Thursday, April 16, 2015

Do Not Be Afraid


It’s that time of year again for copious tears, mass confusion, and a general feeling of bewilderment. In other words, graduation. High school, college, grad school, or what have you, you’re getting ready to face the so-called real world, and it isn’t pretty. Unless you’re one of the rare and blessed few who has a school picked out, a job lined up, and a chiseled hombre with a diamond ring waiting to whisk you away on a honeymoon to Honolulu, you’re probably a real hot mess right now.

            All the women in my college house are graduating in about five weeks. Some of them will be student teaching, some will be going to medical school, and my roommate will be traipsing across the world to India. While I will miss all of them, I don’t envy their situation at all. Hell, I have one more year of college to go and I’m not even sure if I’ll make it through next week.

         Another one of my good friends is also graduating, but she is blessed to have the security of an upcoming marriage in June, a new house, and possibly a new job that is exactly what she wants. I am  happy for her, but sometimes I do wonder if fortune will favor me in the same way once I’ve walked across the stage and received that flimsy little diploma I worked my ass off for.

In fact, there are some days when I wonder if going to college was even a good idea at all. So I’ve just spent Titanic-loads of money for a wimpy piece of paper that says (in nice gold letters, of course) that I busted my nuts for four years to obtain a bachelors in English Literature? Wowie, zowie; employers are gonna be all over me. Once I fold up my cap and gown, reality hits. I’m broke. I’m unemployed. I have to move back home with Mom and Dad. I’m unmarried and my ovaries are ticking. Cue the curl-up-in-a-ball-of-denial mode.

For my 20th birthday, my grandma gave me a nice leather-bound copy of the Jesus Calling devotional. I remember wincing as I unwrapped it and paging through the pages thinking This is achingly saccharine Jesus cotton candy….but I started reading it anyway before I went to bed every night. Last night, as I was bemoaning the state of my future, I came across this little passage:

“Trust Me, and don’t be afraid.  Many things feel out of control.  Your routines are not running smoothly.  You tend to feel more secure when your life is predictable.  Let Me lead you to the rock that is higher than you and your circumstances.  Take refuge in the shelter of My wings, where you are absolutely secure.
“When you are shaken out of your comfortable routines, grip My hand tightly and look for growth opportunities.  Instead of bemoaning the loss of your comfort, accept the challenge of something new.  I lead you on from glory to glory, making you fit for My kingdom.  Say yes to the ways I work in your life.  Trust Me, and don’t be afraid.”

Trust Me, and don’t be afraid…if I were brave enough to get a tattoo, that’s what I would get.

Do you like it when your life is predicable? Do you like knowing who you will eat with, where you’re going to go out on the weekends, who you’re going to talk to on the phone, what you’re going to wear? I suppose we all do to some degree, like little old people who like things done exactly their way, every day. Nothing new, nothing startling or unpleasant, just the nice, comfortable old routine.

How damn utterly boring.

Life is not supposed to be lived in a test tube. We are supposed to be people of adventure, of newness, of excitement. We are supposed to be a little bit scared. We are supposed to be a little bit uncomfortable. Otherwise, how will we ever grow into responsible, mature, problem-solving people? How will we ever appreciate what we have if it is never taken away from us? How will we learn to trust if we keep pushing away the opportunity?

Yes, life is scary. Life is cruel and backbiting and sometimes even just plain bizarre. But it can be beautiful too, achingly beautiful, and that is what we are called to seek every day. But we will never see this beauty if we keep grasping to our little routines, our pathetic sense of control, the way we want things to be. We will live in our little dark hole for the rest of our lives. 

I like to think of life as an Indiana Jones movie. You never knew when the spiders are going to crawl up your back, or when the Nazis are going to corner you, or when you’re going to fall into an ancient Egyptian tomb full of snakes, but you also never knew when you’re going to discover the Lost Ark that you’ve always been seeking or get swept off your feet by a Harrison Ford look-alike. It’s scary and unpredictable and sometimes a little bit gross (I hate snakes!), but it’s also pretty damn fun.

Be glad that your life is an adventure. Embrace your inner Indy, so to speak. And most importantly, don’t be afraid. God’s got your back and He will protect you, if you would only let Him.


And don't worry, your Harrison will find you someday...


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