How We Knew To Move (Hearing God’s Voice)

Ever since we started sharing about our move to Austin, a recurring response has been “Wow!” and a recurring question has been “Why?”

I think most people have been surprised by our move because they could tell how much we have loved serving with the community of Mosaic and in the city of Los Angeles.

To hear a lot of the specifics on how we knew God was calling us to Austin, listen to my farewell message to Mosaic.

Here are some ways we were able to discover God’s calling and discern God’s voice in our lives:

Signs – Sometimes I am not very good at hearing God’s voice, so He shouts to me with signs to get my attention.

  • Last year after telling Debbie I would at least pray about the possibility of moving back to Texas after 16 years on the West Coast, the very next morning I went to the gym to work out (a miracle in itself) and heard the song “Ohio” by Bowling for Soup which has the these words for the chorus: “Come Back to Texas.”
  • Laying on my back for three months with sciatica and recovering from back surgery gave me a lot of time to think about my pace and responsibilities.
  • This year I received an invitation to apply for a position at a church that had asked me to partner with them in the past.
  • There were many other signs which also got my attention such as: driving behind every a Texas license plate what seemed like every time I got in the car and receiving fortune cookies which read: “Plan your move” or “Your creativity is needed by others at this time.” or “Your travels to the east will be beneficial. Expect the unexpected.”

Godly counsel – I invited some close friends and family members who know me well to speak into our situation and to pray for us. They are a really good gauge on whether I am hearing God’s voice or just making things up.

The Scriptures – I pored over the Scriptures these past couple of months reading (or listening to the Bible on my iPod) through the Old Testament prophets, the Psalms, the Proverbs, and James.  Passages such as the following jumped out at us:

  • Micah 2:10 “Get up, go away! For this is not your resting place…”
  • Ezekiel 2: 4,6,7; 3:5,11 3 “The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says.’ 5 And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious people—they will know that a prophet has been among them. 6 And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words.… You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and strange language… Go now to your countrymen in exile and speak to them. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says,’ whether they listen or fail to listen.” Now, doesn’t that sound like Texans?! What other state in the US thinks they are their own country?!?  🙂  Seriously though, I realized I had been the one who was stubborn and obstinate in this process until I asked for God to show me what He wanted for our lives rather than telling Him what I wanted.

Prayer & Fasting – I started going to bed at 10pm so I could get up earlier to walk and pray.  I stopped eating sugars and drinking sodas so that every time I thought of desserts I would be reminded to ask God for guidance. Thoughts that did not fit my normal way of thinking would flood my mind during these moments.

Circumstances – When I first started my role as Navigator at Mosaic, there were no campus pastors.  Now we have a great team of leaders in every arena and so many of my responsibilities could be covered (and even handled more effectively) by others on our team. I also felt called towards catalyzing community and communicating more (as opposed to overseeing those who do those things).  We were already looking to sell our house and buy another one in Los Angeles, so it was easier to start looking closer to where our extended family lives in Texas. After 16 years on the West Coast, we feel called to love, serve, and influence them in person. We actively looked for openings, and then an opportunity in Austin opened up that fits our strengths and experiences really well.

Desires of our heart – This fall I initiated this idea of considering a move to Texas, and Debbie wanted to stay in L.A.. As we have gone through this process, God began to change both of our desires to match what we sense He wants for our lives. Psalm 37:4 works! If you delight yourself in the Lord, He gives you the desires of your heart.  This doesn’t mean you get whatever you ask for.  It means you start to want what God wants for you.

Blessing – Finally, the greatest sense of clarity has come with the way our Mosaic family has responded.  We have been blessed and encouraged to take this step even as there is genuine sadness among all of us.

How do you discern God’s voice in your life?

  • greg wong

    thanks for sharing this, eric! i just caught up on your podcast too. hearing how you are open to and attentively listen to god’s call is an encouragement. blessings in your move. hope to be able to catch you in austin next year. i’m planning on passing through for sxsw!

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