July 13, 2007

An Epiphany.

The past few weeks have been full of confusion and stress. I have been crippling myself with one question:

"Where am I meant to be?"

I have sooo many unanswered questions and concerns bogging down my mind. Questions that go a little something like this:

Are we in the right place?
What if we're not?
Are we missing out on what God has for us by being in the wrong place?
Should being by family take priority at this time in our lives? (Reno?)
Should being in an awesome community take priority at this time in our lives? (Oklahoma?)
What does my gut tell me to do?
Ummmm, Why isn't my gut saying anything?
Are we meant to just stay put?
Why are we both suddenly feeling freaked out about this?

Here's the thing. When I moved to California, I KNEW WITHOUT A DOUBT that I was meant to move there. God practically knocked me upside the head with it. That was good, because I was very young, and probably needed a good, strong WHACK to push me from the nest. And, I didn't have to struggle with all the doubt. woo hoo!

When we moved to Oklahoma, it was more of a CHOICE rather than a specific calling. Believing that God would bless us no matter where our physical address was located (as long as we were ultimately pursuing Him), we decided to take a leap and move halfway across the country- 6 short months after Ezra was born.

Living here in Oklahoma has been the happiest time of my life. I've re-discovered my love of writing and we have become a part of a community here that has changed our lives and perspectives of the world and the church forever. The people here are living the life Chris and I had always dreamed of living... They are people pursuing their dreams with the full knowledge of how desperately they need one another to accomplish them.

Beautiful stuff, I tell you.

We could stay here in Oklahoma and be perfectly happy for years and years to come. So, why this sudden itch? This sudden fear that we might be in the wrong spot and missing out on God stuff?

If we moved back to Reno, it would have to be a very intentional move. We would be moving back to be by family, but it would also be a whole lot more than that. We would be taking all of the amazing things that we've learned about community and pursuing God with one another and SHARING it, LIVING it out among the people in that town... Asking if anyone wanted to join us on our messy, wonderful journey. It would be a missional move. We wouldn't and couldn't do it without the support and blessing of our community here, sending us out.

There aren't really any communities in Reno like the ones that we've been a part of here in Oklahoma or in California. And since most of our families and friends LIVE IN THAT TOWN, the knowledge of that breaks our hearts.

Chris heard some really good advice last night. He heard about a man at our church who was recently listening to his daughter while she processed her fears and worries about buying the 'right house' in the 'right neighborhood' for the 'right price'. She was really stressed out about making the choices that she thought God would want her to make. Her dad basically told her this:

"In all my years of following God, I've learned one thing about making big, life decisions. Your focus should ALWAYS be on RELATIONSHIP first and foremost. The details and logistics (where to live? what career?) are only secondary and aren't ultimately as important as the relationships you choose to pursue."

I thought that was so wise and TRUE. It doesn't mean that God doesn't care about the houses we buy or the jobs we take... it just means he cares about people, relationships, and community more. Chris and I will live ANYWHERE as long as we have an opportunity to be a part of or help build a community that is pursuing Jesus in a real way together.

Ultimately, it comes down to this: All of this worrying and stressing and over-analyzing that I've been doing isn't going to get me anywhere. It's not going to scrounge up any answers. I need to release all of these burning questions and just believe that God will guide me. I need to let go. But as of now, I have a very tight grip. Fear and worry do nothing but complicate something that should be really very simple... TRUSTING GOD. The same God who has been faithful to lead me and love me every single day for the past 25 years.

I trust God enough to tell me if I've wandered way off into left field and am now picking daisies when I'm meant to be coaching third base. Because I believe He is Good to me. And I believe that He loves me.

At least, I believe those things in my head. But something tells me that if I really, truly, waaaay deep-down for sure believed those things in my heart, I wouldn't allow myself to get so STRESSED OUT over all the big question marks in this life. Life is hard. Life is meant to be hard. It is a refining process. It was never meant to be (and never will be) (and would we ever really want it to be?) a smooth, free ride to the end.

So here's the logic... If I really believed God was GOOD and loved me, I would stop begging Him to tell me what to do already. Stop begging Him to 'speak up'. I would trust in His goodness and His ability to speak to me, and I would sit back and enjoy the journey... bumps and all.

He tells me that if I seek Him, I will find Him. And when I do find Him, He will be GOOD to me.

So, the question suddenly isn't "Where should I live?"

The question is "Do I believe God is GOOD? To me?"

If I'm 100% honest with myself, the answer would be "not really". There is something deep inside of me that feels I need to keep one hand on the wheel at all times. You know, 'just in case' God drops the ball and sends me barreling off of a cliff or something.

I'm afraid to let go. I'm afraid to lose control.

I've got my fearful hands all over the steering wheel while, at the same time, I'm asking God TO STEER.

What would happen if I allowed myself to let go? What would happen if we ALL did? I bet we'd realize that the "cars" we'd been frantically driving around on the ground were really airplanes.

