“One of my warriors prayed for me this morning and again, I just felt so affirmed that I’m courageous in embarking on this journey, however, I’m in uncharted waters now. Stepping into courage and faith in a way I haven’t yet experienced. I know God can do big things. He always has in my life. I have been richly blessed with a job, people, church family, etc. Yet, this feels different. This time, I’m asking God to reveal something to me in a specific time frame. I had my doubts, no lie. Will He actually answer everything I’m asking of Him?” (Journal Entry on April, 10, 2018)
As I begin this journey, I didn’t really know what to expect. I was asking God to give me a clear path for a future job, my future living situation, my future involvement with church, if I should stay in Ohio–you know, all those things about my future that’s a big question mark. How was God going to speak to me? I figured the easiest way to answer this was to remove as many distractions as possible. There’s this story in the Bible that someone shared with me that stuck like glue. It’s found in Exodus 14, where the Israelite’s are leaving Egypt and crossing the Red Sea. They’re escaping slavery in Egypt and after the 10 plagues hit, Pharaoh (the guy in charge) decides to let them walk away. The Israelite’s are supposed to leave free, but in the middle of the night he changes his mind, and went chasing after them with an army, no less. The Israelite’s are walking through the middle of the DRY Red Sea seeing the Egyptians coming after them. They’re freaking out and asking Moses, “What the heck man? They were supposed to leave us alone!” And Moses said (v. 13 ESV), “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today.”
THIS is where it gets good (v. 14 NIV): “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
I needed to be still.
I’ll be honest, it was freeing, but frustrating, not to be on social media. I felt instantly disconnected from all that was happening. Twitter is where I stay up-to-date with current events, Facebook lets me know when it’s someone’s birthday or major life event, and Instagram lets me know what’s happening in my friend’s lives on a daily basis. I didn’t have any of this, so instead of worrying about what I was missing out on, I decided to focus on myself for a minute and be present in my own life.
One day, I decided to write down all the questions that were running in my head.
Do I need to be in a career where there is purpose, like a religious mission? Can I just work in a job or do I need something more? Do I want to continue working in higher education? Do I need to work with people I know? How do I feel fulfilled in my job? Do I need to be fulfilled by my job? Or can I find that in other things in my life? Is there another community I can be part of? If it’s not Ohio, where else could/should I go? Do I still find purpose, being part of my church leadership team? How do I feel part of my church, when I feel like I’m on the outside? Do I matter? How do I simplify my life, where I’m not instantly distracted by other things in my life? Why Ohio?
I instantly got overwhelmed. How the hell am I supposed to answer all those questions and find peace?
Not having your phone as a go-to, constantly, allowed me to spend many nights contemplating all of these questions. Since I’m being honest here, I can tell you I haven’t found the answers to all of these questions. I’m still trying to figure out if I really want to continue working in higher education. I’m good at what I do, but there’s also a lack of opportunity. I’ve only worked in the Adventist world, and maybe it’s time for me to branch out. Maybe with the rest of my life that’s more solid, starting over in a new work environment wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen to me. But I do need to be fulfilled in my job. Through this time period, I realized I can’t just have any job. It’s not how I function. Great Lauren, but that still doesn’t really definitively answer those questions…
Those two weeks were a time for me to be still and intentionally take time to process. Sometimes you just need that, you know? My big questions for God regarding my job, my living situation, my church involvement–none of them were answered like I thought they would be. In a way, they’re still being answered. But here’s what I know.
“I feel called to stay in Ohio. There is so much here, so much work to still be done and I want to part of that. There are college students that need my mentorship, there’s a church that could use my analysis and communication skills, there’s a workplace that needs my skills and my desire to make this a better place. There are friends here that let me be me, fully.” (Journal Entry on May 2, 2018)
I feel as if those two weeks were a taste of what this next season of my life is going to look like. There’s a lot still about my future that is unknown. Actually, most of it is unknown. But what I do know is that God will provide. I have this strange sense of peace about this situation though. I think it’s because I know God is fighting for me. It’s like I said in my journal, He’s always provided. I think part of this time was allowing myself to have a blank slate and dream big for my life, no holds bar, but deciding what I want.
All I can do is stand firm and know that God is fighting for me and every day He’s working for me. It feels a little bit like I’m walking through my own Red Sea and I see the Egyptians coming for me, but in my case it’s the timeline of my job ending and needing to find something else. Instead of pushing through all the other people to try to get to the other side first, I’m choosing to trust that God has a plan and in His time it’ll be revealed. In the meantime, I will not be afraid. I will stand firm in my salvation. I will be still because when I am still, I feel peace.