The Journey, Not the Destination.

Photo credit for each picture in this post: Kim Meagher

This gallery contains 4 photos.

September 23, 2012: I’ve often heard it said that it’s about the journey, not the destination, that counts. I’ve also heard that the journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step (or in this case, pedal). Keeping the two … Continue reading

“Figuring Out God’s Will For Your Life,” Revisited.

A reoccurring trap I find myself getting stuck in during this life stage is continuing to act with the same anxiety-ridden prayers and ways of relating to the God I was presented with from some Evangelical circles. The prayers where He needs to tell me exactly what to do, please, because I have to make a decision and it HAS to be the ONE decision He wants for me and I need to make that decision soon, now, because I can’t get it wrong! Afterall, I most certainly can’t spend another day doing something that isn’t your will, Lord!…

I think we do a disservice to both ourselves and to God when we continue praying to THAT God… the God who has prescribed a specific set of instructions for your life- and if you don’t follow them, in order, then clearly you’re not following His will and aren’t living out of His/Her “specific” will for your life.

Is that what God wants for us?
I mean, where do we draw the line?

Do we ask what “God’s will is” for our breakfast choices? Lord, show me if I should eat cereal or eggs for breakfast this morning. Help me, Lord, I need to know!

Is it “God’s will” for you to stay or to go or to move or to switch jobs or to leave the country or…

…I can hear those questions now. They roll around in my brain often (the jobs part, especially, not so much the eggs. I’m more of an oatmeal-on-the-run kind of girl).

But I’m done. To those thoughts and harried, twisted, fretful prayers, I bid you farewell.

You say we need faith like a child?
Well, then start simplifying, Child of God.

God has created each of our lives to have meaning, purpose and significance and S/He gives us gifts to show the world more and more of who She is. I just wonder if God is not so concerned with us “getting His will perfectly right;” rather, that we are finding Him along the journey in which He is walking with you. Beside you. Next to you. Embracing you. Encouraging you, present with you in this season, every season, every decision. Perhaps He’s not disappointed when we go left or when we turn right, U-turn or keep the same path, walk or run, or at our weakest moments, crawl. Yes maybe it truly is about the journey, not the destination. The process of becoming, rather than doing the “specific will.” I’m beginning to think all that He just wants you to know is that in life, there will be some goings and some comings, some dark valleys and some unsullied joy, some mess and some yes, some no-s and some grow, and that somewhere along the way, this journey, no matter how traversed, circuitous, or wild goose chase it’s been so far, he will certainly “lead you beside still waters” and refresh your soul.

And so tonight, as I catch myself praying one of those fretful prayers for the umpteenth time, I will stop. Look up. And remember that the God who has gotten us this far, can surely lead us to the next step. I will stop focusing on the destination and find solace in knowing that we will get there, someday, wherever “there” is, anyway. But what’s most important is the journey He’s taking us through, as we seek His face in the glory of the mountains and trees, seek His love in desert, and seek His heart in the times of uncertainty.

Yes, we’ve got a good Maker. And while we seek Him and take a look at where we are and how we’re doing, S/He’ll be making you, be making me.

For more thoughts on “God’s will for your life,” check out this talk by Donald Miller:

“If you have a donkey and it talks to you, God has a specific plan to your life. If you are a virgin and pregnant, God has a specific plan for your life… other than that, you kinda get to do what you want… You get to be really creative. The people who understand this CHANGE THE WORLD- the people who understand that me and God get to do something really cool out of the creativity of my imagination and the desire of my heart; they get their entire passion. But the people who say, “I’m so afraid that I’m not honoring God!”- they don’t do anything.”

I’m trading in my box. (A reflection on letters, hula hoops, and being the person God has created you to be.)

I received a letter in the mail today from a well-intentioned soul encouraging me to buckle down, get married and “procreate” (their words, not mine). I don’t think it’s prudent for me to share who the letter was from, but it was someone from whom I love receiving hand-written notes. I held the lined yellow paper closer to my face, but cautiously further from my heart, and continued to read. “Please stop and think outside the box.” “You should reproduce yourselves in children…” “You can help the world by producing several more children.” Warm tears made rivulets down my face. A deep cry ensued. Not a weepy cry, but a hemorrhaging cry from somewhere deep inside you that knows you will not be tamed, not succumb to the expectations of others, will grit your teeth and persevere to become the person God created you to be, no matter how hard the growing pains it will take to get there.

I continued to read words from pages to which I could find no visceral attachment. “You are in your best childbearing years. Please don’t waste them… You’ve always gone to our Father in Heaven for guidance, so open the door to your heart and let the light shine…”

I continued to cry. I mourned the loss of, apparently, young adulthood, because all of a sudden someone’s talking to me about creating life. A very adult thing to do.

I cried because I think God has called us to serve the least of these. And what I believe that looks like for me is not having a family right now. And if I do one day, I wish to adopt.

