On this week’s Unleashing the Champion Within, we have a special guest, Ross Stewart. He is going to share with us about when he felt Called to Change. This is a transcription from the podcast of part one of our interview.
Cindy: Today we’re going to talk about when you are Called to Change and I have a special guest with me today, it’s my son, Ross Stewart. He was on my podcast, it was episode 39, about a year and a half ago. You can go back and listen to it. Much has happened in his life since then and it’s exciting. There’s a lot of change going on and I wanted him to share the process of change. So Ross welcome, thanks for coming today.
Ross: Thank you.
Cindy: I’m glad you’re here. Let’s begin with where you’ve been. We talked about you being a basketball coach and all that and then a lot of things changed. So tell me a little bit about the last year and a half.
Ross: Yeah, so when we last left off I was coaching basketball at a public high school and you’re right since then a lot has changed. So in the spring of 2017, I decided that I would go to another church or start attending another church and I did.
Really that’s where everything began in the spring as I said in April I met my now wife, so that has been a huge, huge change. We were engaged in August of 2017 and married in October.
In that time I went from coaching and teaching at the high school level to being now fully employed at Radiant Church in an operational and pastoral role there so a half and half role. It has been a whirlwind. So I’m sitting here in January of 2019, life completely different from the last time we spoke. So yeah a lot of change has happened in the past year or so.
Cindy: Now let’s talk about this a little bit because I know when you were teaching and coaching, now I wouldn’t say that teaching was your passion, but coaching was. You really loved that. So moving from that transition of doing something, well really it was 50/50. Something that you absolutely loved and something that you didn’t absolutely love and being able to leave that part behind to move into this place. How did you really figure that out?
Ross: Yeah so it was awesome, what I’d like to call bridge. So I started out in the construction industry out of school and it wasn’t my passion. I was good at it but I didn’t find joy in that.
So when I realized that I could start coaching and that was a real opportunity for me and teaching then it was a chance to really bridge the gap between something that wasn’t my purpose to now at Radiant where I feel like I’m really 100 percent living out my purpose.
So while the teaching wasn’t necessarily was my primary objective the coaching was, it was a really great bridge where I was able to learn a lot of really important and valuable lessons. I was able to have a lot of training in teaching but also in leadership and conflict management and resolution and learning how to come up under other leaders and be a good follower and a good steward of what I had. So a lot of really good lessons learned in that four or five year period. But all of those things propelled me or got me ready, got me prepared for this next thing.
Cindy: What was the key indicator when you realized that the coaching and the teaching weren’t going to be able to be sustained based on getting married and having different objectives?
Ross: Yeah so I knew that right away. I knew as soon as Temple my wife and I met I knew that we were going to be married. I knew and you hear sappy stories all the time that people are smitten from the beginning and they just know that they’re going to get married but I did, I did. It shows in that we met in May in late May of 2017 and in October we were married. So, it wasn’t a slow process by any means, and one of the things I knew was going to have to happen is that there were going to be some lifestyle change. We’ll talk about it in a second but I also felt a really apparent prompting from the Holy Spirit that there was going to be a shift, that there was going to be a change in seasons. So while I had to be patient and I waited for almost a year, at least a full school year to really discover what that was.
Ross: I knew that there was going to be some changes and along with marriage I knew that there was also going to come to some changes in lifestyle as far as job and stuff like that. But we got married in October of 2017 and I was still coaching at the time. So immediately from November to February, I was gone four nights a week. So we didn’t get a ton of opportunities at least after we were working or outside of the weekend to really start our marriage on a great spot, in a great spot. So that was further confirmation that I had already received that there were going to have to be some changes.
Cindy: So tell me about the process. I know you say that we’re called to follow that Holy Spirit prompting. So tell me a little bit of how that played out in your life.
Ross: Yeah so I love this title Called to Change because we can make as many changes as we want or we can seek out new things to do if we’re not happy in the situation that we’re in — we can change it. We have the ability with free will and living in the country that we live in we have the ability to change as much as we want and really seek out what makes us happy.
But the reason I love this title is because it says that we’re called to change and in my experience through walking through this process I really felt like I was being called to make a change, to make a switch.
So I have a couple points that we’ll talk through, but they’re all involved with being called.
The first one is that I believe we’re called to follow. Within that following, it could include seeking counsel or praying or listening to gain wisdom or being sensitive to the voice of God but I wanted to share a scripture that I thought really hints at this point.
There’s two dynamics to following and I went through both of them. So I wanted to share this with you it’s in Matthew 4 and it starts in verse 18 and this is about Jesus calling his disciples and I’ll skip down to verse 19 Jesus says, “Come follow me and I will send you out to fish for people.” He’s talking to his first disciples and verse 20 says, “At once they left their nets and followed him.” Then moving onto verse 21 and 22 he calls two more disciples, James and John, they were in a boat Jesus called them and in verse 22 it says, “Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”
So I just think this is so cool. This is something to think about that this was immediate. So once they heard the voice of Jesus they were totally captured by him. There wasn’t any talking to their parents. There wasn’t any talking to their friends or talking to their family and this might sound crazy but there wasn’t even a call to prayer. Jesus didn’t say pray about following me and let me know, I’ll be back in a couple of days and we can talk it over and you can decide whether you’re excited about it.
