End of the desert years.

For anyone who knows me well enough, you would know that my last several years have been less than my plan. I have faced challenges, financial struggle, consequences of poor decisions, and I have simply faced life. Sometimes that is what happens. Sometimes we just do what we think is best, we try to live right, and still life happens. In October 2010, I made the decision to move back to New Jersey from Florida. I had just finished college and was near completion of my Masters Degree. I was offered an opportunity to work at a church as a youth pastor. In my mind, I didn’t really have many other options. I knew I needed job experience. I knew I needed to pay off the student debt that would soon be my burden. So I left Florida behind. It wasn’t so much a leap of faith as it was just taking the opportunity as it was presented. But in those 4 1/2 years between then and now, I have seen a lot of the depth of what that decision really meant.

In 4 years I have worked in 2 churches alongside also working in 2 different coffee shops (one I which I am still employed), a school, a temp position, and free-lance photography. I have been actively engaged with a young adult community, among which I have met many of my now best friends. I committed to working in adult industry outreach. My schedule was often busy. My life was more than often hectic and busy simply to be busy. I think I partly chose to be busy because I like having a lot on my plate. I also think I chose to be busy to cover up the fact that I hated waiting. I have known for years what I wanted to do in theory, I just couldn’t necessarily put my finger on what exactly that would look like. So I kept busy wandering through my life of the past 4 years. It hasn’t been bad…by no means am I saying that these past few years have been terrible. However, I am saying that when found in the waiting, it can be hard to push through the mundane and mediocre daily occurrences of life.

I think of the Hebrews (Israelites) and their journey to the Promised Land. They were not allowed to enter the land because they weren’t obedient to God. So for 40 years they wandered through the desert, through life, through the mundane. For 40 years….Its hard for me to fathom that time frame simply because I haven’t lived 40 years yet. What I find crazy about it is that God chose to let them wander in the desert, in a state of just waiting for the promise, because he wanted to show them that He knows what he is doing. Sometimes God using time…time that can be boring, discouraging, frustrating, and not what is desired, simply because he wants us to get it. He wants us to understand that he is God, that he loves us, that he has a plan for us. For 4 years, I have been waiting for God to give me direction on the next thing, next step, next chapter of my life. For 4 years God told me to wait and be obedient with where he has placed me. I feel as though now is the time where the Promised Land is attainable. I don’t necessarily mean life will be easy from this point on or that I’ll get everything I’ve ever wanted. I do believe that I am seeing a lot of God’s faithfulness right now. I am seeing a lot of his clear favor and blessing. For me, I think this is the turning point where I get to move into the next phase. He has been doing a lot already, don’t get me wrong, but I think a lot of the desert years might be behind me…the years of just wandering and wondering what he was doing. In a quick leap of faith, I transferred my job at Starbucks to Fort Campbell in Tennessee, stepped down from all volunteer and leadership commitments, ended memberships and began apartment hunting.  In a matter of three weeks, my life was turned upside down (queue Fresh Prince haha). I still don’t really know all that is ahead.  Now I get to walk in obedience and faithfulness and honor of what he has done and will still do.

 

Wherever you find yourself, don’t give up. Life is hard, difficulty happens. Things occur that can be disheartening. Don’t give up. Think of your life, at this moment, as a teaching moment from God. Be attentive. Be listening. Be hopeful that God isn’t done with you yet. The Promise could be just ahead.

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