Are you a “what’s next” oriented person?
Boy oh boy, am I!
When I was working as the lead pastor of Woodstock City Church, a campus location of North Point Ministries, I asked a guy named Bob, “What’s next for a person like me here at North Point?” At the time, I’d been in my lead pastor position for a year or two. I’m brand new to this role and was already looking forward to what might be next.
Bob kindly and a bit sarcastically responded, “Well, you’re a lead pastor, so probably nothing!”
I almost quit on the spot. And that’s not a joke.
For so long, I lived in the “what’s next” space that I constantly missed what’s now. It’s hard to stop and smell the roses when you are moving so fast that you barely notice there are roses to smell.
I’ve worked hard to tame this emotion. I’d love to share two observations that may be helpful for you.
1. Be Present in the Present
Being is harder than doing. When we are doing something, we feel we are accomplishing something. Being is not as easy as doing, but it’s often more critical to our heart (and future).
2. You Don’t Need to Know What’s Next to Take the Next Step
I’ve been through several job and career transitions. As a next-step-focused guy, I like to know where I’m going before I leave where I’m at. Yet I’ve learned that’s not always possible. Moreover, it’s not always best.
When I decided to leave my role as lead pastor at Woodstock City Church, I was unsure what was next. I was confident, however, that my season leading this church was ending. That much felt clear. Nothing else did, though. For a while, I worked to define what was next so I could fully engage in the transition. I attempted to lead at the church for a couple of months while exploring other options. But no other options were obvious.
I eventually learned that knowing what was next should keep me from moving on from what was ending. I remember the day I said aloud, for the first time, “My time at Woodstock City Church is ending.”
I didn’t know what was next, but I did know it wasn’t where I was. That statement freed me to begin actively pursuing ideas and options. I needed to let go of what was to find what might be next. I didn’t leave Woodstock City Church that day. Shortly after that, though, I began talking with North Point Ministries’ leadership about my feelings and a timeline for my departure.
You don’t have to know what’s next to let go of what is. In fact, not knowing what’s next may help you end well where you are.
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