Trying to Live Freely

I turned 23 last week.

For the first time in four years, I didn’t have finals (to take or to study for) on my birthday. That was nice. The rest of the day, I was informed, I spent like an 80-year-old lady.

happy 80-year-old lady.

But continually in the back of my mind as of late has been the upcoming anniversary of my graduation.

One Year.

And it’s crazy to think about where I am now and where I thought I would be by now. If you would have asked me then, I would be living and working in DC (or a smattering of other cities that I was interested in). Though now, with the current political climate, I am thrilled that I am not living there.

I was not going to be living at home. I was not going to be living in Goshen.

But here I am. For better or for worse. I made a commitment to myself last fall to begin settling down. I didn’t know where I was going, or if I was going anywhere. But I knew that what I was doing, this aimless living was not “abandoning myself to God.” I needed to trust that living here was a task given to me. And having a sermon series at church and a Sunday school series that felt like God was grabbing me by the shoulders and trying to knock a little sense into me also helped.

We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. Source

So I did. In the beginning of the year, I began volunteering as a small group leader in middle school ministries at my church. And you know what, that itself was a wonderful surprise. I adore the girls I help lead and I have more opportunities on the horizon at church. Like so many points in my life have been, I know that I will look back on this time and see God’s fingerprints.

Like so many points in my life have been, I know that I will look back on this time and see God’s fingerprints.

Nevertheless, I struggle with contentment and feeling certain that this is where I’m meant to be. It’s that always how it seems to go? Or am I alone in this? “O me of little faith.” I still often feel like I’m driving around a roundabout. And it’s frustrating just going around and around. I like directions. I like to know where I’m going.

“We have a lot less control in life than we wanna believe. because no amount of personal control will be ever enough to ensure our safety. No amount of control will ever remove our fears.” –Carl Frost, pastor at Revolution Chuch, Muncie, Indiana speaking at Commonway Church, Muncie, Indiana

Wondering where or why. Just… waiting in place. And part of me is terrified I’ll never leave this place. And part of me is terrified to leave. I yearn for adventure and independence but enjoy the proximity to the known and my family. I see my friends moving on and taking steps in their lives and I still feel… stuck.

Yet as I find myself making more commitments in this place, I wonder if I’m not on a roundabout but on cruise control instead. (Call me a pendulum, swinging between stuck and coasting.) Not in a rut, just… heading to the next exit. And I have to accept that I don’t know when that is or where it will lead me. This is not a dead end. I’m not a fan of uncertainty. Spontenaittey is not my middle name. No matter how much I like to pretend I can just go with the flow. My friends can attest to that.

“I can only fly freely when I know there is a catcher to catch me. If we are to take risks, to be free, in the air, in life, we have to know there is a catcher. We have to know that when we come down from it all, we’re going to be caught, we’re going to be safe. The great hero is the least visible. Trust the catcher. – Henri Nouwen

May I learn to live freely here. Like a child tossed in the air by her father, may I learn to always trust the catcher.