Little by Little

“E.L. Doctorow once said that ‘writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice about writing, or life, I have ever heard.” Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Right now, I’m sitting on my patio listening to the trees rustle and my neighbor’s garage open. The Sun is blinding. I’m sitting typing on my phone. My brother and nephew constantly interrupting any growing thought I might have.

I’m loving every second of it.

Last month, I quit my job. I walked out midday and didn’t look back. I screamed of victory and restoration. I screamed for joy. I screamed for freedom, which comes close to the freedom I felt the day I was saved.

One of my friends, my parents, my brother, they all asked me what it felt like, and for over a month I have been failing myself to describe what it is I feel. That quote is what it feels like. I don’t know where I’m going. I have no idea what I’m going to pass, but I know, eventually, I will get to where I’m supposed to be.

I look at the time, and I know if I were at that job, I’d be sitting in a grey cube, listening to people complain, and calculating the time in which I will be relieved. I wouldn’t have seen the Sun. I wouldn’t have experienced all the things that happen during my days now. There would be no volunteering, no serving. There would be no working my own hours and earning twice an hour what I made at that job. There would be no passion.

I’m grateful that the job I had was the provision I needed until I found the courage to step out into what is unknown. I thank that job for being what I needed it to be at that time, but my GOD, do I thank for saying, “It is done.”

So, I’m sitting on my patio, watching the Sun park itself behind my neighbor’s trees. I’m watching bees fly around my ankles. I hear my family playing basketball, and I feel it: My cup runneth over. I can only see a few feet in front of me. I have no idea what else I’ll get the privilege of witnessing, but I know it’s going to be good.

Life is not about doing what you want to do or about what you have to do, it’s about doing what God tells you to do. I was terrified of quitting because all I could think of was the bills I have to pay, but God says, “So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” It wasn’t until I left that I realized, my stuff owned me. I was living to pay bills and be mediocre. That’s not my intended use.

I’m not sure how or when the things I know to be true will come to pass, but I wholeheartedly believe, that they will come. I finally found the words to say, and it is a relief.

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A Multifaceted Me

During my quiet time with Papa before church, I said, “I feel like I’m supposed to have an answer for a question, but I don’t know the question, and I don’t have the answer. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to fix whatever it is that’s broken.” I paused for a bit, waiting for a passionate response to a question I could not form. It didn’t come. The only thing that lingered in the air was my, “I don’t know.” 

I got to church a little late and sat in the back. I knew only a few songs, and I could tell by the atmosphere that it was going to be one of those nights. A night when the Apostle ditches his sermon and speaks directly from the heart–a Holy Spirit kinda night. For one reason or another, I wasn’t having it. I wanted a simple sermon where I could take notes and read around the Scriptures given. I wanted to be spoon-fed my solution. 

I typically sit in the back of the sanctuary for no other reason than I like it. I like the openness. I like that when I get there, no one’s there, but by the time praise and worship is over, a plethora of people have poured in without me noticing. I love seeing other people worship God. I think that’s pretty cool. However, yesterday, I didn’t even want to stand up. I made up my mind that praising Papa was not what I needed in that moment. But, the more I listened to the Apostle, the more I knew this night, like many other Wednesday nights, was intentional. 

Somewhere down the road I swapped seats with The Driver. I gave Papa my map made out of crayons and napkins. I doodled my potential detours in the margins. Papa in all His glory, held my map. He said nothing when destinations were smudged off. He said nothing when I asked for directions except, “This is your map, but I can drive if you want me to.” (Sounds awfully similar to: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8 NIV.) I knew a little of where His map would lead me to, and that’s in a position that I didn’t think I earned. I pitched a fit, but I still pulled the car over to reverse what I had done. 

How I see myself and how I think Papa sees me are thoughts that should not be dwelled upon. I saw myself as always doing one thing, excelling at it, but never being able to veer away from that core. That’s how I thought He saw me too. I can be a teacher, but I can also be a better counselor. I can be someone who excels at serving. I can be more than one thing. 

What I found out post church was that I wasn’t nervous about succeeding. I was nervous about not knowing what it felt like to complete what He designed. I forgot that Papa wants to make me His multifaceted giver. For a while, I was doing what I wanted and occasionally looking at Papa in the passenger seat making sure He didn’t jump from the car. Oh, how wrong I was. He drives. I sit shotgun with a pen and paper ready to write down what He points out. As much as I couldn’t admit it yesterday, it was nice being back in the passenger seat. It was nice recognizing how and where I fall short and where Papa picks up. 

My mind limited me to thinking God was rooting me into a small, grey box. A box that would only be opened for special occasions and events. I would never get happiness, but happiness is subjective and silly. Happiness is something I have in one moment and lost in the next. I was so focused on what I didn’t want to become or what I didn’t like, that I missed everything that I am. I am who He made me to be. If the driving force to His destination is happiness then I have already run out of fuel. I need peace and the patience to stand firm in the direction my life has already taken. 

My doubt was nothing more than a reminder to remain steadfast. Nothing seems to make sense right now, but I have to know it will make sense later. That’s so much easier said than done. That’s a multiple times a day reminder, which is more effort than I am willing to give. Surrendering in itself is terribly difficult for me, but at some point, I have to put effort into something. I have to put effort into keeping my relationship with Papa, and part of that is always letting Him drive. 

“Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭16:24-26‬ ‭MSG‬‬