The first month of the year has now finished. It feels pretty wild already; I’m not sure about you, but it feels like so much has happened. Yes, the world has had some crazy things, but in my own life, it feels as if a million things have happened all at once. I started a new position at my job, which is requiring me to have some very late nights, so my head feels off. I do well with consistency, things I can plan on happening in a certain order, but when your work schedule is new every week and you don’t have advance notice of those times, it starts to drain on you. My dear Danielle was in a state of flux since her program ended, getting random shifts and then finally, getting confirmation of a part time position. We’ve dealt with drastic Florida weather changes that has been creating lovely sickness, weird neighbors getting mad at how loud we are (cause those early morning toilet flushes are just us being so mean), and a sense of unknowingness about the future.
Life has been a journey, and we have felt so close, but it this is definitely not what we had planned. I’ve talked a bunch about how I had different plans, and to be honest, I want to let that junk go, I don’t have time to think about what-ifs. The difficulty is, I don’t really know what’s next. Danielle and I have a passion for people, and for a long time it felt like we could easily step into a role at a church where our skills could join a team, but, there hasn’t been a doorway for that. So, we chose to take a leap during a time where we had open possibility. We moved down here to sunny Florida, and we get to play at work. Creativity surrounds us here in a world that came from a genius mind, but the day to day life is not great for creative minds. This may seem like a ramble or rant, but it’s not, trust me.
These are things and emotions I’ve been feeling, and I think they ring true in all of us. As we pursue Christ, we start to have a different direction. It’s not a change to you needing to run across the world, but sometimes it does. God has given you passions and abilities that he wants to use, so that you can help love others better. You see, we are drilled into that we need to have a plan, knowing the next few years all mapped out. In college you pick a major that will get you a job (l o l) and you’ll just continue to move up that ladder. We then run into the fact that God doesn’t work like that; it’s good to have direction, but you have to trust God with the path.
I think back to a time in high school. I was in a small group that changed my life. Tyler, Shane, Buck, Noah, and Seth were my brothers. They were the ones who reached out to me and showed me that God loved me and that I could be myself. In our youth group, we had two leaders who wanted to take our group and a few other guys on a day hiking trip. They just told us to bring backpacks, our bibles and water. We were all so excited, we crammed into Rob and Mike D’s cars, and headed off. We didn’t know where we were going and since we were all dumb high schoolers, we didn’t really care. We parked and began our trek, some were prepared and some were not, but we were all together and on an adventure.
Know what you are called to, but stop micromanaging God.
I think about this trip and my time right now. I know that God has called my dear Danielle and I to love others and to help them know their worth, but all to easily I want to micromanage how this will happen. I tell God, this is the exact path I want to take, now you bless that. The thing is, that’s not how it works.
Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” In other words, know your calling but let God direct you. You have to trust in the open doors and the next right steps, but know at the same time, if that door closes or the steps aren’t in line, you have to trust God. Yes, things are going to happen, junk will still come up, but you have to trust the adventure you are on. What’s a hero’s journey without dealing with a few monsters? You have to trust the adventure, even when you don’t know what’s next.
Stop letting anxiety control you.
This is a big one. It’s incredibly easy to say, “stop having anxiety,” but the truth is that it doesn’t work that way. Anxiety can often stop me in my tracks, hold me in a place where I don’t feel like I can do it, because my mind is constantly telling me this is dangerous. The biggest growth happens when we push ourselves out of comfort. Anxiety is an attack by an enemy that doesn’t want you to grow.
Matthew 6:25-26 has Jesus say to us all, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” You were designed in the image of God, that makes all of us his most prized possession, because we reflect our creator. Yeah, you may not know what happens next, but you can’t stay here, you have to fight that anxiety with trust, because you are on an adventure of growth.
That day of hiking in the mountains was such a blast, we came to a waterfall close to the end and prayed, then finished our trek with a gorgeous view. Our adventure had finished, even when we didn’t know where we were or the path to take, we trusted our guides and it led us to a place of wonder and discovery. That was in high school, and some of those friends I’ve loved growing with. Tyler and Shane were both in my wedding and I am so thankful for their continued friendship. Buck and Noah I’ve not been in touch with as much, and that’s okay, sometimes people are in our lives for a season and then grow in their own direction. Seth passed away a few years back at this point, but I always remember his encouragement to be who I was created to be.
As I look at life now, my dear Danielle are in a season of not knowing what’s next. There will be a lot of self-discovery and prayer, and that’s okay. I may not know what’s next, but I choose to trust the adventure.
God loves my dear Danielle and I, and that is the power we need to continue this wild journey together. I hope you choose to trust that same love.
About the Author: Joshua Thomas is a writer by day and superhero by night. When he’s not writing and crimefighting, you can find him reading a good book, sipping warm tea, taking pictures, or dreaming. The young writer doesn’t fully know what he’s doing, but is enjoying the journey of it all. You can tweet memes at him on Twitter @joshua_thomas__ or follow his hipster photos and Jack Kerouac musings on Instagram @joshua_thomas__