I’ll Go Anywhere, God … Except "There"

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What happens when He is leading you to the one place you never wanted to live?

As a seminary student nearing graduation, I’ve been asked hundreds of times in recent years, what do you want to do with your degree?

And usually right after I get asked that, the follow-up question is, where do you want to serve?

It’s a bit of a weird question, because it assumes we have a choice in the matter. Like we get to choose our own calling or something. That would be nice.

I typically answer it by listing all the places I could never live.

Not the Midwest. Done that before. Too much humidity. My wife would hate the winters.

Not L.A. Too crowded. Too expensive. Too much sunshine (I sound like a true Oregonian there).

Not Salem. Too small. I grew up there. Lots of bad memories. Great place to call home, not where I want to go back to though.

Not Hawaii. Too expensive. Too isolated.

You might call me picky. I just call myself self-aware.

I know where God would regret sending me because I could never be happy. I would imagine you’ve created a similar list in your mind.

Everyone has their list of where they simply will not move, even pastors.

But what happens when God calls you to where you don’t want to go?

What happens when He is leading you to the one place you never wanted to live?

Tyler Braun Tyler Braun is a pastor at New Harvest Church in Salem, Oregon. He is the author of "Why Holiness Matters: We've Lost Our Way - But We Can Find it Again" (Moody).

More from Tyler Braun or visit Tyler at http://manofdepravity.com/

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  • ChurchAdmin


    Add me to the list of people who are in the place they said they would never want to be. I too ended up back in my hometown, ministering in the place I never wanted to come back to. And yes, I did declare it to God and everyone I knew when I left. Eight years later, “he’s back!” Thanks for a great post – it reminded me again that my plans are just that, “my plans”, and that my plans and my call may not always be in alignment. But if I truly want to follow Christ I need to be all right with that and follow the call not the plans.

    • http://manofdepravity.com/ Tyler Braun

      Glad I’m not alone in this!

  • http://www.facebook.com/corban.tacoma Corban Som Tacoma

    I was way more open-minded. I told God I’d do ANYTHING except be a teacher (too many mean kids in the classroom when I was growing up), but that I was willing to go WHEREVER. I assumed that meant Africa since I heard of so many people who had Africa on their “no way” list. Result? I became an English teacher in China for 6+ years! And now God has me back in the States (not where I wanted to “get stuck”… after all, I was a missionary!) working with internationals who want to learn English and make friends! Gotta love it! I’m so incredibly blessed in what I do, and believe I am right where God wants me… for now. :)

    • http://manofdepravity.com/ Tyler Braun

      This is wonderful to read. Glad you’re following God and not your preferences.

  • Dawn Agler

    My husband went on a mission trip to Mexico in 2005, and I remember his excitement when he returned. I, also, remember telling him, “I’m glad you had a good trip, but that’s not for me.” Now, 7 years later, I’ve been on mission trips to Mexico and Ghana. And our family will be moving, (yes, MOVING) to Ghana sometime in February or March to serve for 2 years. Many people have remarked that there is no way they could or would do that. I tell them to be careful what they say they don’t want to do because you never know where God will lead you! I know that I have limited vision and that God’s plan is so much bigger & better than mine (it just may take me 7 years to realize it!)

    • http://manofdepravity.com/ Tyler Braun

      It’s great to slowly move beyond our own limited vision. Life is grander from the broader perspective God can give us.


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He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? —Romans 8:32