Yesterday was a happy day. A really happy day. It was the kind of day where you feel so blessed you just can’t help but smile! The sun was bright, I was smiling and I just couldn’t wait to get home and open my Bible to journal the day and its events.
You’re probably wondering why it was such a happy day?! Let me tell you… Yesterday, May 17th (a Wednesday), I woke up at 3:25am, startled by the sound of my alarm (which is supposed to sound like a peaceful breeze but, let’s be honest, no sound is peaceful at 3:25am!). It was dark outside and my body did not want to get up out of bed, but I got up anyway. I got ready. All the while, my stomach was in knots and I was decidedly not smiling. 4:20am rolled by and I opened up my laptop, logged into Skype, and sat anxiously – all waiting for a job interview to start. You can probably see where this is going now, but I’ll tell you the fun details anyway!
An interview at 4:30am. Why so early? Because I am still in the States and the job is back in my beloved English hometown. The interview started a little late. I was given a spelling, punctuation and grammar test, and then quizzed about the usuals – why am I suited to the role, what’s my experience so far, what are my strengths etc etc etc. How did I do? Well, when asked to give examples of determiners my early morning brain went blank, I could not remember what an expanded noun phrase was, and passive and active voice was, well, silent. But I did my best and just has I had done from the start of the application process, I gave it all over to God.
As you’ve no doubt guessed, I got the job. I was so excited to get that email that I – almost! – cried happy tears. And through those – almost! – squeals of excitement, the first thing I did was thank God.
If you’re anything like me, you’re always wondering ‘What next?’ What’s my next step? Where will it lead? Where’s my next big adventure going to take me? What are you going to use me for next, God? I haven’t always been like that. As a kid becoming a teenager and being bullied daily, I was not in the least bit brave or adventurous. And then, as an young adult suffering with depression and anxiety, I was even less of a risk-taker. But after those struggles and difficult times, I became determined to be braver and step out more in faith.
Coming to America was my biggest brave step yet. It was my dream for a long time. But it was a dream I gave to God. Sometimes it’s easy to believe what some people tell you, that you shouldn’t make you own dreams but wait for God’s dreams for you. Okay, if that’s what you want to do. But perhaps another option is to listen to the whisperings God puts on your heart and trust Him to bring them to fruition. God knows our every thought and longing, and those persistent ones that are in-line with His ways… well, I find it difficult to believe that He did not put them there. If I am walking closely enough with God, aren’t my dreams His dreams? Aren’t His dreams my dreams?
When I made the decision a few months ago to head back home at the end of this academic year, it was a scary decision to make in some ways. Yes, I would be back among the comfort of family and friends and familiar places. But I would also be going back to uncertainty, to no job, no house of my own, no set plan.
So I prayed. I gave all my worries and uncertainties to God. I planned too. I planned options. But I planned differently this time around. Instead of, ‘What do I need?’, I asked, ‘What do I want?’ I listened to those God-whispers on my heart. This new job answers those whispers. It is a new direction, one that will take me away from the classroom. It comes with uncertainties – Will I be good at it? Will I be making enough money? Will it be what I hope it to be? – but I think that in the uncertainties is where God really moves.
In the end, we can plan our lives in great detail or in just big ideas. But either way, God is the one who makes it all possible. He gives us our dreams and if we trust in Him, He makes them come true. Does He make them easy? No – where would be the fun in that!
When I journaled my happy day yesterday, I gave thanks for God’s blessings, for my plans – our plans – becoming real, and for the exciting new direction He is leading me in. Whatever it turns out to be, I know that in my God I can make it a brave and bold new thing!
My prayer for you as I write this, with the smell of home-baked banana bread in the oven (I celebrate happy occasions with cake 😉 ) and the North Carolina sunshine illuminating the pages of Proverbs, is that you will trust God with your plans, too. Be brave. Be bold. Listen to the whispers He has placed on your heart. Take risks in faith, trust Him with it all, and have a happy day!