a much needed break

So, the last few weeks have been rather insanely busy, if you couldn’t tell from the lack of posting going on here. Between working my 15 jobs (exaggeration), going through the job search/application process, fundraising for my Kenya mission trip, and turning 25 (yikes!), I’ve had little time for anything else. And while I’m happy to say I’ve managed to stay on track with my reading, I haven’t had the time to write about it or process much of anything.

I needed a break.

So I’ve taken one.

I took five days off this week, and have used them to make the trip down to southern California and spend some time at my alma mater connecting with friends and professors. I was looking for a break, but it’s actually been rather busy, trying to make time to connect with everyone I want to see. Even in the midst of that however, I’ve found time to sit by myself, catching up on my reading, and just processing everything that’s been going on in my head and heart. Because there’s a lot.

For a while now I’ve had a sense of discontent, the feeling that I’m no longer where I need to be.

I think God is telling me it’s time to move on.

It’s been difficult being back here, at the place where I developed such a distinct view of my future. I’m connecting with all these people who were a part of that time in my life, and they all ask, “so what are you doing now?”

What am I doing now?

Certainly not what I want to be doing.

I’ve known that for a while, but it’s difficult when you have to admit it over and over again. Because they know it’s not where I want to be. And the reactions show it.

“So, do you still want to…”

That’s a difficult question, because I do. And I don’t. And it’s complicated.

I’ve gone from having such a clear vision of direction, to not being sure of much of anything, and it sucks.

It’s hard knowing it’s time to leave. It’s even harder when you don’t know where you’re supposed to go.

As I was reading through the Exodus story, I found myself jealous of the clarity of direction the Israelites received.

God was with them, visibly, wherever they went. They were led by a cloud of smoke in the day, and by a pillar of fire at night. Talk about crystal clear direction.

Why can’t I have that kind of direction?

But as I’ve thought about it further, I think the Israelites were feeling a lot like I am.

It’s true God gave them clear direction, but he didn’t provide a roadmap. Rather, he took them step by step, and the Israelites had to follow in faith, not knowing exactly where they were being led. God had told the Israelites he was taking them to a Promised Land, but not how they would be getting there.

In the same way God has given us the hope of a Promised Land.  He has sworn to us an inheritance with Christ (Gal. 3:29, Eph.1:11), giving us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).  However, he doesn’t say how we’ll get there, exactly what the path will hold.

We can never know exactly where God will direct our paths, what stops there may be on our journey.  I just had this conversation with my friend Andrew, as neither of us are where we hoped to be three years after graduation.

God can take our paths though some interesting and unexpected terrain.  But that’s what this journey is about.  It’s not solely about getting to the destination  but about the journey along the way.  After all, it’s the things that happen to us along the journey that shape us and prepare us for the destination.

And like the Israelites, God often illuminates just the next steps on our path.

I may be simply experiencing my quarter-life crisis, and I may be beating a dead horse with this topic (having already written something similar).

However, this is what I find on my heart throughout this week, needing to get my thoughts into writing and share them with others.

So, while I may not have a clear sense of ultimate direction, I know the step I need to be taking now.

One foot in front of the other.

One step at a time.

Stepping out in faith, that God will be there, ready to point out the next step.

I want to know it all, to see everything ahead of me.

Where’s the adventure in that?

How boring that predictable life would be.

So God, bring on the adventure.  Help me let go of my OCD tendencies to control and plan and want to know everything.  Lead me step by step, and I’ll trust in your plan for my life, even if I don’t know exactly what it is.

How has your journey so far differed from what you expected or planned?  In what ways has your journey led you into unexpected territory, and how has that helped you grow?  How do you follow God’s lead when you can’t see where you’re going?


2013 begins

One more year has come and gone, and now we stand on the brink of another, unsure of what the horizon brings.

It’s not unique at this time to talk about looking at the year behind, reflecting on events and how they’ve affected us, judging decisions we’ve made and how we’ve progressed towards meeting our life goals.  Neither is it unique to look at the year ahead, wondering what the new year brings, making new goals and resolutions, hoping for a better year than the one behind.  Though these New Year activities are not unique, there is a reason that nearly everyone participates: it just makes sense.

Though the source of the aphorism “know thyself” may be in doubt, the truth of it is without question; and as Socrates so famously wrote, “the unexamined life is not worth living.”  It is important for us to participate in these New Years rituals, for how else are we to grow into better people, into better followers of Christ, without intentional self-examination? continue reading