If I try and hug him, stop me.
If I try and hug him, stop me.
What do I think love is?
Pete Wentz, Gray
it’s been a long time since i’ve sat down to write with the intention of sorting through my jumble of thoughts and emotions. it’s a lot easier to ignore the tangle and shove it deep into my metaphorical mind closet, go about my day with it straining against the doors but at the very least still contained.
here’s what’s on my mind: i don’t know who i am and what i want to do with my life.
pretty typical mid-twenties-quarter-life-millennial-crisis blahblahblah. i don’t care if it’s overdone, i want to write about it all the same.
it’s been really stressing me out. all around me my friends are getting married, starting new relationships, stepping forward in their career, moving to new cities, settling in and growing roots and showing progress. and i’m not……not stepping forward? not moving to new cities? not growing roots? but i’m also not sure what my end destination is/will be, so it’s kind of difficult to say that there’s forward motion. how can there be progress when you don’t know what you’re working toward? i feel like i’m in limbo and on some grey cloudy oblivion—teetering, because i know something big has got to happen soon, but still, for right now, just teetering. and i keep thinking and thinking and thinking about all the options and paths and the widespread maze that lies before me with what feels like endless options: law school? public policy? teaching forever? writing? dropping everything and becoming a minister? professor? non-profit work? housewife?!?!?! legislator?!?!?!
anyway, the unknown is difficult. we all know that. i’m not here to talk about that.
i’m here to talk about three separate conversations i’ve had with my friends recently.
one of them is going through an eerily similar situation to mine. same age still single really loves Jesus in a short term teaching job but isn’t sure if it’s where she wants to be forever. i ranted to her about how difficult our life stage was, and how i’ve been asking Jesus for an answer about this career thing—and how He’s been completely silent. like, frustratingly, intensely silent. this is the first time in my life that i’ve been willing to listen to what He has to say before i make a decision and He picks now to be quiet?!?!?!
she looked at me with these deep blue eyes and smiled and said something so wise. (not verbatim, probz dramatized because i’m me.)
"grace, you’re a planner and a dreamer and a doer," she said ."so am i. i wonder if maybe God’s staying quiet for a reason. maybe if you knew, you’d just get to action and start moving in that direction, maybe you’d stop asking Him and talking to Him, maybe you’d stop listening. maybe He’s quiet on purpose so that you keep coming to Him."
that’s annoying as heck. but very, very wise.
she went on to say something else that wasn’t annoying: “and grace, for right now, i feel like God’s just telling me to be here. be here with Him. just love Him, live for Him, be with Him. the rest will figure itself out.”
i liked that part very much.
fast forward a bit and i’m talking to her older brother in a long car ride about basically the same thing—how i don’t know where i am and where i’m headed and what i want to do or who i want to be or where i want to live or who i’m going to marry or what my priorities are and it’s confusing and i’m frustrated.
he, older brother of the family, is equally wise if not wiser. he kind of hmmmm-ed at me, and then said something that helped me a lot (classic. and of course, also not verbatim, probz dramatized).
"grace, it’s like one of those habits from the seven habits of highly effective people. ‘begin with the end in mind.’ a lot of people live their lives climbing ladders and then, once they’re at the top, realize that they don’t want to be on top of this wall after all. you need to figure out what your end is first before you can move towards it."
that was exactly, exactly what was going on. i didn’t know my end—and i didn’t realize i didn’t know my end until i talked to him and he diagnosed it. this second conversation clarified everything.
okay, last conversation—with a friend that i care about very much. we were on a walk in the metroparks and discussing our futures, as we are apt to do. he’s a wonderfully intelligent person with ambition and dreams and this amazing knack for quiet analysis. this conversation surprisingly isn’t dramatized or misquoted.
"i don’t know anything about my life," this friend said. "except this: i want to love God and serve Him and His church."
it’s hitting me now, after all these separate conversations with all these separate people whom i love and value deeply, that i’m making something so simple very, very complicated. right now, i’m a teacher. i’m a Christian in a church. i’m a single, independent, free young woman. i love my friends, my students, my family, my Jesus.
i should be content in this.
the end goal will become apparent as i keep walking. the details will fill themselves in. after all, i have a Lord and a God who has never let me down yet. why do i not trust Him after all that He has done for me?
and furthermore, as i’m going, i should just love Him. just be with Him. just continue to trust trust trust listen listen listen. and it’s easier said than done, but i should just learn to love His presence and sit quietly at His feet.
because it’s true, what my last friend said.
i don’t know anything about my life except that i love my Jesus and want to serve Him and His church.
the rest will figure itself out.
He is a God of mercy with a design. it’s about time for me to surrender.
“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
my life is not my own; it’s Yours.