only option is to drive your car past it’s expiration date. Ungodly counsel is loud, constant, and convincing.  It will find you…on every screen and speaker you encounter.  Unless you “delight in the Lord’s instruction” [Psalm 1:2 HCSB] and seek Godly counsel, the one voice you need to hear may be drowned out by the noise of this world.

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