On Thursday night, just after midnight, I laid in bed, staring at the ceiling and asking God what I should be doing next with my life. It’s not a new conversation but rather the frequent verse of a song He and I have been dancing silently to for months. Ever since completing my seminary degree I’ve been asking “Now what?”
I know there is answer because two years ago I asked if I could drop out, and the answer was as close to audible as possible: “No!” I didn’t get the why then but kept going to Greek and a year later to Hebrew. I struggled so much with these two courses. Yes, I ended each semester with an “A” grade on the report card, but I felt lost each and every time I opened the book or attempted to answer a question in class. I hated that feeling so much and felt just enveloped by it. In fall of 2011, I struggled with months of lasting depression that I could not identify or explain until I failed a Hebrew quiz in January. Slipping out of the room to cry I finally understood. There is only so long you can feel like an idiot, that you can run into the same wall over and over again before the tears come. That realization was freeing because it gave me a choice: do I walk away from the course now (and possibly from the degree) or do I embrace five more months of feeling like an idiot for four hours every Monday? I chose the latter, in part for that divine “No” a year before and in part because I knew I would hate myself much more in the long run for giving up. I returned to class, put verb conjugations on my iPod for the gym, and kept stacks of vocabulary cards in the living room, bathroom, and my purse. In August of 2011 I was done, but not quite sure why.
Skip ahead through months of asking, waiting, reading for pleasure, running, loss of family members, journeys to London and Chicago, more asking, and more waiting. I’ve put my toes into new experiences with coaching, mentoring, and urban ministry. I’ve signed up for my first marathon. I’ve said yes to the social invitations I had to deny for so long. But the overarching vision has been missing.
So on Thursday night I repeated the question again, and acknowledged that one benefit of the wait has been seeking God’s guidance more than normal. I may be a girl with two religion degrees, but its amazing how little I interact with the Creator. Just past midnight I felt like there was almost an answer for once, “Write.” Now God has given me beyond a doubt answers three times in my life, and this one does not get to be added to the list, but at the same time I’m not sure the answer was just me. For one thing, if I was answering my own question it would have been a lot more clear, like “Pursue a Business Degree through Warner”, “Move to London to be a tour guide at Westminster Abbey”, or “Stay exactly where you are because a change is coming in 6 months.” I sure as heck would not have said “Write”. Write what? A thesis? A dissertation? A blog? A letter? A Match.com application? (please not that one).
So I’ve given God a three-month deadline for some clarity before I make some of my own changes. In one of my Bible classes at Western Seminary I remember the professor describing how in the Psalms, which we sing so sweetly in church, David would sometimes bargain with God, promising to give Him all the glory if a desired outcome turned out (I method I’ve been attempting with a family dispute for over five years with no luck YET). And a book I read by Jerry Sittser about unanswered prayer described the importance of honesty with God, since He knows what I’m thinking anyways. So I’m thinking I need vision, and would prefer it to be eternal but will substitute a little earthly one until He speaks a little louder. This is not a threat, ultimatum, or blackmail; just a first draft submission. I know I may not like His response, but I am ready to accept it.