Cindy: That’s good.
Ross: There are some decisions that the Holy Spirit is stirring inside of you and that’s what happened to me. Even before I met Temple, even before I met my wife, even before I switched churches there was this restlessness inside of me and I just knew that it was from the Holy Spirit and not only that there were people who were speaking that into my life. There were people who were saying hey I think that there’s something more or I think that you’re getting ready for a season of change and when you feel it and you’re also hearing these things from people outside of you and your immediate family then it’s something to listen to.
So I think that that’s one dynamic of being called to follow which is, there are some promptings that require no thought at all — Alright, I’m ready to do it, I’m ready to at least be open to what you’re speaking into my life.
Cindy: Yeah that’s really good because what I have noticed in talking to a lot of people and I work with a lot of people is sometimes when we feel that stirring and that restlessness and even an irritation we think something’s wrong. But really what’s happening is what we’re doing now isn’t congruent with where God is trying to take us.
Cindy: So there is an uneasiness, a restlessness because we don’t know where we’re supposed to go, but we know that we’re being called to go and it’s like you said, immediately when you say yes there’s an okay, a peace that comes with it even though it may not be complete because you’re not there yet. But the yes has taken you out of the internal struggle to start looking up to what is next, right?
Ross: Yeah, absolutely. Then the other part of it is that once you’ve heard that yes, once you’ve felt that stirring and I believe this is the other part of it, that’s where the real, that can be where the real struggle begins because then you go okay Lord I’ve heard from you, I know that we’re about to move — there are two parts:
One — now you have to be patient, now you have to have some trust. Now you have to have some faith and we’ll talk about this in the second point that I have, but now it requires a little bit of seeking. So opposed to what the first disciples did in Matthew, it doesn’t always happen that way. You might be prompted but then there’s some waiting and there’s some struggling between your physical self and your mind and then what the spirit is telling you. So that a lot of times is where that prayer comes in and I know that that’s one of the things that Temple and I struggled with a lot, especially when I was changing careers after we got married was, and again we’ll talk about this in the next one but it’s all those worldly things that now we’re worried about.
Ross: Now we’re like okay, but where’s the money going to come from? Are you going to have a 401k? are you going to have health coverage? Are you going to this and that? So, that’s where that prayer comes in and just to close it out on following and really this is where it comes to praying and seeking counsel and being sensitive to the voice of God, there’s some really good scripture just looking for a practical example, if you’re stuck in that spot and you’re saying I know that I’m feeling called but I’m not there yet and I don’t know what that next thing is, so I’m in this waiting game right now. There’s a couple scriptures that you can pray every day and this is something we did before we knew because I knew that my time at school, my time coaching I knew it was over. I had submitted my letter of resignation before I was offered another position.
Ross: So there was a break where I was like God I got to leave this all up to you and I have to be sensitive to what you’re saying, but there were a couple prayers that we prayed over each other and we prayed over each day and one is Psalms 25, or Psalm 25 and that’s a prayer of guidance and protection and I’ll just take a little snippet out of it. But it says in verse four, “Teach me your ways, oh, Lord make them known to me. Teach me to live according to your truth for You’re my God who saves me. I will always trust you.” So that’s such a powerful prayer of trust and faith in God and in James 5, James is such a rich book.
Ross: In James 1:5 it says, “If any of you lacks wisdom he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to him.” So it’s not that you lack wisdom in knowing where you’re going to work next, obviously, you don’t know that or you’re not stupid, right? But you are not privy to what God is planning for you. So most of the time we are completely in the dark. We have no idea and that’s why the surprises are so amazing, that’s why the blessings of God are so outrageous because you have no idea and you could have never planned for it.
So again, sometimes you are, it’s a two-step process. You’re prompted by the Holy Spirit and you’re ready for the change but it takes some time and prayer and it takes patience and petition to God asking for wisdom and asking for guidance.
Cindy: Yeah that’s really good and sometimes in that waiting, it’s easier when it’s immediate and you’re like I know where to go and I know exactly what I’m going to do. But then sometimes in that waiting, I was thinking about Abraham how he and Sarah tried to help God a couple of times. God had promised them everything and he even told them there’s nothing impossible for me and so in their journey with this, they would say okay, well I’m going to help God in this way by getting pregnant with another person. I’m going to help God in this way and sometimes in our helping God it slows things down for us because we’re moving out of the space, we’re out of our lane. All of a sudden we’re driving in a lane we shouldn’t drive on anymore.
Ross: Yes, absolutely.
Cindy: And with God, he keeps guiding us and we’re just diligent and faithful to where he’s guiding us.
Cindy: Sometimes like you said it’s just in the waiting.
Cindy: Waiting and talking to him. That’s really good. Now is this where we were thinking about stopping?
Cindy: Ross that was excellent. I love the tips, I love the fact that you know sometimes we don’t know what to do until we hear from other people and we realize that we’re not alone in change and when we’re called to change there are other people just like us that are trying to go through the process. So great encouragement, great tips.
Part two will be next week and we’re going to talk about Healthy Change. How do we make those changes where it’s healthy for us, for our family, for our bank account, for all the different elements around.
I would love to hear your thoughts and your experiences.
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