I’m back at school. Classes don’t start until tomorrow, though, so I’ve still got a few hours of freedom before I have to start worrying about everything. I’ve still got a lot to tell you about things learned on vacation and during the summer, but I thought it apt to focus on God’s hand in my life this summer. It’s been crazy.
Existential crises abounded. The whole idea of being pre-med loomed, I could see the deadline, and the weight of my choices crippled me. Granted, I gave them a bit too much weight. But still. I struggled over this for a long time. There was one day of our trip, when we were in Denmark, when I just remember sitting on a windowsill and knowing that I was shaking inside. The more I thought about it, the bigger my choice seemed. I was scared of making a wrong decision, being considered stupid, not accomplishing anything.
But God spoke to me in the quiet spaces of hotel rooms and restaurants, and through the kindness of my little brother one night as I blubbered out my confusion, desire for greatness, and desire for God.
I prayed that God would replace my desires with His, give me peace, and help me to rely only on Him and not on the approval of others. I prayed that He and He alone would become my hallowed thing.
And He spoke to me quietly and began to do these things. I realized this: it doesn’t actually matter what I do, because I can serve God in whatever I do. This “clarity” that I kept praying for may never come in the way that I wanted, and that was okay. My focus was skewed. I had been focusing on what I could do, and these things that I had wanted when I should have been turning my focus to the One who is with me always. Everything in my life has to flow from that one relationship.
And it was at this point that God began to give me clarity as to what He wanted me to do. That’s how it seemed at the time, but looking back, I suspect that I only began to listen at this point.
I worked as an intern for a nonprofit, LINC NT, when I got home, and the very first thing that they said they needed was someone to write stories for them. That may not sound as shocking to you, but I’d been applying for jobs elsewhere and getting nowhere. It was as if God had said, I want you here, and I want you writing.
I wish I could remember all of the people, articles, and books that came my way at this point, but they were so numerous that I felt a little bit inundated. I’d click on an article in a magazine, and it’d be about this very issue. People came up to me independent of each other and mentioned my writing. And then, a few weeks ago, I met with my pastor to talk.
We talked for almost two hours that morning, about art, literature, England, and my future. And after our conversation, I stopped for tea and wrote, because I needed to process. I trembled. And here it is.
I knew I had to drop Chemistry. I don’t really want to be a doctor. Not really. Because although I love the idea of it, I don’t think I’d be as happy in the day-to-day aspect. It’d be stressful, and I’d have to separate myself from feelings about patients,people would die, and I wouldn’t be able to write. I wouldn’t have the time. But you make time for what you love! I wouldn’t though.
And the most terrifying decision and admission came out then. Everyone else has witnessed my passion for quite some time, and I think I just had to admit it to myself. I love stories, and I am a creature driven more by story than anything else. I want to be surrounded by them, inspired by them, and create them.
I want to write.
Why not do the thing I love most? I have been blessed with a Great Love, and I know that not everyone has one. And I want to be a writer, however impractical that may be.
I don’t know exactly how, and I don’t know at all how my life will pan out. But who really does? And this is a crazy thing. As I told a dear, encouraging friend that night, I never thought I’d be that person who doesn’t have a distinct plan, who just goes where she thinks God is leading her. Who just trusts that God will lead her and jumps.
And I’m scared. I’m terrified – I don’t think I’ve ever been more scared of anything in my life. This is a big step for me, and writing doesn’t exactly ensure a stable profession. But I think it’s a step I have to take. And I know that whatever I do, God’s going to provide me with what I need. I don’t know that He’ll give me what I want. And that’s a very good thing, because He knows so much better than I do.
I dropped Chemistry. Looking back, I couldn’t even remember what had possessed me to sign up for it in the first place. This summer, something just shifted. And ever since that decision, God’s been giving me confirmation, guidance, and unbelievable peace. I’ve read some really fantastic books – I just finished Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis, and Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle. The latter was intensely appropriate, recommended to me by another dear friend. It’s all about being a Christian and a writer, and every page held something that I’d been thinking about or needed to consider.
Exactly two weeks after that decision, I got those articles published, which was lovely and confirming.
But even if I hadn’t… I’ve felt more peace since accepting this. And since I’ve decided, I’ve been writing more every day. And the more I write, the more I realize just how much I love it. I love making sentences, the way a pen feels between my fingers, the way my handwriting spindles out, big words, analyzing and digging, creating characters, when people like my work, speaking True things. I love writing. And the more I realize that, and the more I focus on God, the more that desire for greatness begins to fade. I might never make it. But I’m starting to care less, because I’m happy writing.
So, I don’t know where exactly I’m going from here. It won’t be easy, and it won’t always make sense. But I will continue to look to the Immutable and trust that He knows where I’m going.
Read this: “Amiable agnostics will talk cheerfully about “man’s search for God.” To me, as I then was, they might as well have talked about the mouse’s search for the cat…. whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, [was] the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet… I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed… The words compelle intrare, compel them to come in, have been so abused by wicked men that we shudder at them; but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.” C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy
“Plato spoke of the necessity for divine madness in the poet. It is a frightening thing to open oneself to this strange and dark side of the divine; it means letting go our sane self control, that control which gives us the illusion of safety. But safety is only an illusion, and letting it go is part of listening to the silence, and to the spirit.” Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water
…seriously, these books are gold.