Lost in the Right Direction

stream pic (2) with textAll that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. ~J.R.R. Tolkein

When I moved to Athens with my best friend I quickly realized that she possessed a trait that I lacked: An internal compass. I was accustomed to her being our chauffeur from our small mountain town anytime there was an escapade , but when we moved I discovered that adventure, for her, was driving around Athens merely to see where roads would go. I, on the other hand spent hours pouring over a map in the living room trying to memorize road names and their connections. When I would ride with her, I marveled at her ability to always get us back to where we needed to be without consulting any sort of map. (This was before the days of handheld GPS.)

I remain the same. Sent on an errand to the “apartment around the corner” on my cousin’s wedding day, I ended up taking the scenic tour.  “Surely I can figure this out without Google Maps.”      Nope.       I was wrong.

This lack of a directional compass is indicative of my professional and private life as well. I have spent several years in what I call Limbo. Many of those years were coupled with the terror that, because of my life choices, I had irrevocably ruined God’s plan for my life. There have been a lot of detours. Forget plan B, I’m on plan F….. or maybe T.

Some years have been better than others. I have been blessed to see fruit in my students and friends, and God has been gracious enough to open my eyes to His power inthemidst of the mundane. There has been adventure, heartbreak, discontent and joy; often intermingled in my soul. Lately, however, I see unripe fruit hanging pregnant on the branch and I am longing for a harvest. Like my Father’s peaches a harvest is not inevitable. It is fraught with hazards of storms, predators and disease that may take the fruit before it’s time.  peaches with text

Last year we took a leap of faith. In the middle of navigating the new some things were laid aside; like this space. I threw myself headlong into my teaching career, while the fire of my recently acquired seminary degree simmered, waiting for the opportunity to truly be “used.”

My girlfriends from Asbury innocently ask “Where are you serving?” “When are you going to start preaching?”

Others, faithful friends, inquire about my silence… my lack of words– especially inthemidst of a nation in crisis. We’ve all watched and experienced a social and spiritual upheaval that shifts the expectant heart to thoughts of a broken Kingdom and longing for Christ’s return.

I tried to speak, but yet could not find my voice. I resigned myself to prayer and speaking clearly to those I love. If I am honest, speaking with conviction to those I love in the hopes they would pass on my words felt safe. All the while I kept asking,

At what point does a conscientious silent objector standing in solidarity become a guilty bystander?

I must admit that I have said to little.

And in the past few weeks I have felt the breathe of the Spirit fan the flame….I took on a bigger role on our Sunday school team, confidently and it fit like a glove. I am speaking the Gospel with boldness….. but I still felt torn. I began looking into a ministry internship and realized I  would probably not be accepted.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, ~Ephesians 3:20

I wrestled with the reality that I am being pushed toward advancement in my teaching career. I am reading books on leadership and feel something stirring but I cannot discern God’s will for these desires.

Despite an entire semester studying the false dichotomy of the sacred vs. the profane I feel less than content relegating myself to “workplace” ministry.  I am buying a lie that my value as a minister is less because I lack a title.

I feel as though I lost my map. 

And all this came bubbling over at a cabin in Asheville, last weekend where my sister and cousin (with their respective other halves) joined Nathan, the kiddos in I, in lodging for our other cousin’s wedding weekend. Being the oldest yet tiniest cousin, Tater holds a joy and effervescence toward life I long for. She is light. And she asked, “So what are you going to do?”

“I don’t know.” And I spilled. I think she got a longer answer than she bargained for. After quite a ramble she says,

“It’s OK, Codes. It’s good to be lost in the right direction.” 

In her light, bubbly, tone I heard Jesus– and it stopped me in my tracks.

She laughed at me: an easy, contagious laugh.

“It’s true Codes. You are, and it’s good.”

I can’t shake it. It is incredible truth.

So maybe you are feeling a little lost too;

like your passion for Christ or your dreams and desires just aren’t matching up to life….

Or you keep praying for clarity but God’s apparent plan for your life is not making any sense to you

And peace and maybe sleep are alluding you….

Sometimes, for me, the hardest part of walking the Christian life is simply the unknown. What next Lord? 

And probably for my own good, He withholds the answer. Until then I will rest knowing that what may seem like wandering, when I cannot see the forest for the trees, I know I am still following His voice.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. ~Phil. 1:6

One thought on “Lost in the Right Direction

  1. You worry too much! [not to be taken as unconstructive or degrading] God has a plan, but he doesn’t have to let you in on the secret….maybe you are a minute detail in a bigger scheme and all of this practice and studying and praying and preaching will take you to one moment, a second that just flies by and you might not recognize your contribution or see your value as it unfolds. I’ve learned, through a menagerie of sins and mistakes and experiences, that as long as we trust that God’s will CAN be and IS done without our deliberateness being imposed, then why worry that we are or are not doing God’s will?….You do you, and be the best you that you can be and you will find that God’s will is being done. “Just love everyone around you and pick up a little garbage on the way out and everything’s gonna be alright”…..Well that’s not exactly scriptural….it was John Sebastian at Woodstock, but it isn’t so far off from the Lord’s teachings. Finding your way in the world is hard….even for a sinner such as myself (especially for a sinner such as myself) but to also tack on this extra burden of “Am I doing what God wants me to do?” has to seem daunting. Its an extra yoke, a weight, a chain that you are fettered to unfairly. Didn’t God tell you what he expects from you in the Gospels? Didn’t Paul lay it out pretty well in Romans? Or in the Epistles I Peter or James? Why fight it? God wants you to go with the flow and be the best example and mouthpiece that you can be, and if something comes a long than good, and if it doesn’t, then keep shining your light on those around you and your purpose will be more clear.

    We love you, and keep up your good works….glad to hear from you.

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