Sunday night was one of those evenings that make my heart smile.
After an action-packed weekend of climbing a 14-er, having a bonfire with friends from out of town, playing several games of volleyball, attending church with my roomies, and eating more ice cream than I should probably admit to, one of my roommates walked into the room I was laying in and flopped down on the bed next to me.
As the sticky summer breeze blew threw the open patio door, we both sighed and then laughed at our tandem exhaustion.
“I had such a good plan for my life, Jules,” I said as I stared at the ceiling.
“Me too. It’s funny to think that we both wanted to be doctors. Ooooooh how different life would be right now,” Julie said, laughing to herself.
“Yupp,” I sighed. “I was going to become a cardiac surgeon and here I am– a broke missionary “ex-teacher”– just about the furthest thing ya can be from a surgeon. I had everything all planned out and now I’m laying on here contemplating changing the entire trajectory of my life yet again with one seemingly simple decision: Do I finish this master’s program at GIAL? Or do I do the seemingly illogical thing and stay here in Denver, where I have given everything up and have no concrete plans for, well, anything?”
Oh yeah, you read that right. Those words came out of my mouth and then part of me immediately wanted to shove them back in.
After nearly a year of preparing to move to Texas and several months of praying through my waffling heart, I’m suddenly pretty sure that I’m not moving to Dallas in December.
I had a lot riding on Texas. (Well, that’s a sentence I NEVER thought I would type…)
Texas was my only real plan at this point.
Throughout all of the chaos and transition of my last few months, moving to Texas was the only stable thing that seemed to make sense.
“I’m not going to enter into a lease here in Denver because I’m leaving in less than a year.”
“I’m not going to sign a teaching contract for next school year because I’m leaving after Christmas.”
“Thinking about getting involved with this activity or that ministry simply doesn’t make sense because I’m moving…”
Blah. Blah. Blah.
Texas was “it” for me and admitting that I was wrong… that I rushed into something (big surprise there)… that I have been trying to fit my stubborn square peg into God’s perfectly rounded plan… Well, that honestly is a blow to my pride and my adventure-obsessed heart.
Yet I know that it wasn’t all for nothing. I know that over the last few months as I have “prepared to move”, God has stripped me down in the most glorious way possible.
He has exposed some pretty gnarly idols and lies that were eating away at my blinded heart throughout all of this– idols of adventure, fear, comfort, and affection; lies about who I am and who I was before I fell in love with Christ…
And now? After being stripped completely of all of my plans and the paths that I was trying to stubbornly (Did I mention that I’m stubborn?!) create in my own wilderness, it feels like He is simply calling me to be silent and wait for His direction– something that I clearly suck at.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again– I’m guilty of being an over-committer, a go-er, a woman is seemingly incapable of sitting still for more than five minutes, even though God continuously has told me to simply sit my butt down and stay a while.
I am hungry for adventure and new destinations, when in fact, I should be hungry for Him and only Him.
Somehow, the fact that God is not a destination or a box to be checked on my bucket-list continuously slips my little mind.
Yet every time I stupidly forget who God is and what He has called me to, He reminds me that He is relational. And as He reminds me of this, He also reminds me that my relationship with Him consists not only of praying and meditating on His Word, but also of waiting and listening.
So, what better place to be silent and wait on Him than in Alaska?
(But seriously– I’m sitting on the terminal floor at DIA, waiting for my plane that leaves for a tiny village in Alaska in less than an hour… It’s funny; it’s like God knew that I was going to be a scatter-brained, mental-case right about now and would be needing a week away from my distracting life here in Denver, in a secluded village in the mountains where I can focus on little but Him.)
Photo credit: Kathryn Bronn (Click here for more photos of where I’m headed and for an awesome blog post from one of my favorite ladies.)
In the midst of my breathtaking, but busy life here in Denver, it is easy for me to forget that silence and stillness are necessary and beautiful parts of my relationship with God. I cannot admit enough that it is incredibly difficult for me to quiet myself completely and simply lay in His presence and wait for Him to move, but as I said before, I know that is what He is calling me to.
He is calling me to Himself.
Maybe He will still lead me to Dallas eventually. Maybe He will continue to tell me to park my tush right here in the community that He has brought me into.
Either way, I am (slowly) learning that I want Jesus more than adventure or forward motion— a lesson that seems like it should’ve been more straightforward and less confusing to begin with… but nope. I’m hard headed and obviously easily confused when I’m not constantly listening for God’s voice in the midst of my own chaos.
But as I’ve read through the Psalms this summer, I have realized that David continuously wrote about this confusion within his heart and mind, and for that, I am incredibly thankful. (After all, if David, “The Man After God’s Own Heart” didn’t have anything concretely figured out either, I’m probably not doing too bad in life.)
All throughout the Psalms, David teaches an incredibly important lesson– When you don’t know what is going on, go humbly and honestly before the Lord; pray and then wait.
Sometimes God answers prayers and moves quickly. Sometimes He doesn’t. And I’m learning that slow answers are equally as beautiful.
As a wise blogger once wrote, (okay, wrote four days ago…)
“David knew a thing or two about waiting. Even after Samuel appointed him king of Israel, David didn’t immediately go slay Goliath. Saul was not promptly impeached and David sworn in. David had to wait. Before he could rise to his calling to become king in the future, he had to fulfill his responsibilities—as a shepherd—in the present. And so do we.” (Read this awesome post about waiting on God on Relevant here.)
“Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
all you who wait for the Lord!”