In December 2010, I began to seek the Lord in earnest about my leading my wife and what he wanted from us as we looked to the future. By January, I had a very clear leading to do two things. First, move east. Second, write a novel. I began the process of each that very month, and I took steps to follow the direction I had received. The former was realized by August 2012; the latter was done in May 2013. Both roads were hard. They were taxing--not only spiritually but mentally, socially, emotionally, and financially.
I won't lie. At times, they are still difficult in all those ways. Delaware is different than California. Our lives look differently here. We are still relatively comfortable, but that comfort is not the same as it once was. The people that we miss, we miss very deeply. "Getting on our feet" has taken longer than we would have liked (or I expected). Bottom line is that following the Lord's leading has cost us.
And some days I am left sitting at my desk, thinking "what now?". Indeed. I felt like I capped off my two big "to-do's" four months ago, and while I haven't necessarily been sitting twiddling my thumbs, I have been wondering what next steps we need to take, and how they will honor the Lord. My wife and I have started looking at how we want our lives to look one year, three years, five years, even ten years, from now. Ours are modest dreams as far as American life is concerned. We still have a few areas of disagreement, and I think that my megalomanical narcissism always tends to make my personal goal set a bit too extravagant to be responsible. But for the most part we are on the same page, and we are looking toward the future with hope and tempered expectations.
And I am praying, frequently, for the Lord's direction, perhaps for another calling, something to give me a mission. I beg the Lord to reveal to me what he wants of us, who he wants us to encourage or bless, where he wants us to place our energies. I ask to see opportunities and capitalize on them. I ask him to speak vividly to us, to keep showing me his heart and transforming mine to look like it.
And I keep hearing the same words echo in my mind. You will likely recognize them: "He has shown you, O man; what is good and what the Lord requires of thee. But to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God."
That verse, that short exhortation, has been the resounding answer to my prayers again and again. Of course, the rub is putting them into practice, of knowing how to do what the verse describes and how to look at long term goals and life in light of it. Some days I feel like those who are far wiser than I have been operating under this paradigm for years--not praying to the Lord to "outline next steps" or provide a "Damascus-road experience" but simply looking at Scripture, putting it into practice, and praising God in the process.
Frankly, I don't think that the Lord has really settled us here, just yet. I think that "a change gonna come", and we're not going to expect it, but our calling will be to navigate it well, with Christ at the forefront of our words, actions, and attitudes. It's like anticipating a coming storm despite a clear sky. I feel like it's out there, somewhere, but it's not here just yet.
Until it gets here, I suppose the best thing to do is to live in light of what I've learned: That God is good and takes pleasure in our doing good, in our loving him and others. Perhaps that's all the "calling" I'm going to receive for a long time. And that's enough. God knows what he is doing, even if I don't all the time. And that's a very encouraging thought.
Hope you have a wonderful workweek, all.