By Drew Crandall
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 (KJV)
I live in Connecticut, the so-called “Land of Steady Habits.” I tend to fit this pattern myself. I have a tendency and a preference to be planted, allow my root structure to grow organically, and in due season reap a harvest.
- I’ve been married for over 33 years–about 400 months.
- I’ve lived in the same house for over 32 years–about 384 months.
- I’ve operated a business for over 31 years–about 376 months.
- I’ve organized Jacob’s Well Christian Coffeehouse for nearly 25 years–about 290 months.
- I’ve led Northeast Christians At Work for nearly 20 years–about 238 months.
Land of Steady Habits, indeed!
By contrast, during my childhood, my dad was transferred multiple times, from town to town and state to state. I continued this pattern as a single adult building my career. Then, I married, settled down, and learned that there are abundant benefits to being and staying planted.
However, I also understand that there are times when change is inevitable, change is preferable, change is God-inspired, change is healthy, and change is necessary to obey God’s Will and Calling in your life. There are times when, in one way or another, we must be willing to “pluck up that which is planted.”
APPLICATION: Are you currently wrestling with some aspect of change in your life? A change in job position within your organization? A change of employers? A change of careers? A change in geography? A change in your personal, family or ministry life?
How do you know when it’s time to pluck up that which is planted and move to something else?
I don’t know about you, but to me, that is a difficult and complicated question. Here are some suggestions based on my experience and observations through the decades:
Do not be impulsive. Your emotions and thoughts can cause you to make a hasty decision. Unless you are in imminent danger, give things time to sort out.
- Diligently seek to hear from the Lord, for divine discernment.
- Stay in the Word. His Word is a lamp unto your feet and light unto your path.
- Listen to the Holy Spirit. He is your ultimate guide.
- Count the cost. God gave you a brain, and He wants you to use it.
- Don’t leave just because things get hard and awkward. Sometimes we grow the most in the midst of a storm. We need to persevere and not run away to “escape.”
- Seek wise counsel. If you are married, unpack everything with your spouse. If two flesh have become one, the Lord will not lead husband and wife in two different directions. Listen intently to your spouse, and do not make a decision without harmony and agreement about the change and the timing.
- Be sensitive to the impact on your family. Sometimes opportunities look good, but the consequences on your children are not worth it.
- Look for the “buoys in the water. “Don’t make a change just because you see one buoy. Wait upon the Lord for affirmation, for a pattern. If God wants you to make a change, there will often be one “defining moment” when you know in your soul that it’s time to pluck up that which was planted and make a God-directed change.
- Give your pain to the Lord. Plucking up hurts. Change brings a mixture of fear, worry, anxiety, uncertainty. If you need to cry and grieve, He knows. Tears today can lead to joy tomorrow.
Drew Crandall has strong New Jersey roots. He spent five formative years of his childhood in Somerset. Since 2001, he has served as Co-Chair of Called To Work, a workplace ministry originally based at Rutgers Community Christian Church in Somerset. Called To Work has since grown into a nationwide ministry. Please see www.CalledToWork.org for details.