What Now?

Otherwise known as, “What is God’s plan for my life?” Or, “What in the world, this is NOT how I thought it would go!! What am I gonna dooo?? (AIO reference)”

So… recently my dad told me there’s a new thing now. It’s a “quarter century crisis” or a “quarter life crisis” or something along those lines. Something about freaking out when you’re in your mid-twenties. And I grinned a bit, but said that I can understand that. Of course I’m not at a quarter century yet and won’t be for a year and a half ish (eek), but still–I get it.

And I’m not the only one. The more I talk to and observe  people, especially young ladies, the more I realize how common this is. Things don’t really go how we thought they would, especially when we were younger and thought that of course we’d be married (or in some sort of ministry or career) by 18 or so.

We’re 20 something, not married, not really “settled” in any sort of career or ministry yet… wondering what it all means and what we’re supposed to do.

Of course I don’t have it figured out yet… but I do have a few thoughts forming.

The first is that dreams must die: must be surrendered to God. This doesn’t mean that we can’t dream, or that dreams are bad. Far from it. I think dreaming and dreams are wonderful things. But like everything else, if they are not given to God, they can take a wrong position in our hearts–and they can end up being quite harmful, whether fulfilled or not.

God has dreams for us, too. And as one of the Bright Lights girls said last week (when giving a testimony about giving up a life-long dream), God’s dreams are way more amazing than ours. So as we surrender our dreams, it makes room for His. Which may or may not include our dreams (only better).

The second is that… our lives here will never be as picture-perfect as we’d like. Life just is rough and confusing sometimes; well, most all the time. And often the most important things, the things that really make a difference, are rather boring and hard and not very noticeable. We may never even realize, if we don’t look hard, what God is doing during these in-between stages. We may not realize that He is using us powerfully, here, when we least “feel” or expect it.

Third, we need to be patient. With God, with ourselves, with… life. We need to rest in God, knowing that He will work it out as we trust and obey and love Him. He does have a plan and a purpose for us. We’ve got to reconcile ourselves to the fact that we don’t have everything figured out, and THAT IS OKAY, because God does. Sure, some people do (or seem to), but often, very often, God totally turns those plans on their head. (I know what that’s like.) So… just enjoy the ride. People will think you’re crazy, but oh well.

Fourth, YOU ARE ALIVE. Really. I promise. Right now, in your confused, in-between state, you are still a person. So LIVE. Pray. Be grateful. Love the people you’re with. Praise God where you’re at. Look for ways to serve, no matter how small. Remember that even if you are not “Doing anything Important” you can still be developing character that will last. God often does His deepest work behind the scenes, in the quiet times of our lives.

Fifth, (why is it spelled that way? It’s so awkward. Anyways.) don’t just sit around. Waiting on God doesn’t mean waiting like sitting around, it means waiting like trusting and working faithfully right where you are. God will bring along opportunities to serve, to try new things, to travel, to meet people. Take them!! If they don’t work out, well, now you know one more thing that isn’t right for you. But you’ll still learn something; you’ll still grow. And maybe the next thing that comes along will be the one you’ve been looking for. So just keep looking, keep trying new things. Remember that each experience helps to shape you into the person God wants you to be.

I probably could come up with more things, but I think I’ll just stop there. What is God teaching you during this stage of your life? What opportunities have you had recently that you might not have if your life had gone “as planned”? What are you grateful for right now, in this place?

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17 Days!

Til we leave for Central America, that is. Crazy! I don’t think I really believe it yet. I probably won’t till after we are on the airplane, and even then I probably won’t. Oh well.

All the legal and money stuff is done now, which is awesome. Now we just need to keep learning Spanish, stop eating sugar (for the last two weeks, in hopes of staying healthier and maybe getting less bug bites.), pack, and hopefully get more donations (both monetary and actual stuff) for the people down there.

I don’t really feel ready, particularly spiritually. I’ve been struggling with unbelief/doubt. By struggling I mean that I have not just been giving in to these thoughts– I’ve been fighting against them in various ways. But it’s… not nice. I would appreciate prayer.

I am realizing that God is preparing me, though, even through the doubts themselves, and that as I submit to Him, He will prepare me in the way He knows is best. So I am resting in that.

Besides trip preparation, we have a lot going on.. my mom left for Missouri yesterday and won’t be back till next Sunday, plus we have something going on every day this week. (we definitely have no reason to say we are bored!)

Bright Lights is tonight (we bumped it to the third week this one time because last week we just returned from camping.).

It is about being fully dedicated to God–a pretty huge topic/decision. Not something I want to present or ask lightly. If you do it–or rather ask God to–He will, and it will be hard. Glorious, but hard. It will be worth it all in the end, but we must be prepared to stick it out, to stay in the fight. Even when it doesn’t make sense and there are so many doubts and difficulties. If you see this tonight (Monday the 18th) , please pray for us. 🙂

The Rock Tumbler

So I’ve been struggling inwardly with various things–some of them really deep. (prayers appreciated!)

Last night I finally prayed the way I needed to… and during that prayer, something came to mind that helped some things make more sense to me. Whether or not God showed it to me, I’ll leave you to decide. But it helped me out quite a bit, and I thought it might help some of you. 🙂

I first thought of a jewel or a gemstone… and then rather abruptly saw the process that went into making it all smooth.

First there was the more drastic part of sanding/cutting away parts, making it roughly into the right shape.

But then there’s the tumbling part; the part where there’s lots of little grains of sand, and lots of tumbling, and lots of annoying noise, and you can’t see what’s happening, and it takes SO LONG. (at least the little dinky one we had once did.)

And I’ve been feeling that lately.

I don’t see what God is doing. Sometimes I think I haven’t got anywhere at all, at least not on the inside.

There are many little “grains of sand” that annoy me and bother me and distract me.

I’ve definitely been feeling quite tumbled about, especially in my mind. It’s hard to know which way is up sometimes.

There’s been a lot of noise, inwardly and outwardly, and it doesn’t seem to be doing any good. All it seems to do is confuse me.

It seems like I’ve been in this place for a while, a long while, and I don’t know when it will end and I wish it would just hurry up.

And… having that image in my mind of the rock tumbler makes it all make a little more sense. God IS working, even though I can’t really see it and it just feels annoying and confusing. I’m realizing that I am not really used to this part yet. I was braced fairly well and mostly trusted God for the first round; the really hard stuff. But now this endless tumbling about with tiny grains of sand… ugh. Not nice.

But now I can understand, a little more, of what God is doing. And I am learning to be patient with Him as He allows me to go through this time in the Rock Tumbler. He knows what He’s doing, and He knows the outcome. I just need to submit to His work.