Moving, the Unknown and Self-Discovery

By Rev. Tim Yee

August 31, 2019

The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.’

Genesis 12:1


If you had asked me a year ago where I thought I’d be today, I would have told you I’d be sitting at a coffee shop in Los Angeles putting the final touches on my Sunday sermon for my diverse congregation in downtown Los Angeles. Instead I am surrounded by dozens of moving boxes in a new home hundreds of miles to the north, marveling at how God has moved my family to begin a new season of ministry at Carmel Presbyterian Church. Following the Lord just might move you from a place of familiarity and onto a transformational journey filled with uncertainty and discomfort.

Mountains around Abraham Lake in CanadaAbram (later named Abraham) set out for a foreign land and fulfilled a mission that God had given him and his family. Leaving the familiarity of Ur, and later Haran, must have been difficult. Notice how the text doesn’t record the Lord specifying the destination to Abram, though we know it to be Canaan from our vantage point thousands of years later. It is even more challenging to follow God when we aren’t told where we’re headed but simply commanded to “go.”

Though I did not hear an audible voice, I sensed this past year that God was nudging me toward something new. But being a personality type that likes certainty, this idea of “going” without knowing where was quite disturbing! My ESTJ inner-supervisor combined with my Enneagram 6 worrier can make for an anxiety-riddled journey of following God when the destination is unknown

As I continued to be open to something new, two tools came across my path. The first was the book Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. I followed its advice and created three unique life-plans that incorporated my personality, strengths, life design interviews (described in the book), family context, inner desires, prayer and my overall sense of God’s direction for our lives. The second tool that I discovered was something called TruMotivate, which is built on the same platform that has helped executive leaders for over six decades discover why they do what they do and is now available to the general public. Both of these tools helped me so much along my journey to discover my next call that I’ve been recommending them to everyone I meet, whether their interest lies in self-discovery, career opportunities or general leadership growth.

Following God to an unknown place this past year has led me to somewhere quite wonderful—both in the natural beauty of Carmel and the welcoming people I am now called to serve. But most importantly I am continuing to live out who I really am at the core, and pursuing a joyful life using the personality, resources, interests, opportunities and motivations that God has given me. We’ll look at more closely this idea of core motivations in my next and final Life for Leaders devotion tomorrow.

Something to Think About:

What tools do you find yourself engaging in during this season (spiritual formation practices, sermons or talks, books, assessments, coaches, therapists, etc.)?

Are you sensing God firmly planting you where you currently are? If so, is God prompting you to “move” in some other way even if it means staying where you are?

Something to Do:

Watch this clip of Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society. Take five minutes to write out your responses to these two questions: What does an extraordinary life as God’s chosen vessel look like for you in your daily life right now? What would you like it to look like this next year if you were to make a move of some kind?


Lord, you called Abram to make a move to an unknown destination and I want to be willing to go wherever you lead. Even if you are planting me right where I am at, I want to seize the moment—not to simply fulfill my own sense of agency and control, but as an offering of worship to you. You are my one and only True King whom my whole being belongs to and is enveloped with. I recommit myself to obey your promptings whether that means staying put or moving on. To God be the glory! Amen.

Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online
Abraham’s Faithfulness Contrasted with the Faithlessness of Babel (Genesis 12:1-3)

Rev. Tim Yee

Contributor Emeritus & Pastor

Rev. Tim Yee is Pastor of Union Church of Los Angeles, a 100-year-old church in downtown L.A.’s Little Tokyo District where he serves a diverse church of professionals, internment camp survivors, artists and homeless. He serves on the Board of Union Rescue Mission where he leads the P...

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