It doesn't bother me that greatly. I know people mean well. I know it's that time of year when people ask about future things. In the past few days, I've had the following conversation several times.
CCI (Curious, Caring Individual): "So Shelly, are you going to be in this job for another year?"
Me: "Yeah! That's the plan."
CCI: "Okay, so another year here, and then what? Do you know where you're headed after that? Any plans?"
Me: "Uhh...well...I'm not really sure. Maybe I'll be here longer. Maybe God will toss some opportunities my way and I'll see how they fit when they come along. I'm excited about where I am right now, though, and okay with not knowing for awhile."
CCI: "Ohh...alright. Okay. Yeah, that's great. That's great."
Sigh. Does anyone else just get rocked by those conversations? I leave chats like that feeling like I don't know what's going on in my life. Like there is this "life to do" list for 24 year olds that nobody ever showed me. Gah..I feel so clueless about life sometimes.
I went back to my hometown recently. I see these lovely friends from high school who are married, have bought a house, and are having or have children. And I think..."geesh...I haven't done anything with my life!" After a drink of water, slap in the face, and some deep breaths, I come back to reality and remind myself of what is true. And that is this:
I've already done a lot in my short life. I've got to travel to several continents and countries. I've lived in a van, traveling the east coast for a year in a band. I've spent a year doing ministry in Arizona. I've had an awesome college experience that has been rich intellectually and relationally. I've got to serve, experience, and do things I wouldn't have otherwise. I've got to love people deeply and be loved deeply. I've been stretched and pulled and prodded and watched God unfold things in me I would've never dreamed were there. I realized that it comes down to choices.
We all have choices in life. We can do one thing or another. We each have different wandering paths on our journey of life. How foolish to think that one is ahead of another based on the status of many and various life variables. Comparison is a deadly and paralyzing sin. The truth is, you could take one step forward and be knocked back five. You may think you're almost to your goal or have plans about to unfold and your world completely changes. Have goals, but have joy. Have joy in today. Take the pressure off. Have joy in how God is using you now. Have joy in the gift of where you are in the moment.
Last night, as I thought through all of these things, I realized this: all of these expectations and attempts on figuring out the future are too much for me to handle. So I said, "alright, God...I don't know what I'm doing. I'm going to let you have this. Actually...just take it all. I'll just be good with right now. The meantime. Kick me where you want me. Prepare me for how you'll use me or where you'll take me." We have to have these conversations from time to time, but this was a big one. Strangely, through that, I've been given peace once again.
So that's where I've landed. If you're wondering...I don't know where I'm heading. I don't know what kind of ministry I want to serve in or in what state or country. I don't know if I'll get married in the next 5 or 10 years or have a family. I don't know any of that. I don't even really know what next week looks like. And here I am. Okay with it. God is good and God is God--reigning over all of those things. So thanks for caring. Thanks for asking. I'm quite enjoying my meantime.