Just waiting for that cliff; for a chance to finally takeoff.


sufferingsummer said...

I agree with you 100%. We are in a similar position with decision making right now...to move or not to move...and I'm not saying I've figured out the trusting God all the time 100% thing but I will say after moving across the country twice and changing states a few times without 'feeling' much like we were being led to move that the reality (head or heart) is that God is Good, 100% all the time, in all situations. We have suffered, and are all the better for it. So I would just encourage you to relax, take a deep breath and wake up enjoying the day you are given...knowing full well you don't really know what tomorrow will bring anyway so no use worrying over it...now if I could just figure out how to take my own advice!

Do you think I could use 100% more in a comment?~!

Anonymous said...

You're writing is incredible. I am going through a very rough period in my life and I've been finding myself turning to your blog for inspiration and to give me new perspective on the very things I'm asking myself. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You will never know what it means to me.

Cheatwoods said...

EMERY.......this is the voice of God...............go and live in San Luis Obispo.............

I understand Emery, God well tell you what to do becuase he loves you! HE LOVES YOU!!

momar said...

I try to keep it simple. If you ask, God delivers (in his own time), regardless of what you choose to do to fill the time between asking and receiving. Is that too simple?

Cristina Mathers said...

jessica cracks me up. =)

you are seriously an awesome writer. your stuff is very inspirting and has been helping me find some purpose too. i think that your questions are questions that we all ask at some point or another. it's awesome that you are so in tune with yourself.

Anonymous said...

em, this gave si and me both chills at the end . . . . really encouraging to hear your heart and journey .

. . .i was chatting with one of our friends from england. she's about 50. we were chatting about our relationships with God . . . she said something interesting to me. she said she is learning how to 'be' with God. that really stopped me when she said it. I've heard it before but it reached me differently this time. it made me think about how i've prayed for so many years. "God please speak to me", or "What is God saying, I can't hear Him right now." I realized how I've only been looking at Him from one angle when really I could be experiencing Him in my waiting. so these days i've found myself shyly asking to be with Him. i'm learning that he is enough- all i need and i am enough for him . . . .

love you emery :)

Flo Oakes said...

Weird that I am reading this today....It's relevant to our particular situation and without going in to details..I'll just say it helped:)

dana said...

i feel as though lately i've been going through one of the most difficult periods of my life. i'm a year out of college, and i'm kind of wandering the doldrums between school and, oh, THE REST OF MY LIFE.

since high school i always felt as though i was meant to become a fiction writer, and everything i've done since then has been aimed toward fulfilling that dream. and what happened right after i graduated and felt truly ready to begin going down this path? the ideas stopped flowing and the once-neverending narrative voice in my head took a vow of silence.

for the past several months i've felt lost, insecure, and worst of all, alone in my strife. all of my closest friends are far away doing their own things and are not always there to help me. so, i've been looking anywhere for some kind of reassurance.

i've been reading your blog for a little while, which has always been entertaining and uplifting by the way. and to me you always seemed to be someone who's got it together for the most part and who has come a long way already. but to read that you are questioning your life and where you are in it, it was a surprise. but it made me think that perhaps i should stop trying to rush down a certain path and worrying about not getting there. maybe i should just step back, take a breath and wait for the right path, be it writing or otherwise.

i can't say that i believe in God, but despite that i feel that there is always someone to watch over us and guide us through life, whether it's a friend, family member, or even a complete stranger. it's good to know that no matter how alone i feel in my confusion, really, i am not.

thank you for sharing your life in this blog, and hopefully the day will come when things fall into place and life makes at least some sense.

Scott and Lorie said...

Seriously, you should be published.

I think we all struggle with what your struggling with, truly letting go of control. Living 100% without fear or doubt. When you figure out how, let me know ok? :)

Cam said...

I'm so glad I stopped by today. I'm dealing with the same situation...different circumstances, but same dilemma of trying to find God's will, but getting the feeling that I should just let go and let him take care of me without my help.
Your words are so helpful today.

I hope you can find the peace in surrender! I hope I can, too!

Bethy said...

The ending Emery! The ending. I didn't see that coming. It makes me cry. To think we could all just take flight. There is nothing I desire more. Beautiful words, friend.

R-becca said...

I just spent the weekend in Reno with friends and it was one of the most eye-opening experiences. I ENJOYED every bit of it and felt I was where I was suppose to be. I need those relationships and encouragement that I just cannot find in Orange County for the life of me. I plan to move somewhere between November and March and its to wherever I can find good people. And also where I can find a good business school. But mostly inspiring people, because as much as I think I can be on my own, I just don't want to.

piper of love said...

I think what you are doing in the "waiting" is the reason why God is probably having you in the waiting. Reading all the comments it's clear. You are blessing other people, you are giving answers to their questions just by asking your questions, in time you will probably receive your answer in just this fashion.

Just in that you are allowing yourself to be used means absolutely that God is already in control. Just enjoy the ride.