On the morning of November, 3rd, 2000 I was a Senior in High School who was wandering into the next season of his life. By that evening, everything had changed. I knew what I was going to do with my life and no one could change my mind. Or, so I thought. Here’s my story.
For most of my teenage years, I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I grew up in a simple home with parents who loved and supported me in ways I am still discovering. We were never a family with a lot of means. Just your typical Midwest, blue-collar family who found a way to make life comfortable.
I’ll just become a doctor
As I grew up, there was never a bar set for me to achieve great things. My parents were never really concerned with performance, which is something I am grateful for now. Even still, I decided to create a pretty high bar for myself.
“I guess I’ll just become a doctor,” I told myself the Spring of my Junior year. Just to call this out — no one says dumb things like that. Or at least they shouldn’t.
My logic was simple. Our family didn’t have a doctor, and they make good money. Why not?
Chemistry. That’s why not.
Another reason why no one should say “I guess I’ll just become a doctor.” I’m sure God had a good laugh at that little episode. Even still, it was the only call I saw worth pursuing. So, I kept going.
One Devastating Night
I played football in High School. My senior year we had enough chops to make the playoffs and were slated to do well. The week before Friday, November 3rd, we hosted the first home playoff game in school history. The entire town was electric. We were picked to win — and after the first half, it looked like it was going to play out exactly how everyone planned until we lost.
We lost. I remember what that moment felt like in the locker room as I walked in for the last time in my career. You could have filled a river with the tears we cried that night. We left everything out on the field and came up with a loss. And that is what it felt like to me — everything now lost.
I walked out of the locker room, embraced my parents and through the sobbing, I said “It’s over. It’s all over. What am I going to do now?”
“God has a plan.” my mom whispered back. “He’s got this.”
God was about to move Heaven and earth, just for me.
Heaven & Earth Moves
It’s now Friday, November 3rd. Instead of a school bus onto the second round of the playoffs I am sitting in a church van headed to a retreat with three thousand other teenagers from all over the state.
It’s funny what God will do to get our attention. I don’t remember the songs we sang on that weekend or even a word the speaker said. I only remember what God said to me that night as I prayed and asked God for direction in my life. It was time for me to take the hands off the wheel.
“I want you to go be a pastor, Ben. Follow this passion I have placed inside of you.”
And in the flicker of that moment, everything changed. A weight lifted off my chest and peace flooded my heart. No more figuring out what I was supposed to do with the rest of my life. No more wandering or pursuing a career in medicine. No more doubts or concerns. I now knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and I loved where God was leading me.
Surrender doesn’t look like we think
I’m not sure what took me so long to give God my undivided attention about my future. I had spent the previous two years off trying to figure out the rest of my life while God was trying to get my attention and let me know he had it covered the entire time.
Surrender never happens as quickly as we would like.
God spoke and I listened. He called and I answered. For the last 15 years, I have lived to fulfill this call in my life. Through this time, I have experienced incredible things in some amazing places.
When the Heart Turns
But things never stay the same. They are always changing. That’s something else I am learning. After 15 fruitful years in ministry, two years ago my heart began to turn. You can read more about that turn, here.
I decided to begin writing, and through the pursuit of that passion, I have decided to start my own business.
And because everyone has fear when they start their own business, this is mine:
I’m afraid I am abandoning God’s Call on my life.
It’s true. There is a large piece of me who feels I am leaving November 3rd, 2000 on the table and ignoring it. This fear has been the number one thought rolling around my head for the last couple of months.
As I have let this thought stew in my heart and mind and had more conversations with friends and mentors, I have come to a conclusion that has put my anxious calling abandon heart at ease and given me purpose moving forward in my business.
November 3rd, 2000 wasn’t a call to ministry — it was a call and commitment to follow God wherever he would lead me.
That night on the convention floor, God didn’t ask for a lifelong commitment to a job or career. That’s what most people believe a calling to ministry is. It’s not. God was asking me to follow him wherever he would lead me. For the last 15 years that has been in traditional church ministry. Now, at the age of 34, that is something else entirely, and I’m giddy over it. I can’t wait to see what God does here!
As I have thought more and more about this fear and I keep laying it at the feet of Jesus, the anxiety and fear lifts.
The Bookmark Moments We Turn Into Novels
I struggle with bookmark moments like the one I had on November 3rd. I can quickly get caught up in having this grand experience with God, and then put a bookmark in my soul to remember and live by for the rest of my life.
While bookmark moments are important, we often limit what God can do if we live in a moment he made happen in our lives in the last year, five years or even fifty.
We allow our bookmark moments to turn into novels and that isn’t the way God intended for us to live.
God Likes to Keep it Fresh
God is more interested in doing something new and fresh in our lives rather than returning to old bookmark moments. He moves and changes our hearts because he loves us. How cool is that? But, he also does it because he knows we tend to hang on to a moment for the rest of our lives and build everything around it.
For a long time, that is what I did. I took November 3rd, 2000 and built a life around it. For 15 years, that moment served my life well. I now have a fresh and new perspective on it. I have a new understanding of what God did in my heart back then. He keeps reminding me what I sincerely said yes to and how he is going to lead me into this next season of my life.
I will follow you, Jesus. And you will guide my steps in ways I never thought possible.
My Final Thought To you
Where is God leading you to this next season of life? For some of you, that may be significant steps. For others of you, it may be something less drastic. No matter who we are, though, God wants to keep us moving.
In my short, 34 years on this earth here is something I am learning about God — he is always calling and wooing us. We just need to answer that call.
It was healthy and authentic relationships which have helped me to pursue my dream in 2018. We all could use a little help with our relationships. Let me help you get there.
Visit Ben at BenWeaver.org