“You’re still in the trying-to-figure-life-out stage?” I asked my friend this afternoon. We were sitting outside at Vero; I with my 12 oz. mocha and she with her veggie concoction from Café Yumm. Our conversation had turned towards college and jobs and eventually having to live in the “real world” and we both started to feel the pressure beginning to build.
“Yeah. But do we ever really leave that stage?”
It’s a good question. As I was approaching graduation day in high school, I began to wonder something similar: Am I really supposed to go to U of O? Does God really want me to be there? I was beginning to get a little panicked about leaving Lincoln City, you might say. Although by the end of that summer I was desperately ready for something new. But it does reflect how I’ve had the tendency to doubt my direction, to question my purpose, when I’m about to begin a major change in life. I imagine it’ll be the same down the road to: Is this the right job for me? Is this girl someone I could marry? Am I ready to be a father?
It does appear that we never really leave that stage of trying to figure life out. But as I was driving home from Vero, I began to wonder if we’re ever really supposed to figure it out? Maybe God wants something different for us than a mere understanding of where we’re going in life? Obviously He wants us to trust Him, but I think in this particular context, He wants us to trust that He is in control of our lives. We can decide for ourselves to do whatever we want to, sort of, but even through all that, everything that we do or could ever do is based off of something that He’s given us: life. To argue and rebel against God, C.S. Lewis says, is to chop off the very branch you’re sitting on. It makes sense then to sit and relax.
The other day I was reading through Luke chapter 8, specifically the passage of the demon-possessed man being freed from them. Scripture says he was eager to follow after Jesus – who was visiting from Galilee – everywhere He would go. But Jesus said to him, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you,” (8:39). No I don’t mean to imply that we should all go home and live with our parents again. But I do intend to suggest that perhaps it’s God’s desire for us to remain still.
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still,” – Exodus 14:14
“Be still, and know that I am God,” – Psalm 46:10
In this stage in life, it’s easy to get caught up with anxious thoughts of what you’re going to be doing in the days when school isn’t there. On my way to class yesterday, I overheard a girl saying, “It’s just weird to me; I’ve been in school since I was four and now I’m just not.” The adjustment isn’t easy by any means. But we’ve got a God working in and through us who calms the raging seas – speaks a few words and stifles the storms of life. I think all He asks of us is to sit quietly in the boat until He calls us out on the water.
We might mess things up if we try too hard to steer our ships instead of God.