Force vs. Flow

Last December as I was being asked to decide whether I was going to recommit to my role within CBS (I have mentioned Community Bible Study (CBS) many times before) I felt uneasy.  I wasn’t sure why, but I didn’t really explore it.  There was already some transition going on in the leadership and I chalked it up to those changes and didn’t think it had to do with me personally.  More conversations.  More stirrings.  More doubt.  But it was more convincing myself it was because of more change that came in the leadership and the class.  I didn’t understand and knew there would be no way God would call me out of my role because I adore the ministry and loved my role.  But as the summer started the struggle became stronger and the joy became weaker.  That should always be the sign when the struggle becomes stronger than the joy.

Please don’t read that and assume that it applies to everything.  I would not apply that to my marriage.  I would not apply that to my children.  Or my relationship with God.  And sometimes there is a season where you have to endure a stronger struggle and it’s hard to find joy, but when we have committed to the Lord we can rely on his promise that joy will come in the morning.  So when it is not an oath that you have sworn in the presence of God and it comes to your service in ministry, your job, your volunteer commitments, your hobbies, and just commitments in general that when you are manufacturing energy instead of it providing you energy a change may be on the horizon.  And that is what it came to with me and CBS – I was manufacturing energy to fuel me to serve rather than it fueling me.

I had always been told, “When you don’t feel like you get a clear yes or no, lean into the yes and keep on the same path”.  But in this experience and I think for my future I can solidly say I don’t agree.  I now say, “When you don’t feel like you get a clear yes or no, lean into the no because you don’t know what he is freeing you up for”.  It may be the same exact thing you are saying no to.  That “position” will still be available because he still has it in his will for it to be yours.  But it may be something completely new and exciting and off your radar, but on His radar that he has already prepared for you.

This was the case with me.  I decided at a very inconvenient time within the ministry to lean into the no.  To put aside the fear of disappointing others.  To understand that God doesn’t work on the CBS calendar – he has the right to call and claim me at any time of his choosing.  So I made difficult phone calls.  Had hard conversations.  And ultimately did disappoint people.  But I know I was obeying my heavenly father and honestly that’s all that mattered.

So the day after these excruciating conversations (I shed A LOT of tears – I did not understand, but I chose to trust) I got a simple text, “Ashley, you interested in filling in for my assistant while she is on maternity leave?”.  It came from a friend of mine that I had worked with previously at church who had recently stepped into the campus pastor role.  Cue more tears and A LOT more of them.  This was not on my radar.  I wasn’t thinking about going back to work.  I didn’t know if it was what was next, but I chose to step into finding out.

A lot had to be figured out regarding carpooling the boys to school, Garrett’s childcare, the hours, my planned vacations being approved….I could go on and on.  And each and every detail was solidified easily within 24 hours.

My late mentor Regina always used to tell us, “Force vs. Flow”.  We, in our humanness, can tend to force things, but God is in the business of sweetly flowing things our direction so all we have to do is ride.

And so, that is what I have been doing for the last 11 weeks.  I have been working about 25-30 hours at my church and with that came early mornings and some crazy coordination of schedules, but it also came with some sweet quiet times, lots of laughs, and some needed discipline in my schedule.  Some days it kicked me hard in the pants.  But most days I surrendered to the one who provided the opportunity and flourished.

I officially transitioned everything back over to the stellar gal that holds that role yesterday.  As much as I loved the job and the job responsibilities, she is a rock star at what she does and I’m thrilled I could play a part in holding down the fort until she returned.

<and just so you know – God provided an awesome replacement for my role in CBS at just the perfect time (of course!) and she is killing it!>

As always, here are my closing questions for you to reflect for yourself:

  • Is there an area in your life you are manufacturing energy?
  • Where should you lean into the ‘no’ and make a difficult decision?
  • What are you forcing to happen, rather than surrendering and allowing him to make it flow?

5 Replies to “Force vs. Flow”

  1. Powerful!!! In Henry Cloud’s book “Necessary Endings”, he reminds us that our propensity is to hold on to things too long. Ashley – you were in God’s Will when you let go of your CBS role…not knowing what God had in store for you, but trusting that “the cloud moved” and you needed to move. God is faithful to lead us!!!


  2. I love having you in my life, speaking into it, and being so vulnerable and willing to share how God has directed your steps. I wish I had a Regina in my life as I could really use one right now, but I’m thankful for the many friends that I glean wisdom from who sat at her feet. I love you, friend!


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