I promise I’m not trying to go all Julian of Norwich here, even though one of my goals in life is to be a latter-day 14th-century mystic. (Without the whole living in a brick cell thing.) But these conversations are actually quite helpful. Helps negate the pirate voice.
God, I have another question. Am I doing the right thing? Am I pursuing your design for my life, or am I running away from necessary and natural hardship? I’m afraid the quitting is becoming a pattern. Maybe it’s a reaction to feeling like others have given up or abandoned me; i.e., if I can’t leave the people who hurt me, I’ll leave situations that aren’t perfect just to exercise some form of “No.”
Haven’t I always provided a next step, though? This time around you waited, my dear, until some possibilities that fit what you had learned about yourself started to come up. With Lima and TCS, you jumped without a safety net, so you grabbed the first thing that reached out to you–which may not have been the best.
Maybe it actually took more faith to wait for those doors to open, then! And here I thought I was being a wimp not wanting to let go of the old until a legitimate prospect came along.
All of it takes faith, and faith pleases me. Well done, good and faithful servant.
Can I ask another question? What about the photography? Is that going to be a hobby or a profession? I feel like trying to make a living from it sucks all the joy out of it.
What about it brings you joy?
Getting to know people. Sharing their celebrations. Making memories, revealing truth and beauty.
So do that. Do that in a way that is sustainable. Serve others in a way that enriches your soul. Don’t worry about the money as long as you invest within your means. Wait until you have the resources. Be patient: I will provide.
One last thing for today. If it’s true that I’ll be judged/treated the same way I judge/treat others, then I want to change. I want to be generous again with my time and my money, but it seems like those are almost mutually exclusive.
Generosity is an attitude, not just an action. Do you have a generous heart?
Not as much as I used to.
Why is that?
Because I feel the world…or you…have not been generous to me.
What do you lack still, my child?
Someone–a person–I can rely on to always be there in a partnering sort of way. Is it because I keep everyone at arm’s length, or do I push away reflexively because everyone leaves eventually? I feel like I’ve been left behing while everyone moves on. Or worse, like I’ve missed my chance for the best, that I let it go thinking, believing, there was something better…but there really isn’t.
That’s an awful feeling, isn’t it?
Yeah, it is.
I’m sorry you feel that way. Can I sit with you in this feeling? have to wait a lot, too. Wait to walk with all my loved ones, wait for them to figure things out for themselves, wait for the ultimate truth and beauty and goodness. Let me wait with you.
(Sunday, September 16, 2012)
I do feel a change in me, stirring in response to this reinfusion of your word and community into my life.
Don’t be afraid of it. This is a good thing. It will open the way to more good, sure, but most of all it will open your heart again to delight in what is now.
You know what the funny thing is? I’m actually more excited about Africa now than when I first heard about the opportunity in Nigeria. The last two times I have always started out very excited and then shrunk back.
Why do you think that is?
Well, I think I was just really burnt out spiritually when it first came around and I wasn’t ready to even think about it. I didn’t want adventure, I didn’t want to take risks, I didn’t want to trust God’s provision…I didn’t want to obey?
Why the question mark?
Because I’m not sure if you are commanding me to do this. I believe you’ve commanded me to love you with all my heart, soul, and mind. You’ve commanded me to rejoice. You’ve commanded me to love my neighbor as myself. And I suppose that these commands pertain to the heart first and foremost, but don’t actions come from the heart.
They do. Let me heal your heart first and the actions will become clear on their own. Trust me.
To be continued…