"We're about to go to a WHOLE.NUTHA.LEVEL."
For the last few years, this has been the mantra of many leaders who want to see their ministries grow in ways they have never seen before...especially amongst youth and young adult pastors.
I mean, who doesn't want to take their lives to a new level? Whether it’s in our
profession, finances, physique, or spiritual walk; we all feel uncomfortable
with being comfortable.
If our lives were an Indiana Jones movie, then the holy grail would, in reality, be the “next level." To chase the ever-mystical next level makes men out of mice and princes out of paupers.
So why, when we achieve that next level, do we feel so unsettled and dissatisfied?
It’s because we have made the next
level all about ourselves. We can, at times, lose sight of the reason we pursued the next level in the first place: to be better leaders.
When one becomes inward focused our outward focus inevitably suffers. It’s a beast I wrestle with every time I feel the hunger for something greater. It's the tension between pursuing the calling that God has for you and making sure that the pursuit stays true to God's desires and not your own.
So how do we get to that next level, and more importantly, how do we get there with our integrity intact?
One thing that must be understood,
above all, is that the price associated with going to the next level is worth
paying, regardless of the level of frustration that will inevitably accompany
it. Here's how it's done:
- God will only allow you to go to the
next level when He sees that you have been faithful to the previous one.
- The next level is brought about in God's timing, not your own.
- The next level cannot be reached by your
own strength. It is only something God can accomplish.
- You will be uncomfortably stretched, even beyond anything you have been used to in the past. This will change you, from your personality to your habits, and will make you into the person you need to be in order to function at the next level. It
is not much fun, but there will be a peace that comes with the stretching
because you know that it’s God who is doing it.
- There are things that you can talk
about with those close to you as you go through the process of getting to the next level, but there will be some things you will have
to dig for alone with God in your secret place of prayer.
- You will need to hear the voice of God in the process. Chances are that no one has been where you
are going and so it will be impossible to imitate how they have done it.
Your private times of prayer are going to be of the utmost importance. You will receive some things from God in an hour; other things in two hours. However, there are some things reserved for those willing to go past that. The gold is deep in the ground and few are willing to dig for it. You will go way beyond yourself, but know this, that there is no better place to be.