It’s a question we all ask at one time or another, isn’t it? Sometimes life and ministry happen faster than we can manage, and no matter how proficient we are in our leadership, it is impossible to control everything happening to us, around us, with our team, or in our church family. Even if we’ve walked with Christ for years, we can still find ourselves in a place we never dreamed. A place we never intended to be. A place where we’re asking ourselves, “How did I get here?”
I’ve been there.
A few years ago, after thirty years of ministry and following Jesus, I found myself in a place where I wanted to take cover more than I wanted to take ground. Where I didn’t feel that I had the strength, courage, or confidence to keep going. I had never felt so vulnerable, exposed, or weak. I didn’t know if I wanted to keep pressing in and pressing on. Reaching out for what’s next. Pursuing the adventure that I always had. I had always been someone who soldiered on, who stirred up their faith, who passionately pursued every new frontier. I thrived being on the cutting edge of whatever God was doing and wherever he was going. But something had changed. Not just around me, but in me. And I was unable to sort it all out.
There had been moments in my life when I wanted to walk away—temporarily. Moments when I’d felt deeply betrayed, deeply disillusioned, deeply hurt, deeply disappointed, deeply flawed, deeply misrepresented, deeply discouraged, deeply misunderstood. But never had I hit a wall where I thought, I don’t know if I actually want to keep going. And I couldn’t help but wonder, How did I get here?
What I came to understand is that it wasn’t a crisis of faith; rather, it was a sober realization that, if I were to keep going, it would probably mean more sacrifice, more pain, more heartache, more exposure, more vulnerability, more attacks…even though all of that would mean more fruit.
Maybe you’ve been there.
When I was finding my way forward, I thought I was strong because I had always been strong. For decades I had been pursing Jesus with a passion, following wherever he led me with great gratitude and commitment. I had never forgotten what my life was like when he found me nor all he had done for me in the years since. But make no mistake, it had been a costly journey—mentally, emotionally, physically, personally, spiritually.
Everything God had led me to do had cost more than Nick or I had ever anticipated, but the fruit was stunning. God had exceeded our every hope and expectation. He had been so gracious to us, so faithful, so kind. By the time we celebrated twenty-one years of marriage and ministry, everything was flourishing—everything except me.
I should have been on top of the world, but I wasn’t. I should have been enjoying the fruit of my labor, but I wasn’t. I should have been full of peace and joy, but I wasn’t. I should have been full of vision for the future, but I wasn’t. Something was off, and I could not quite pinpoint exactly what it was.
The realization that I wasn’t sure I wanted what I had always wanted the way I had wanted it was startling. Did I really feel that what had always been worthwhile suddenly wasn’t? Was I actually questioning whether I wanted to keep following Jesus wherever he would lead me? Surely not, but I was definitely in a place I had never imagined.
For me, the course Jesus had chartered for me was worthy of my continuing—because Jesus was worthy of my continuing—but somewhere I had drifted from seeing that, to losing myself in my feelings. It was my feelings that were screaming at me to pull back. I knew that I could keep going through the motions and no one would even really know I wasn’t pressing in as hard as I once was, sticking as close to Jesus as I once did. Willing to keep taking risks like I always had. No one would really know…except Jesus. He would know. And that mattered more than anything.
Doing my best to move forward, I couldn’t help but think that maybe my beleaguered state was from all the years of being on the front line. Of pioneering. Of daring to go where God showed me. Of relentless spiritual warfare. Maybe it was from running full steam ahead. Or from feeling exposed, raw, vulnerable, and sometimes like an easy target. Maybe it was caused by the failure of a project I had poured my heart and soul into. Maybe I was still being affected from losing my mum and three other family members the year before. Maybe the loss of intimacy in letting go of some friendships I had treasured, ones that had fractured, left me feeling hurt and misunderstood, perhaps even jaded. It had been a huge season of loss on so many levels.
But don’t we all deal with being hit by compounding blows? Don’t we all lose loved ones? Don’t we all grow weary in our callings and careers? Don’t we all experience disappointments? And struggle with being disillusioned? Don’t we all want to walk away from time to time?
Truth be told, I’ve lost count of the number of times I thought of walking away from it all and opening a small café in Santorini, Greece. Just Nick and me and our girls tucked away in my favorite corner of the world. I imagine we all run to our own little escape destinations in our minds. To the lives we thought we might have. But never will have. Because deep down we love Jesus and his plans more.
Instead of letting myself go there once more, I turned and faced the journey ahead of me, one I had never anticipated. I learned much along the way, including the understanding that…
- there are many ways to drift,
- there is no aspect of our lives that is immune from drifting,
- and that at some point, there is no single person who is not prone to drift.
Furthermore, what God showed me is what enabled me to stop drifting and start thriving again. What he showed me is what enabled me to keep going and keep growing. To stay on point, fulfilling all the purpose he’s placed inside of me, pursuing all he’s called me to do.
I haven’t discovered all the answers but looking back and seeing how God moved me forward, I’ve done my best to capture the insights and understanding he has given me so I can pass them on to you. I’ve presented them as truthfully and clearly as I can throughout the pages of How Did I Get Here? It’s a book I believe will help you and the people you so faithfully serve.
Why You Need This Resource
When we begin to drift in any area of our lives, it’s subtle. It’s not a deliberate step we take, but more like a gradual slip. It isn’t because we aren’t strong or haven’t walked with Christ for very many years. It’s something that just happens, but once it does, if we don’t take steps to drop our anchor in Christ once more, we’ll find ourselves in places we never intended or wanted—emotionally, physically, relationally or spiritually—asking ourselves, “How did I get here?” You most likely have seen this in the people you lead. You may have experienced it for yourself, too. Christine’s latest book addresses significant ways we can drift in the current age, showing leaders and lay people alike where they are drifting and how they can stop.
How Did I Get Here?: Finding Your Way Back to God When Everything is Pulling You Away
Do you feel lost? Disconnected? Like you’re just going through the motions?
With refreshing candor and relatable humor, Christine offers biblical insights helping you identify nine signs you are drifting off course and realign with God’s purpose and many more.
Christine Caine is an Australian-born, Greek-blooded lover of Jesus, activist, author, and international speaker. Together with her husband, Nick, she founded the anti-human trafficking organization, The A21 Campaign. They also founded Propel Women, an organization designed to celebrate every woman’s passion, purpose, and potential. Christine and Nick make their home in Southern California with their daughters, Catherine and Sophia.