Why I’m Leaving Canada, Part 2
July 14, 2019
What’s that, you say? You say it’s bad form to publish the first of a two-part blog post and then go silent for three months?
Yep. You’re probably right. Sorry about that. Turns out life gets busy when you’re trying to move to a different country.
Anyways, I promise to dig into more of the meat of the reasons I’m leaving Canada in this blog post. I suppose if you just read my last post, you’d probably think leaving would be the last thing I would want to do.
So. Why am I paying a bunch of money to leave my hometown, my house, my friends and family, my job, and my church for 10 months?
There’s a few reasons, but I think to give context to the rest of this blog post, I should start off by directly stating the context by which all of the other reasons start to make sense:
I believe in this Jesus stuff. I actually believe there’s a real, honest-to-goodness God that created all of humanity. I believe in a real heaven and a real hell. And I believe that God puts people on earth for a reason. I think the only reason I’m still sucking air is that God hasn’t run out of use for me down here; otherwise He might as well just take me now.
I also believe that one’s life is most fulfilling when it is lived most aligned to God’s plan.
None of any of this makes sense without that. I would be rather insane to do what I’m doing without that belief.
Anyways, with that out of the way, let’s get into some specifics:
I’m leaving Canada to get equipped.
I don’t know what my life looks like after I’m done at Bethel. I’ve described it a few times now as an all-consuming black hole of mystery; you can throw whatever ideas you want at it, but you’re still no closer to actually knowing anything. Maybe I move to a different country and start working at a church full time. Or maybe I move right back to my hometown, resume work at my current job as a software developer, and continue helping around at my church in a similar capacity to what I do now.
But regardless of what my 9-5 job is, I believe that life after Bethel involves “more” in the realm of “Kingdom-building,” to use a Christian-eze expression which I would condense down to meaning simply more of Jesus and what He does in the lives of the people around me, from handing out purpose and meaning to leading people into healing and freedom; life to the full, you might say.
As involved as I may be right now in “building the Kingdom” through my local church, I believe God has way more for me to do; more discipling, more pouring into people, more seeing people healed and set free, more city-level transformation, more of simply seeing human beings encounter the eternity-altering love of Jesus. I don’t believe there’s a better use of one’s life than using it to help lead people who are far from God even just a few steps closer.
But all of that “more” also requires “more” from me.
More capacity to love and lead people. More of an attentive ear to what Jesus is saying in every moment of every day. More obedience, especially when it’s hard or uncomfortable. More skill in the gifts and talents God has already given me that I know I need to hone more. More understanding in theology and doctrine and more grounding in my Faith. More confidence in who God has created me to be, and more understanding of who that even is.
Like one would go to college before starting a career, I want to get trained and taught so I am ready (or at least, as ready as one can be) for whatever God has for me next. I want to have my tool belt well-stocked. I want to be prepared for anything.
That’s reason number one. Reason number two is this:
I’m moving to California for clarity.
Like I said, I don’t know what my life looks like after Bethel, or two years after that, or five years after that. And I’m not saying that I’ll absolutely come back from Redding with a crystal-clear game plan for the rest of my life, but I do think it’s sometimes very hard to hear God’s voice for the bigger picture type stuff when you’re down in the daily grind.
So one of my hopes for this adventure is that it gives space for Jesus to talk in ways that I may not be letting him in my current, comfortable environment. For Him to bring some measure of clarity into my future.
Psalm 119:105 was one of the first Bible verses I memorized as a kid growing up:
Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path
I like this verse because it assumes the reader realizes that the path is dark. No apologies for that; it’s just the nature of the path we walk. But God’s word illuminates it, and helps us understand where the next step is. That’s what I hope I’ll gain from my time at Bethel.
And I think sometimes you only get just enough light for one step at a time. I believe going to Bethel’s school is my next step, and I’m grateful for that measure of light. That’s the only step I can see right now, but I believe that as I take it, the light will shift a little farther down the path, and I’ll be able to see what comes next at the right time.
And who knows? I’m certainly not banking on it, but maybe my time at Bethel will allow God the space He needs to cast a full-on floodlight on His large-scale vision for the rest of my life.
I’m not sure what I’m going to be paid for during the next 30 years, but I know what I want to be known for, and it’s not developing software.
Ok, so that’s reason number two: space to hear God’s voice for what comes next. Let’s move on to number three:
I am going to Bethel’s school for discomfort. That might seem a bit strange so let me explain:
I own a house in Cornwall. I work at a job that is amazing (or at least I do for the next three days). I attend a church that I love, and serve in capacities that give me true joy alongside people that I genuinely love and respect.
And as great as all this is, I realize that if I’m not careful, I could settle in and do the exact same things for the next twenty years, and I believe that would come up short of what God has planned for me.
So I want to stay unsettled, and I think a very practical (if not drastic) way to do that is by completely blowing up my environment, so to speak, and seeing where the pieces fall.
Maybe it’ll lead to discovering brand new endeavours that end up becoming core components of who I am in the years ahead. Maybe it will make me even more confident in the things I was already involved in as they end up falling right back into my lap without me putting any effort into it. Maybe it will reveal limitations I was unwittingly living under because of the people and environment that surround me. Maybe it will lead to discovering that some responsibilities I thought I loved don’t give me as much life as I had believed when the expectation to fulfill them is removed.
I certainly don’t know what it looks like, but maybe it will be not playing drums on the worship team (though, full disclosure, I am absolutely auditioning for that). Maybe it’s trying something I’ve always been interested in but never had the time, space, or opportunity to pursue fully. Maybe it looks like discovering a love for something I’ve never imagined myself doing because someone who sees me in a way no one else has before encourages me towards it.
Sure, none of that will be particularly comfortable at the time, but I whole-heartedly believe the benefits of discovering more completely who God made me to be far outweigh any costs of temporary discomfort. The risk of staying comfortable is, for me, far too great.
Well. I guess that kinda sums it up.
I am leaving Canada to invest in my ability to build the Kingdom. I am leaving Canada as a next step, not exactly knowing what comes after it but trusting it will become clear at the right time. And I am leaving Canada as part of my continual efforts to avoid becoming settled.
And yes, in case you were wondering, I am outrageously excited for this upcoming Jesus adventure of epic proportions. 😊
I am excited to meet new friends who will sharpen me in new ways. I’m excited to interact with new leaders who, I hope, will challenge and push me in fresh and unexpected directions. I’m excited for the fresh slate that a new schedule and a new routine bring. I’m excited about learning more of the logic and rationale behind the Faith that I was born into; I certainly don’t want to ever be at risk of being a mindless Christian.
And, let’s be real, I’m super excited to pack up my Mini Cooper until it’s bursting at the seams and road trip across the continent.
I suppose the simple appeal of a new adventure is one more reason why I'm leaving Canada.