Thursday, July 10, 2008

Still On It? Or Might It Be Gone?

This whole idea of getting off on a detour, outside of the highway you were meant to travel? What is the real, biblical theology behind all of that? Are there clear-cut answers to this question? Or is it another thing that we won't ever know for sure, especially because different theologians, pastors, etc. seem to disagree on it, seeing what the Bible has to say in differing ways? (Sorry about the run-on sentences, but I'm really good at those.)

I used to think that if I was disobedient and didn't follow the directions I was clearly given for my life, that was that. No more perfect plan. No more dreaming. I thought I lost my chance.

For example, in my third year of college, God clearly "spoke" to me about a certain country. I was to do something with my life in regards to this place. A speaker came to chapel (I never really liked chapel) and I expected not to get much out of it, to be honest. But then it happened. I was shaken to my core, brought to complete and utter attention. My body was literally shaking, I couldn't stop the tears, and I knew full well God was speaking to my heart in love. He was saying, "go." But I didn't know what that meant fully and I like to have every detail mapped out so I don't have to worry (totally feasible right?). So I ignored Him.

Ever since that day it's been in the back of my mind that I left God's will for my life on purpose. I have lived with a lot of guilt over that. I have floundered because I figured I wasn't on the right path anyway, so I might as well just...not care. I thought, and sometimes still think, I lost my chance and was now living some other life I was never meant to be living. A life that would bring me far less peace and joy. I started to wallow in depression over all of those thoughts. I started to give up hope that my life meant anything at all.

At one point I asked my sister what she thinks happens if you "miss," in all your glorious free will, God's plan for your life. She held her arm up, running her finger along it as she talked. She said that if her arm was my predestined road and I (her finger) went veering off that path (she slowly drove her finger away from the path of her arm, God's grace and mercy would one day bring me back. It would just be the long way. More painful, possibly. More tiring, surely. But my "finger" would somehow head toward home, and get back on my "arm," my original purpose. At the time, that felt like truth to me. I'm pretty sure I still agree.

Because God is stirring something in me and I've known for awhile now that His love never changed. But I changed. I grew. Maybe I wasn't mature enough to handle whatever was speaking to my heart that day in my college's chapel. No, I know I wasn't mature enough and I know I still struggle with maturity and faithfulness, I've only taken baby steps. But I would not have been this version of Heather. I would have possibly tackled a dream head-on only to be surprised by how ineffectual I was, if I was that twenty-year-old girl with no real life under her belt.

Because I took a detour I experienced some things that stretched my heart beyond it's previous capacity to love. There was endless heart-break, pain, lessons, and trials, many due to my own very serious mistakes. But without those, I wouldn't see people and life the way that I do. Which begs the question, did I really get off on the wrong exit? Was God's plan actually to let me "prodigal it" for awhile? Did He possibly even ordain it?

Or is He now just picking up the pieces despite what my will has done? Because He's forgiving?

Midnight Cafe? Are you there? Wanna discuss this a bit? Is it all just super obvious? Do I just think too much? What are your thoughts? (anyone else? feedback?) I'd love it.


Troy & Tara Livesay said...

I struggle with this too. I always get totally wigged out by people who throw the God card down easily and say "God told me so here i go" --- and then act like everything they do is God ordained. I think God allows a lot of different paths -- ultimately He brings you to the place he wants you, but there is not just one route. If you feel strongly convicted about something, that is him trying to adjust your direction ... acting as a compass but not forcing you to turn. He loves us enough to deal with us going the opposite direction sometimes. Just the fact that you wrestle with it proves you love Him and you care ... so go easy on yourself!

MidnightCafe said...

Mmmmmm...I'd love to discuss this. Quite possibly I'll end up on a tangent, but the same sorts of things are on my mind, too. to write a post, though it may take a while.

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