Following Directions

“I don’t know.”  That was my entire response when asked what I was going to do next. Usually that response would be a defense mechanism for what I really know in my heart but am afraid to speak out of my mouth.  In this case, I really didn’t know, and the fact that I didn’t have a plan left me feeling a bit defeated.  Just as I began hanging my head with a bit of shame, my friend said, “Then this is a good time to let God tell you what to do.”

| Following Directions |

2019 will literally be the year of new beginnings for me.  No for real…I’m not just speaking in cliché (as if that is an actual language).  Within a matter of school days I will complete my 22 month journey through cosmetology school.  In approximately three months, my lease will end and I’ll have a new roof over my head.  Besides these two notable happenings, there are a few other things that are bound to shift for me this year.  I can remember welcoming the year 2018 while shaking in my boots because God had given me a glimpse of what he wanted to do through me.  I was overwhelmed and, quite frankly, scared because I didn’t believe I was capable of doing what he asked; furthermore, I had no clue how I could do what he asked.  2019 has begun, and I am once again shaking in my boots.  Unlike last year when I was trying something new, this year I am also doing some things over.  Doing something you’ve never done can be difficult due to fear of the unknown, but a do-over couples that fear of the unknown with the fear of failure.  I have done my level best to keep fear at bay; however, what I have been struggling with is uncertainty.

I am at the stage of my life where anything can happen, and that worries the crap out of my nerve.  Don’t get it twisted, I am ecstatic just thinking of the possibilities of what I could do and become, but in the same breath, I can’t for the life of me narrow that down the “what” or figure out how it will manifest.  I have shared in blogs past that I have some mild touches of anxiety, I am a supreme worry wart, and I am a master control freak.  I ordinarily have a Plan B for my Plan A and a back up to the back up.  Though I can think quickly on my feet, I typically don’t have to because I have thoroughly thought the plan through to every best and worse scenario.  Currently I am without much of a plan.  When asked what I am going to do once I graduate from cosmetology school, I don’t give the answer that is expected — the one that is seemingly the correct next step.  While other classmates are announcing what salon they are currently or waiting to work in, I am taking a riskier approach.  When asking where I’m moving to, I have an exuberant, “I DON’T KNOW!”  Apartment hunting has proven to be one of the most stressful and frustrating things I have done in a very long time.  When questioned about how long I’ll stay at my job, you already know what I am going to say.  I don’t know!  All of this uncertainty has been working my last good nerve and testing every ounce of my patience.  Sometimes I just want to yell up to heaven, “TELL ME SOMETHING!”  At this point of my life, I thought I’d be on stable ground: not starting over, not trying again, not figuring it out but walking the path that was clearly created for me.  Then something within me asked, ” Who said you aren’t on the right path?”

(“Something” is really God, and since he talks to me in clap back form, I’m sure he was well on his way to yoking me up and getting me together…per usual.)

Transparent moment: As I drove to work yesterday morning, I had one of the clearest epiphanies that I have experienced in a long time.  I had to admit to myself that I don’t like some things in my life.  (Okay, maybe I’m being a little vague).  In that moment, it clicked that my time in some spaces is up, and sooner than later I am going to have to make a move.  Here’s the thing about at the moment when you realize time is up, moving forward is scary as hell and staying put is dangerous as hell.  Typically when God is trying to shift me to the next thing, everything that I was once content with becomes uncomfortable.  I personally believe that no one willingly moves from a comfortable place.  Let’s take my bed, for example.  I am not a morning person, and I do not enjoy getting out of the bed to go fulfill obligations, but those obligations are the sole, and I mean only, reason why I have to peel myself from my comfortable place to get moving.  Back to yesterday.  So I had the epiphany, which was really confirmation to what I already felt, and I immediately began wrestling with accepting it.  For me, accepting it meant that I had to be prepared to move forward because staying put would only bring about more discomfort.  Sometime around 1:45 p.m. I found myself at my desk crying because one question rang in my head, “Move forward to where?”  Again, my answer sincerely was and is, “I don’t know.”

I envision myself in my car – engine running, a tank full of gas – ready to go with no clue where to go or how to get there.