I cried because I heard from many influences how “good” it is for women to be Mom-my and wife-y. I haven’t heard as many say to go chase after the thing that gets your blood moving, that gets oxygen to your brain, that says to be contraire, to go another way, to try, to risk failure, to travel, to live with wreckless abandon the story you wish to co-author with God, not the life that someone else has scripted and wished-up for you. No. I’ve heard plenty of voices remind me to multiply and fill the Earth, to be pro-family, but not as many voices remind me that we are already family. One day last summer, I met a gentleman at a volunteer event whom I will never forget. In conversation, he mentioned his wife. I asked if they had kids (mostly because I had moved back to Baltimore and was looking for more friends). He responded, “No; we didn’t wish to have any kids. We wanted to have more time available to serve God in other capacities.” I was amazed. Why did his story seem so shocking? Have we such narrow-minded a view to think we can’t be a family without having children?

Pent up energy, passion, righteous anger, and tears continued outpouring out of my soul. But of all that I was crying about, I cried most of all because I was being encouraged to do something that God has not called me to do.

The biggest disservice we can do is to take someone away from God’s calling on their life simply because you think you know what their calling is or should be. God is wayyy more original and bigger than that.

God may very well call you to family. You may be impassioned to create and raise children in the home. You may be equipped to be a president, a CEO, a full time employee serving God with your forty (or fifty or sixty) hours a week. We, especially women, need to get past this and link up. We don’t have time to tear each other down with who is “doing it better,” “doing it right,” or “doing it wrong.” We only have time to encourage each other to be the best person we can be– the best teacher or doctor or pastor or construction worker and/or Mom we can be. We only have time to respect one another’s decisions and simply observe such choices as that person’s way of following through with what God has placed on their heart. Enough with the comparisons, the critiques, the should’s and the should nots.

You see, the problem with boxes is that they’re secluded. You pack things in boxes. You tape them shut. You store up old papers and things you don’t really need inside of them. They’re not permeable. What was that song we used to sing when we were kids? A circle is round and has no end? I say, let’s trade in our insipid boxes and jump in the circle of global sisterhood that affirms and encourages your other sister no matter how similar or different your lives look. Better yet, let’s not stop there. We live on a circle called Earth. All seven billion of us. It’s time we leave our boxes by the curb for recycling and become the men and women, sisters and brothers we were meant to be, doing our best everyday to create Heaven on Earth, no masks, no masking tape, no boxes, just all of us, anyone who wants it, inter-connected inside of one big, brilliant, beautiful, never-ending hula-hoop circle of love.


You Don’t Have to Raise Your Hand Anymore.

Sometimes I still get caught waiting… waiting for permission.

I’m not sure where along the way I developed the notion that you had to ask for permission to voice your opinion, to share your hurts, to offer another viewpoint, to experience different churches, to try different ministries and ways of serving, to find God in ways other than the Bible.

Perhaps it’s nothing more than the “nice-girl-syndrome” that both the church and society often place upon females, being subtly taught to smile, always smile, be polite, share all of your toys, be nice…

But I don’t want to be a “nice girl” anymore.

No. I’m discovering that we were meant to be courageous, be brave, contrarian, strong, and bold… to be women of peace but not passivity, to be women and men of kindness, but not doormats. To be loving, but remembering that the command was to “love God as you love yourself.”

I truly believe that l, and many women and girls too, today, are acting like we are raising our hands, properly seated at our desks, feet crossed around the ankles, waiting to be called upon. Just yearning for one person to call on us, to let us speak, to let us try. I’m absolutely terrified and yet at the same time completely ecstatic to remind that you don’t have to raise your hand anymore. You don’t need permission, because dear Child, in Christ, you are already free. You already have permission. And not only do you have permission, but you actually have a responsibility. To speak out against injustice. To make the church more just and equitable, no matter the gender or sexual orientation. To try. To mess up. To get it wrong. To receive grace and open arms, ready to welcome you in as you spread your wings.
So use that voice. Lift up that head. Turn your whisper into ebullient communion. Yes, step out; You don’t become bold and strong and brave by sitting in your seat. No, that’s not for you.

It’s scary, I know, stepping out onto the edge. None of us can hit fast-forward and watch the scenes unfold in our lives to make sure that we’re not just telling ourselves nice things for a moment of comfort, condolences for lost time, but really… deep within my core… I really believe it. I believe we are rising up, each one of us, finding our voices, waving and embracing and opening doors with the hands we used to raise. We’re going to find freedom.  We really are. Yes you are going to pursue your impassions and when people disapprove, in due time, you’re going to feel a small self-assured smile come over you. It will be your clue, your token, your sign of knowing you’re doing the right thing. You’re living the way you were meant to live… something to the tune of what Sarah Bessey once wrote: “To piss a few people off and sing freedom to the rest.”

I’m so excited. My desk is gone and my hand is no longer raised. It’s time to head out to recess and sing, hop, skip, run, jump into reckless songs of freedom. Class dismissed.