“I should have just married a farmer,” I told my friend as I was sitting alone in a hotel room before I left this summer. My mom was in a car driving farther and farther away, and I was wondering how I ended up where I was. Sometimes I think back in my life and think I could have chosen an easier path. It would have looked good on paper, and it would have made my mom happy. I could have stayed around home, gone to a local college, got a degree and a husband, settled down in a small farming community within driving distance of home, become a wife and worked here and there. There is nothing at all wrong with that lifestyle. I would have still be happy and loved, by my family and God.
And yet I’ve said multiple times that being here, in London with Youth in Mission, this is exactly where God wants me. He is holding me in his hand. When I’m at MidAmerica (and now I only have one year left—which is crazy!), I know I am where God wants me. I know I have been given so many opportunities. Opportunities I could never have imagined—working at the global headquarters for the Church of the Nazarene, thus being able to work on NYC 2011 in Louisville last summer, attending Third Wave 2012 in Thailand this past Christmas break, and finally, spending this summer in London with Youth in Mission. When I first felt called to ministry, never once would have I guessed this is where I would have ended up by the time I was twenty-one.
One of my teammates is looking at the call God might be placing on his life. He has a perfectly fine job (actually he has what sounds like a great job). It is a stable job, which comes with security, and security is rare for nowadays college graduates, and he hasn’t even graduated yet!
God calls us to do great things for us. I think we often get boxed into thinking there is only one decision that is within God’s plan, but I think God is bigger than that. But I also think God calls us to more than a life that looks good on paper.
I was having a conversation with one of my teammates and she and I were talking about relationships. I told her I never imagined I’d be a year out from college graduation and not have a boyfriend nor even any prospects. Still, I realized how grateful I am to be right where I am. My first year of college I dated a great guy who loved God. He had plans to go to nursing school, and loved to play worship music. He is still a great guy. I had it figured out in my head while we were dating, I could be a youth pastor and he could work and play on the worship team on weekends at the same church. It was a life that looked good on paper, but when it came down to it, I knew God wasn’t calling me to marry him. And I want to seek God’s will above all else. I think that means I’ll always be safe within his hand.
And yet we see Peter, in Matthew 14, stepping out of a perfectly good boat. He stepped out and walked on water with Jesus. He only sank when he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on his fear of the waves rather than God’s will. God’s will isn’t for us to sink, but for us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and our hearts ready to respond to his call. And sometimes his call seems like it makes no sense, like building an ark when there hasn’t been rain, but I believe strongly God calls us to do amazing things for him. Peter walked on water! But only because he was the disciple willing to step out of the boat.