Expect the unexpected
I remember sitting on a picnic bench eating ice cream with my good friends Chris and Lauren right before I moved out of Rochester last year. I had come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going to get a job in the next 24 hours and needed to move home for an undetermined amount of time. Chris asked me how long I thought I’d be there before I found a job and moved again? I said I thought that if I was still there by the time the holidays arrived, that would be a really long time.
It’s a year later, and I’m sitting on my parents’ couch, writing this post.
Suffice it to say it never crossed my mind that I’d be home for this long. It also never crossed my mind that when I did leave home, it would be for what I’ll be embarking on now.
Remember when I was an admissions counselor?
Oh yes…this is happening. You are not being punk’d! We are going to party like it’s 2008, because in just a few short days I’ll be hitting the road for another tour of duty in Roberts admissions. It’s a much shorter season – I’ll only be doing the travel component from September through November – but it’s a return to admissions all the same, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.
This is what I love about God’s grace: He takes my “please don’t make me do that’s” and turns them into “I’m totally making you do that…and it’s for your good and My glory.” In the past year I’ve had about a zillion and five of those moments. Moments that made me wonder if God and I were on the same page, because we clearly had different interpretations of the conversations we were having.
I rarely, if ever, come to the same conclusion that God does when I talk to Him about my circumstances. I think a really good answer would be to just go ahead and provide for my needs in the obvious ways: a steady job, a car that works, a man, an address, any sense of normalcy. But God doesn’t seem to think like that. He seems to want me to actually learn something about who He is and who I am by making me take a harder road than I would have chosen for myself.
And come to find out…that works really, really well.
A year ago, when I was looking for any writing job I could get, I thought that God would provide one for me. The conviction to move and find a writing job was crystal clear; I knew that He would follow through. But then He zigged when I thought He would zag. Instead of a job and a new place to live, He gave me a car that broke down on moving day and boxes moved into my childhood bedroom and a green apron at Starbucks.
And a humbled heart that was quiet enough to hear what He was telling me in those early days of doubt:
Don’t give up. Don’t lose heart. This is still My Plan A. Believe in what I’m doing, even if you don’t understand it yet.
Apparently Jesus wasn’t lying in this verse:
True. Story. I did not realize then what He was doing. I’m just starting to understand.
This year I learned an old lesson in a new way: there is nothing God won’t do to help me understand the depth of His love for me. Even if I don’t initially understand what He’s doing. When it seemed like He was closing the door on the life I wanted, on the life I thought He had told me to go all-out for in the first place, He was showing me what I really wanted, and what I was willing to give up to get it. He gave me the courage to start believing in the dreams HE has for me, not the ones I had for myself and assumed He had for me too, and asked me to step into them in faith that He would make them realities in His time.
I’m learning that when it comes to living in relationship with Christ, the only sure thing you can expect is the unexpected. And that unexpected thing, whatever it is, usually comes wrapped in circumstances that you never would have chosen for yourself.
But it’s always the right thing, isn’t it?