Entry written on August 3, 2014 -- Last Sunday at home church in WA, this week to Messiah College
There’s a difference between my adventures, and God’s plan.
I’m a planner. List-maker. To-do list queen. Whatever you want to call it, I’m your girl. In short, I feel the most safe when I have a plan. When there’s a lengthy list of tasks to complete in front of me, I go into what my boyfriend calls my “to-do list mode”. I can be super productive in a concentrated amount of time because I don’t have to think about, or plan for, or ask anyone, what’s next.
But I’m graduating university in a little over 3 months. And when college seniors say that don’t know what they are doing after graduation, it’s because THEY DON’T. I used to judge these people, thinking that they should at least know what they’re doing after they are handed their diploma, especially after four-something years. BUT I GET IT NOW. Truth of the matter is, I can’t even start applying for jobs and expect an interview date until the middle of my final semester. I’ve been job hunting since Thanksgiving, and have sent out so many, y’all, but because I’m not able to go in for an interview or set an official day to start employment that’s within the next 2-3 weeks, employers either file my resume to the back, or throw it away entirely. And I’m not the only one. A number of students in my capstone class last semester had to put down a security deposit for their next apartment before knowing for sure if they “got the job”.
As if college students need one more thing to freak out about.
So, moral of the story? There is no way for me to plan this next season of life. At least, not yet. No list will ever be long enough to really prepare me for what’s to come. There’s not a class that can tell you what “the real world” is going to look like.
But there’s a difference between my adventures, and God’s plan.
In the Bible, Abraham up and left his life. His home, his friends, the majority of his family, his culture. All familiarity and any sense of belonging stood still as Abraham walked away…because of a hunch.
But was it really a just a hunch? What’s the difference between going according to God plan, and moving on a hunch? How do you tell the difference? I’ve struggled with this concept for years, but it’s especially prevalent now, given the impending doom of the real world and whatnot.
But here’s what I’m thinking: if it was up to me, I would have never left Papua New Guinea behind. I would have kept all of my friends and family in a freeze frame, crystalizing every thought and every emotion just so I would never have to say goodbye. But praise God, I’m not in charge, because 1). That’s be stupid and 2). I have learned so much by moving, saying goodbye, saying hello and living in constant motion. Looking back, I know that it was God moving me to first Messiah College, and then Liberty University.
But how do I know now? Like…beforehand. Because, if I’m honest leaving Papua New Guinea was inevitable, and even though getting my diploma is too, I have a whole lot more choices to make than I did when I was 18. And a lot more unknowns. Is leaving Virginia inevitable too? What about jobs? Am I really even qualified to work the in-field jobs people keep asking me about? And is long-distance really inevitable after I walk across that stage, too?
It’s all very complicated.
But as I wrote out all of these questions, I stopped. Frustrated with myself and the situation, I looked down, and read the phrase written in my own handwriting:
“Trust me. Just get in the truck.”
Idk how this relates to Abraham in Bible times. Pretty sure “just hop on my donkey” would have been a bit more timely. But “Trust me. Just get in the truck” is a vivid, and powerful, image of a real-life Jesus inside of a dusty, bent up truck, holding out his hand to me. His hands are calloused and dusty, which is both interesting and unorthodox, because in my mind Jesus was always clean, and put together. Jesus is God’s Son though, so I mean come on, he’s always put together. But the fact of the matter is, Jesus, the Son of God, was from the small town of Nazareth. His earthly father was a carpenter, and so much of the time when he was in ministry, he was walking on a dirt road. For miles.
So yeah, I think Jesus’ hands have seen a little mud before.
His hand is stretched out to me, and his smile is warm and kind. I instantly become intensely aware of how sweaty I am, and how frizzy my hair looks. I’d been walking alone for such a long time, next to this back road in the middle a desert nowhere, I’m pretty sure my once fair complexion has burned through and through, from the relentless intensity of the sun. My body is so tired, from the miles I have walked, from the heat, from the loneliness—I’m not sure it can make it much longer.
His hand, dusty and worn, attached to a holy body that could be doing a million more important things for a 7 billion more important people, grips my dying and destructive hand. I step into the truck, finally sheltered from the angry heat outside. Jesus flips on the A/C, and the cool air rushes across my face, through my hair, and up and down the rest of me. Do I trust him completely? No. I don’t think so. But I’m in the truck.
And I'm not totally sure this is the "holy" or "Christian" thing to say. But trust-- that's a big deal. And I would be lying to you if I said that I understand what it means, or that I'm ready for it yet. But I am in the truck. I am in the right place to learn what I need to learn, and in the right company to ask all the wrong questions. In the arms of the good, and gracious God so that I might someday soon trust His good and gracious decisions.
What’s to come will come. But I would have died out there on my own, and now that I’m in here with Jesus, the Son of God and of Nazareth, I not only have shelter from the sun, A/C and a faster way of transport, I have Jesus, the Son of God and of Nazareth. The road ahead is unknown, and who knows how long this truck will last on this burning road. It won’t be easy letting Jesus guide me through this journey. He could take a left when I think a right is best, or he could go straight when all I wanna do is go back. It won’t be easy. He could stop the truck completely, on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, for what I believe to be, no reason at all.
But I am in this, with Jesus. And whenever he does something I don’t understand, he’ll never leave, even though I am so busy searching for my direction, I don’t see him. He may not say anything for awhile, but that doesn't mean He has decided He doesn't want me anymore.
And to know that I am loved and protected and not alone, is earth shattering.
I may not know how to trust Him completely, but here I am, Lord.
May I be ready to be guided down this road, may I be ready to cry, to let go of the things I think that I need, may I be ready to face this next life with grace, humility and compassion.
May I live 2 Corinthians 4:8-12 in this season, and in everyone to follow:
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
There is so much more I want to say, but I hope that this is what someone needs to hear right now. Or will, eventually.
God bless you, dear reader. You mean the world to me, and to God. Please remember that.