Wandering and Wondering

Life changes. Fast. And sometimes when you’re not aware of it. I’ve been wondering recently where God is going, what He’s doing. Sometimes I can’t tell. I’ve been in a tumultuous season for what seems like a long time, beginning with the illness of my son-in-law. Before that, and for a time after his passing, it seems like I had a good handle on what I thought God wanted from me, what He was doing with this life He’s loaned me. I’m not so sure anymore.

After a summer that was fraught with concerns and throwing myself on the throne of grace begging for answers and direction, I got what I asked for…but it wasn’t what I expected. It felt more like a concession. A backtrack. A retreat from the direction I thought I was headed. I grumbled and complained, whined and cried over this change in direction. Since it was so different from where I thought we were going, I was almost incapacitated with fear that I was stepping out of God’s will. Yet the manner in which it all came about was so obviously God, I couldn’t deny it. Have you ever found yourself wondering if God knows what He’s doing? Like maybe He has His plan in place but somehow you got moved accidentally to someone else’s plan? A heavenly “whoops.” Like you’re waiting for that email that says “we’re so sorry for the inconvenience but we made a mistake…”

Yeah my head knows that God doesn’t make mistakes. It’s harder to convince my heart sometimes.

Now, I’m wondering if I’ve misread or misinterpreted everything I’ve experienced over the last year or so. I sincerely hope I’m not the only one. Does God ever move you in what seems like the total opposite direction of where you believe you’ve been called? What do you do with that?

Do I let go of the dreams and aspirations I’ve held on to for the last year or so? Do I hold on to them and assume that God has something He’s working out during this season of life and we’ll return to the “regularly scheduled program” in due time? These are questions I’d love to have answers to. I can’t truly question whether I’m doing what He has tasked me to do at the moment because He’s the One who opened the door.

So I walked through it, and now I’m standing here in the middle of this opportunity wondering what in the world I’m doing here. The odd thing is there’s a level of comfort and familiarity to this, and, weirdo that I am, that scares me too. I’ve had to lay that before Him, asking for His insight as to whether I’m comfortable because it’s an old and familiar thing, or if I’m comfortable because I’m letting go of what He’s given me to do. I don’t have an answer yet. Or I don’t think I do. If I do I haven’t recognized it. (Which is not unusual…I’m pretty thick-headed.)

The funny thing is, He hasn’t let go of me, and I know it. He still speaks to my heart through His word. He still gets me up in the middle of the night and withholds sleep from me to get me to address something I’m avoiding (not my favorite thing, but pretty effective!). So I have to trust that if there’s something I’m holding back from Him, or something I’m ignoring Him over, He’ll let me know. I haven’t been able to relax into this opportunity, however.

I’m a black and white thinker. That has caused me some issues over the years. In this case, my brain tells me that I’m out of step because I’m not doing what I feel like He’s called me to do. And the fact that I’m enjoying my current tasks, am comfortable doing them, and can see myself comfortably doing them for the foreseeable future, tells me that either I got it all wrong to begin with, or I’m fooling myself now. But He opened this door. He opened it in direct response to my pleas for intervention, for direction, for help. The door opened by His hand, I couldn’t have forced it open. God doesn’t open doors He doesn’t want you to walk through, does He?

In addition to this new opportunity He has given me, the one that is the opposite of what I thought He wanted me to do, I’ve also found myself in a season of very little free time. The free time that I used to use to write and study and plan and create, I now find absorbed with other things. And yet, I have felt no nudge in my spirit that tells me I’m not doing what I’m supposed to do.

I stopped writing and posting the daily devotionals a couple months ago, and the last time I did that, right after my son-in-law passed away, I felt disciplined by my Father over that. As soon as I started writing again, I felt His pleasure and approval. Not so this time. As a matter of fact, the nudge to write again has only just come back around. I’ve gone through quite a few books of the Bible in my personal reading and study time, and not once have I felt the burning need to write a reflection on what I’ve studied. I’ve felt like I should have something to write, and have sat and wondered several times why I don’t. Am I ignoring God, or has He truly not burdened me with the need to share something I’ve learned?

Writing is something I felt sure God had called me to do. Why hasn’t He given me anything to write in a couple months? Was I wrong about what I thought He’d set for me to do? I don’t know.

I remarked to a friend the other day that so many things have shifted or changed over the last few months that I find myself in a completely different place. And it’s all happened gradually. Nothing sudden and startling. Just this and that here and there, until the landscape around me looks vastly different. I have felt often that I’m floundering around trying to find my footing, in between times of being tossed around by whatever tempest is currently blowing. There have been a few constants, but many many uncertainties and changes. Is that the way it’s supposed to be?

Here’s what I’ve learned in this season: He’s still God. He’s still my Savior and King. I’m still His servant. He still loves me. I don’t have any idea what He’s doing or where we’re going, what His plan for me is, or what I’ll be doing even 6 months from now. But I know I want to follow Him. I want to trust Him. I want to relax and know that He has it under control, even when it doesn’t make sense. I want to settle into Him and learn from Him and allow Him to change me into what He designed me to be. Even if what He’s changing doesn’t look remotely like the glimpses I thought He’d given me. I’m going to be here, doing what I know to do, until He tells me to do something different. And I’m going to stay as close to Him as I can.

Because that’s what truly matters…me being in lock step with Him, not where we’re going. I just want to be near Him and learn from Him and absorb His love and share it with others. No matter what that looks like in practice. So I may wonder while I wander. But if the wondering leads me to Him, to snuggling close and holding on, if that’s the season He wants me in, so be it.

I began writing this post 4 months ago and am just now finishing it. In a lot of ways I’m still wandering around, still befuddled over the landscape I find myself in because it is so vastly different from what I expected or where I thought we were going. But oh boy has He shown Himself mighty and strong and present in the last 4 months.

I still don’t know where we’re going. I thought I did, but I was either wrong or looking at the journey from the wrong perspective, like a folded map that hides a portion of the route. I don’t seem to mind anymore that we seem to be taking a detour. I’m just following along and enjoying the moments with my Savior, smelling the roses and feasting my eyes on the sunrise. We’ll get there, wherever “there” is. Eventually.

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