Not knowing what to do is overwhelming.  Y’all, I feel like I don’t even know the first step to take!  If God would give me an overview of my path like Google Maps, I’d be fine, but in this particular season, I’m finding that God is less like Siri and more like that passenger that you are taking to a place that you’ve never been before.  You know what I’m talking about.  Your friend asks for a ride to Pookie’s house, and you’ve never been to Pookie’s house before.  You all get in the car, and the passenger says something like, “Go that way.”  After some time, they will call out one direction after another until finally you make it to Pookie’s house.  In past experiences, when we arrived, I realized I generally knew where we were and an easier way to get there.  Furthermore, after all of those individual twists and turns, I could barely remember how to get back! —WOAH! I just got a major revelation… I’ll share it in two seconds.God is not giving me all of the details upfront; he is saying, “Just drive, and I’ll tell you where to go.”

follow instruction

“The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.  I will advise you and watch over you.'”

Psalm 32: 8 [New Living Translation]

Whew, Jesus! I randomly ran across that scripture last night… Talk about it being right on time.

THE MORAL OF THE STORY

I DON’T HAVE TO KNOW WHICH WAY TO GO BECAUSE GOD DOES!  There is no need to use Google Maps, Waze App, or even MapQuest when you already know how to get where you are going.  (Well, you can use Waze to tell you where the cops are, but I digress.)  You don’t need help when you have it all figured it out.  In the same vein, we would be less likely to depend on God if we knew everything up front.  With that said, God will simply say, “Move,” and when you ask him for specifics, he’ll just give you another instruction.

Oh yeah, my revelation from two seconds ago…

God won’t tell me upfront where he’s taking me because I will abandon depending on him and revert to my controlling nature….but that’s not the good part.  Secondly, some of the twists and a turns are strategic so that I CAN’T GO BACK THE WAY I CAME!!! HA! When we remember how to get back to what we know, we are tempted to just turn around when we feel “lost” or like we are in unknown territory.  God is taking me a way that I’ve never been before not only to expose me to a new journey but to ensure that I never go back to where I came from.

Turn to your neighbor and say, “I’ll never go back!” #churchy

For the last five months or so, even more so in the past few weeks, I have been staring at the picture of my life trying to figure out its trajectory.  All I know is I’m almost done with school, I have to move, some things have to change, and there are “new assignments” that are nagging me daily.  Here I stand looking like Boo, the fool, because I have NO CLUE what steps to take.  I have exhausted my intellect trying to figure out a plan that will probably fail anyway.  (Remember I said in my blog What Did I Say?  “I had a plan, but God had his will.”  That’s the way the story always goes for me.)  Just after crying a few tears yesterday, reaching out my girls for some moral support, and once again confessing, “God I don’t know what to do,”  I ran across this scripture. 

“The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.  I will advise you and watch over you.'”

Let me make this plain…

Though God is really in control, he gives allows us to have free will — he’s not going to force us to do something, we’d just be living outside of his will for our lives if we go against him.  With that in mind, for the purpose of this illustration, I’d like to submit that God is the passenger in our cars.  He knows where we need to go, but he isn’t just going to “take us there.”  That would be too easy and require no work from us.  At best we’d just have to exercise faith and not be anxious because we aren’t in control.  Anyway, God is saying, “I want to take you somewhere.  Get on I-64 W.”  That to me is an example of him choosing the best pathway which offers a sense of direction.  Okay that’s cool, but I still don’t know where I’m going.  I-64 is the roadway to just about everywhere.  Then I envision God saying, “Get off that exit then turn left, but slow down.  Cops usually sit at the foot of that exit.”  That’s the part where he advises you.  Lastly, I can imagine him seeing the car I can’t see in my blind spot or the car that is about to dart out into traffic and him telling me, “Don’t get over just yet.  Slow down for just a second.  Wait before you pull off.”  He watches over me, or as the old church folk would say, “He protects me from dangers seen and unseen.”

I by no means have it figured out.  Y’all, I’m just praying, but when he tells me what to do, you’ll find me following directions.

proverbs 3.5-6

I hope this helps.
-Chris

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