NightLight: On Not Losing Sight and the Big Picture


written by Ms. Anonymous:

Five years ago I graduated from high-school, released from the security of our homes and thrown into the world of college and exploration and infused with hope for the future and dreams of “making it big.”

College is coming to an end and things seem uncertain. Some of my friends are rushing off to get married, have babies, and start a home. Some are finding a job near by-as not to change too much too fast. Some are fast tracking to their careers and buying suits and fancy shoes. Everyone seems a little confused. The future seems unpredictable and frightening.

How do you stay close to God and not rush into making decisions too quickly? How do you trust that there is a plan instead of creating your own plan? How do you deal with the uncertainty that lies in front of you when all you have known is planned steps and new phases?

I know there isn’t one answer. I know there isn’t a plan you can give me. A step-by-step to follow to the end.

But, what can you give me? Some tips for not losing sight of the big picture? Some tips for not losing myself in all of the transition. Some tips to know that I will survive and that something is bound to work out?

—-

Dear Ms. Anonymous,

First. You are not anonymous to me. I love you. I think you’re brave and beautiful.

You’ve reminded me that in high school, we had counselors whose jobs were to point us in the right direction. They asked what we wanted to be when we grew up. The lucky knew what they wanted be, and even still -even after meeting every goal those counselors made for me, I didn’t feel successful or safe. I’m so thankful for my husband and my children, and they make me feel every kind of good, but even they don’t make me feel how I thought they were supposed to.

As far as I know, there is no stage or position where we land and say, “OK. I’ve made it.” The end is God. The transitions and fancy shoes, the counselors and all their bad plans, the test scores and the homes we make – these are all and only means, not the end.

I tell myself this as I take on yet another job today that I don’t know how I’ll complete. I say it with boy children who will one day be young lusty men and with a girl-child born half a world away. I don’t know how any of us will make it, but I know that when we do, the end is God.

And it will be worth any slither of attention I gave Him through it all. It will be worth every word He gives me, so I can use it for a lamp. I can see just this one foot taking this one step at a time, and that is it.

Light a lamp, friend, and keep it burning, because He’s coming, and when He does, He’s going to whisper in your ear. Be ready to hear. He is so good. Do not think to yourself, “What if I missed it?” You didn’t. Start now.

LoveLoveLove,

Amber

—-

I would love your submissions for questions or for {I’m begging} some encouragement for women who are younger than you. Click here for guidelines.

amberhaines
About me

5 Comments

Megan
Reply February 26, 2010

Dear Ms. Anonymous,

I graduated from college nine years ago. With a degree in English. That I never use. Instead, I later went back to school and got a nursing degree, and now I mostly stay home with a handful of small children even with that. I'm still not sure what I want to be when I grow up.

All that to say, even though it feels like the answer to so much uncertainty ahead lies in finding The Right Path for your life that you will never have to stray from, I really don't think that is how it plays out for most of us. If I knew then what I know now, I surely would have avoided some pitfalls, but I would have also missed the lessons I learned from them.

I think you just pray about today and maybe tomorrow and maybe even next week. But try not to hold yourself responsible for The Rest of Your Life just yet. His mercies are new each morning, so live one day at a time so as not to miss them.

It is a little unsettling to not have the structure and predictability of one more year of school, but God does amazing things with unpredictability!

Be blessed, dear one.

Sara @ It's Good to be Queen
Reply February 26, 2010

"the end is God." yes. i so agree.

and this "How do you trust that there is a plan instead of creating your own plan?" that is still hard for me. i've created a lot of plans that weren't God's. but i think the thing is God's presence. fall on your knees before him and be still and listen. i cling to Isaiah 30:21
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."
i ask for that constantly.
just dwell in His presence this day. today. not worrying about anything other than basking in Him and His adoring gaze.

Misty
Reply February 26, 2010

I agree that these questions and struggles have lingered beyond this particular stage of life for me.

But I can say without exception that for all the times that I felt I have walked a path in the fog, with no idea where God was leading me or what role I was to play, that His voice has always been there. It is often quiet, but persistent. The same thing again and again, whether it be "Wait", "Trust Me". One particularly hard time I heard again and again "Can't you trust me to keep my promises?". There have also been specific scriptures that have become anchors, given by Him. It is still easy to feel frustrated and discontent when you are continually hearing His voice. But also without exception, if I am feeling that way, it is because I want a different answer, or a quicker fix. He is ALWAYS faithful to give you the light you need to stay on course. And He is always faithful to steer you back should a stubborn or defiant heart cause you to stray. Do your best to enjoy the journey. I have come to believe that God cares less about the details and the outcome, and more about our hearts and our trust in Him along the way.

Melissa
Reply February 27, 2010

In Christ we are always 'home' in Him, and we are always 'aliens' here...It is in this juxtaposition that we are lost and uncomfortable, and not quite content...
It is this discontent that breeds greatness. It is this discontent that bears passion and direction and change in the world. Lean into the things that make you feel most uncomfortable. The injustice that makes you seethe. The unrest that you can help to bring peace. The unloved that you can help to bring love.
And trust that he will give you light enough to take the next step...and rarely gives you more than that. And at times he leads you somewhere not as an ends, but as a means. My husband moved to a town for school thinking he was called to teach. Soon enough he was torn to a very different thing, but he was brought to this town, for this time...of that there is NO DOUBT.
Bless you dear Ms. Annonymous...Asking the question proves you will maintain your passion...just don't settle for safe or easy. That is rarely His path.

Oh...I love this way too much Amber. I can't stop thinking of Night Light.

To Think Is To Create
Reply March 2, 2010

Dear Ms. Anonymous,

If I could go back and tell myself at your age/place in life anything, it would be this...

When your gut is saying no, is telling you something is not the right path or decision (even if friends/family/church is saying it's right), don't be afraid to listen to your gut, to God. Those God voices rarely go along with the crowd, rarely seem "logical" by world measures. Taking leaps of faith has almost always been counter-culture.

Push yourself, think outside of the "now", what could you really do if you weren't afraid?

Know that you are enough, no matter the path, because there really is no wrong path. There are missed opportunities, but God brings you back around to them eventually.

Above all remember perspective, priorities. God, people's hearts and souls, these are the stuff that lasts.

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