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Fast Forward: Embrace Uncertainty

Sometimes, God invites us to do things we do not want to do. Either we are afraid to trust Him or we don’t want to do what He wants us to do or we don’t want to stop doing what we are doing because we like it!

I’ve been there. My wife, kids, and extended family all wanted us to live in Texas. We both grew up here. All of our family is here. After 15 years on the West Coast, they all wanted us to move. There was only one person standing in the way – me. I didn’t want to leave. I liked what I was doing and where we were living.

At a family get-together out at Lake LBJ, I heard my mom, my aunt who lives here in Austin, my wife, and my daughter all talking about how they were praying we would move to Texas. That was the final straw for me! I was so frustrated with them. They were praying something would happen in my life that I did not want to happen!

As we drove back to Los Angeles, Debbie and I spent those three days talking about our future. It was on that trip, I agreed to at least pray and ask God what He wanted us to do – something I had been resistant to do.

On the day I was supposed to begin praying about whether we should stay in LA or move to Texas, I decided to go to the gym. (This in itself was a miracle. I never went to the gym). As I walked in, I noticed how loud the music seemed to be that early in the morning. In spite of that, I prayed quietly in my mind: “God, just guide me to know where you want us to live – where you want us to serve you.” It was at that moment that I heard the song:

 “Ohio (Come Back to Texas)” by Bowling for Soup

It was a song I had never heard before and never heard on the radio since.

Honestly I was a bit freaked out – so much so that when I got on the treadmill and noticed that ESPN was showing highlights from a Little League game with CA vs TX, I just couldn’t take it anymore, so I told God: “This is too much for me. Just make it clear where we are supposed to go. Whoever wins this game is where we will live!” Then the Texas team won.

Then after several amazing events and crazy circumstances, Debbie changed her mind and didn’t want to move. Crisis averted!

A year later, I started thinking we were supposed to be moving. Strange things started happening again. One moment in particular came when I was reading from Ezekiel 2-3:

“I am sending you to an obstinate and stubborn people…. You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and difficult language…. Go now to your countrymen….” 

Doesn’t that sound like Texas?! A stubborn and obstinate people! I am a Texan and these words described me. “Countrymen?!” What other state in America thinks of itself as its own country?

So much more happened that I don’t have time to share. I called a couple of friends including Charles Dishinger, our Exective Director at Gateway Church asking for prayer and ideas. After several conversations and an amazing turn of events, Charles said these words: “I don’t know how much we can pay or when you’d start, or what you’d do, but we would like for you to join the team.”

After moving to Seattle without a job and then moving to Los Angeles without a job moving to Austin with an opportunity without clarity was an upgrade!

The adventure of moving here, living here, and serving as part of Gateway has brought us closer to God and closer to each other.

So often we resist uncertainty – the very thing God uses to build up our faith! 

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Dr. Eric Michael Bryant serves with Gateway Church in Austin as the team leader for Central and South Austin and as part of the teaching team. Eric previously served at Mosaic in Los Angeles and his books include Not Like Me: A Field Guide to a Influencing a Diverse World and A Fruitful Life: Becoming Who You Were Created To Be. Eric coaches church planters and campus pastors, teaches on Post Christian Ministry, and leads a cohort for a Doctorate of Ministry in Missional Effectiveness through Bethel Seminary where he earned his Doctorate of Ministry in Entrepreneurial Leadership.