I have found myself yet again at a crossroads. So when I was offered a house-sitting engagement I immediately accepted, thinking it would be a nice change from my setting. The kick in the pants I needed to figure my future out.
I like to have a plan, not necessarily for tomorrow, but for the scope of the next year. I like to know where my life is heading. If you could rewind to every month of the last four years and ask any past Jessica what she wanted to do, she would have a rough sketch of her desired future. Naturally, when the first question you get asked at every dinner party is “What are you going to school for?” you find yourself fretting over the answer. I have to know immediately, or I’ll be a failure in the eyes of the elders, peers, and myself.
The problem lies partially in the fact that I believe myself too quickly. I truly thought I wanted to be a lawyer, or a nurse, or a librarian. I also suffer from “closed door syndrome.” I can’t bear the idea that when I close a door to a particular path, I have said “no” to a potentially wonderful future. But, surprise surprise, this leads only to a stagnant life, a fact of which I am keenly aware. I have told myself that if I don’t choose something, if I postpone going headfirst into a career, I will end up just treading water. I think this is a problem a lot of young people face. This is why people change their majors or go to college prematurely. And while there’s nothing wrong with changing your mind, in my case I have only been flipping between careers because it sounds better than telling some stranger the truth.
I don’t think I’ve known what the truth was until now- or at least not fully. In actuality, I’ve been avoiding it because that’s easier than having to change my lifestyle. So with this house-sitting gig, and any moments of rest, I’ve sought God’s will this week. And because God is gracious and continually calls my wayward heart back to Him, I feel as though I have finally listened.
God desires for me to know Him more. I need to know His character, become familiar with His ways, to be immersed in His scripture even more.
So many things have been confirming this over the past few weeks. I’ve been bombarded with scripture and sermons inviting me into a deeper relationship with God. So, in a somewhat self indulgent analysis, I want to dive into what brought me here.
Timothy Keller had a sermon a while back, which I can’t remember the name of, but he essentially pointed out that when we praise God in our prayer our subsequent petitions become greatly diminished. Everything becomes centered when we spend time telling God how great He is; we realize our place in the scope of humanity and the greatness of God. While doing YWAM I had learned about the importance of praising God before intercession, but I had never thought about that portion of prayer outshining the true reason I was on my knees in the first place. That sermon has been knocking on the back door of my brain for the last few weeks every time I feel like praying for an easy shift at work or patience with traffic; I hear the repeated: “Let’s put this in perspective Jessica, I’m so much bigger than this. Look. Learn. See.” Francis Chan also spent a large portion of a sermon explaining the importance of this action, which was followed by a long stretch of silence for the audience to consider the how praiseworthy God is. It was immensely powerful.
In my effort to work out my future this week, (what a presumptuous sentence!) I decided I would write down any of the scripture that really stuck out to me as poignant, as something I needed to hear at this time. When I read through the list of verses and quotes I had compiled over the past few days nearly all were about personal study of the Bible.
“All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the Word of Truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
“Help me then Lord God Most High, to consider well Thyself and Thy pattern before I make any attempt to effect Thy purpose… A study of His person reveals His purpose; of His plan, reveals His pattern, His pattern makes for effective production.” -Jim Elliot
I’ve realized that I have elevated certified theological study as somehow more legitimate than personal. So when I finally decide to crack down on knowing God more, it would have take place in a formal setting- specifically a $40,000/year school. Which is ridiculous, because the Lord reveals Himself through His word. On top of which, I have the internet, a critical mind, and the Holy Spirit, so I should be set.
I don’t want to appear to be some heady person, shirking the world of formal education and claiming to have figured everything out. Oh my word, I wish. No, I’m just as lost as ever. I feel like I was at a crossroads and instead of choosing a path I just sort of camped out at the intersection. But it’s what I’m supposed to do. The cloud has descended, and for now I wait until it moves. It would be prideful and disobedient to make another flippant decision to satisfy my ego. And besides it was my pride holding me back from admitting that I do not know the Lord as I should. But thanks be to God, that He considers me worthy of His calling and has brought me into the truth. The truth that peace comes only when I can rest in Him, when I am in rich communion with Him. My desire for the will of God is satisfied in knowing Him more.