Well, hello. It is I, the writer of this blog. Yes, I do still exist. And I do apologize for my long absence. Three weeks of it was spent abroad, and the last few have been spent working and attempting to maintain a social life. I thought about giving a low down on what my trip abroad was for, but for the purposes of this entry, I shall keep it short and sweet, and relevant to my topic tonight.
I spent the first week of my vacation in Hawaii with my family, celebrating my paternal grandparents’ 50th anniversary at their favorite resort on the island of Kauai. I had been to Hawaii before, but this time my whole family was present, and for the first time, Colton was able to travel with us. We had a fun time, and it was nice to have him there with us as well. The last two weeks of the trip, my parents, my little brother Jack, and I traveled to Australia. My other little brother Zac (okay, not so little…he’s 20) lives there, and is currently taking part in the college/internship experience offered by Hillsong College just outside Sydney. We also were there to attend the 2017 Hillsong Conference, which was absolutely amazing on all fronts. I will allude to this experience a little later in this entry as well. We also spent some time in Gold Coast, AU, which is further north and functions much like a Californian beach town might in the USA. In all, I counted about 8 flights that I was on for the whole trip, including two 10-hour flights, two 6-hour flights, and four flights that each averaged around 1-2 hours each. Let’s just say that I think I’d be okay to not be in an airport or on a plane for a while.
At this point, you may be wondering about the title of this entry. I always thought it was funny when someone would describe their nightmare as something to the tune of “I was at school with no pants!” or “I dreamt I was making a speech and all of a sudden I looked down and I was naked!” Often times, people attribute these kinds of dreams to nervousness, anxiety, and being worried for the day to follow. It makes sense; we as humans (and especially as Americans it seems) like to fill our schedules to the max. We are creatures bound by time, slaves to it really, and when we feel unprepared for something that is coming up, it can trigger reactions akin to being nervous for entire days, or feeling so anxious that sleep is an afterthought. Even beyond unpreparedness, we as humans often get this bottoming out feeling of inadequacy. We often feel like we aren’t good enough to do something, like we do not have what it takes to achieve our personal (and professional) goals. The scenes that play out in our mind’s eye overnight are often collections of thoughts we have throughout the day, so it only makes sense that what we anticipate to go wrong in real life often does in our dreams.
Last night, I had what I would consider a nightmare. Granted, it did not involve pants or nakedness specifically, but it left me quite shaken when I woke. Since it has been an entire day since I woke up this morning, the details are waning in my memory, but the feeling I was left with was some cross between uncertainty and anxiety, to the point where I seriously felt like calling in sick to work. I’ve been thinking about it all day long, and as I was driving home, I thought of something. I was listening to Hillsong United’s newest album “Wonder” (really great album, definitely recommend), just thinking about the lyrics in the songs I was singing along to, and reflecting on my time in Australia. As a writer/poet, I tend to really key into the lyrics in songs and how they build the structure of a song and influence the listener with the swells of the music and the chords used behind key parts. The song I was listening to as I pulled into the garage was “Shadow Step”. It has a chorus that says
“Light up the way of your heart
Move me like you do the mountains
Move me like you do the wind
And I’ll chase your voice through the dark
Fix my eyes on the unexpected
In the wonder of your shadow step
So take another step”
And I thought about where my life is at this moment. As many of you know, I juggle school, work, home life, social life, planning my wedding, and other miscellaneous things on a daily basis. Sounds like a lot to the average person, but in reality, we all have our things we worry about. Today, I just started thinking about where God is in all of this craziness. I have a bad (but very human) habit of wanting to control everything. I like knowing when things happen. I like being an insider to every plan that concerns me. I like getting answers to questions right away, so that I have time to act, react, or counteract. But as I am starting to realize more and more lately, God does not function within the constraints of time. He does not work at our convenience. He does things when he does things. He says and does things because he is God. We as humans want to control everything around us, and we want to contain God to the little box of things we can understand. We work hard as scientists and logicians and artists to try to quantify God in a way we can comprehend. But God is beyond us and our realm. He is incomprehensible to our tiny minds. And yet He cares for us. He cares about every little tiny thing that happens with us, good, bad, ugly, beautiful, even ambivalent. He cares when I am stressed out over the stupidest reasons. He cares when I feel like I’m at my wit’s end. He cares when I come home from work too tired to think straight but I put a face on for friends anyway. He cares when I tell him he doesn’t, when I’m angry and hurt because I don’t understand what’s happening. He continually chases me, because he loves me, and for the longest time I thought that I needed to chase him down too. But I don’t. He has never left my side, and for me, all I need to do is just trust him and let go of my need to control. Only then can he move me like the mountains and wind, and only then can I be successful where he sends me. I can willingly chase his voice through the darkness that encapsulates the pitifully small scope of the world I have compared to his. I can be ready for him to move at any moment. And that is where I want to be. As one of the speakers said at Hillsong Conference 2017, we should be on our “tip-toes” in anticipation for what God will do. Because God will do great things through those whom he makes great. Really they are average people, but they relinquish control to God, trust him, and through them he does wonders.
So, I take another step forward. I fix my eyes on God. And in that the anxiety fades, because he comforts. The nervousness fades, because he assures. The unpreparedness fades, because he equips. The inadequacy fades, because he fills. So he directs another step.