Sunday, June 16, 2013

Going Back, Moving Forward

I'm terrible at deciding things.
How do you ever really know if you want a plate of cheesy chicken nachos topped with sour cream and guacamole OR a shredded beef chimichanga smothered with chile con queso? I love both...

Yes, I am comparing major life decisions to figuring out what to order at the Mexican restaurant down the street. Sort of, anyway.

To catch you up to speed...
I left my camp job in August, knowing it was time to go (some of you may recall the post I wrote about that big decision). And it was time to go. My fall consisted of traveling, spending time with family, meeting new friends in Africa... and it was perfect. I decided to take the plunge into graduate school in January, moving up to the Boston area to pursue my Masters of Arts in Counseling. If you recall, it wasn't ever a decision I felt sure of...but it was a risk I was willing to take, a stepping into the unknown of where that would actually lead me.

Meanwhile, there was always these musings and possibilities of new camps and new opportunities on the horizon. Possibilities that sometimes felt enticing, but felt far off and not-probable. At one point in the fall, I knew that if such possibilities became a reality that I wanted in. I knew I wanted to get dirty again. But then life kept happening... and it was good.

My transition to the northeast was smooth. I was blessed with two jobs very quickly, I was learning a lot, and I was meeting new people. Things were working out. Not to mention it's beautiful up here. But there was always a question nagging me that I didn't want to answer: do I really even want to do counseling?

I successfully avoided the question until recently. Until recently when I was presented with the 'opportunity of a lifetime'. Suddenly, in a whirlwind of events, an incredible job offer stood before me and as I toured a camp just outside of Santa Fe, I couldn't help but dream of the possibilities... but now the possibilities could become a reality, and I could be a part of helping them come into fruition.

The next few weeks were filled with conversations, questions, prayers, tears, confusion. Because how do I, indecisive about my food (and everything else in life), possibly make a huge life decision like this? How do I choose between two things that are good, two things that I want? How do I choose one without always wondering if I chose wrong, or if I am missing out on things because I didn't choose the other?

I began asking myself some hard questions:
-Why did I leave camp in the first place? Were the reasons why I left going to be there if I returned?
-Why did I decide to go to school?
-What are my long term goals?
-What do I really want to do?

I enlisted the help of others as I mulled through the thoughts. I didn't really expect the Lord to just shout down which path to take--because both felt good, both felt right, both felt honoring to Him. It was like choosing between nachos and chimichangas on a much greater scale.

So in all of this, I began to recognize that counseling wasn't what I wanted to do. The more I learned about it, the more I stepped into the various aspects of it... the more I recognized that my gifts and my passions line up much more with discipleship. I knew then that even if I stayed at school, I would not be continuing to get my degree in counseling. I began to look into other degree programs that would cater more to discipleship.

Every day brought up new emotions in me. Some days I was convinced I wanted the job and other days I was convinced that staying in the northeast was exactly where I should be and wanted to be. I felt bipolar. I did pro/con lists, I prayed...and I still wasn't sure what I actually wanted. I felt like the people I trusted and respected most had given me their full support no matter which direction I went.

And then one day, while journaling, this flowed from my pen:
I want the job. If I'm being honest...I want the job. But I'm scared of everything that entails. I'm scared of failing, I'm scared of the hard work, I'm scared of doing things I don't like. I'm scared of not liking it. I'm scared of all the responsibility that comes with... but I want it. I want to dream, to create, to be a part of lives changing, to tell people what the Lord is doing, to write, to speak, to have endless opportunities. I want to get people on board with this new vision and direct them, enable them, to challenge them toward the better. I want this job. 
In that moment, I knew that despite all the fears and all the hard work... that it was worth it. I knew that the last year of my life had been absolutely essential in preparing me to make this move back. I knew I was different. I knew I had grown. I knew I had a fresh perspective on things, I knew I had new connections and new relationships with people in different places. I knew that I could be successful in a setting outside of camp... and I think, on some level, I needed to know that. And, in the end, I knew it wasn't about me and what I could or couldn't do. I knew that God was going to move regardless, but I knew I wanted to be so willing that He might choose to use me for such a time as this.

So I began praying more specifically for peace about taking the job. And as I prayed for that, I felt an overwhelming need to rely on the Lord. A reminder that I can't do this job. Not without Him. Not without Him leading, not without me following. There must be an abandonment of my pride, a leaning on Him, and a willingness to go to Him constantly. I got even more excited about what it could look like, recognizing that we'll also need the support and prayers of many from outside of camp as we embark on this crazy endeavor, as we ask for Him to change thousands and thousands of lives each year.

I took the job.
As I've told people here (roommates, landlords, friends, employers, school), I've only encountered more affirmation. I'm so humbled and eager to see what the Lord does with it all.

For those of you who care about the logistics: 
I'll plan on moving from Massachusetts in August (probably mid to end) and driving to Missouri and spending a week or two at home before making the rest of the move to New Mexico. This summer I've decided to not take any classes and lay low, doing some work and just having a time of rest/adventure (like surfing in Nicaragua with some friends, and potentially going to Greece/Italy)! Once I've made the move, I'll then decide if continuing on with classes is something that I wish to do/is even feasible with the job requirements. There's the possibility of transferring to Denver Seminary (which is only 5 hours from the camp), and the possibility of doing a lot of a degree online (although not counseling). The school has told me that I can remain a student for now and to not feel like I need to make any sudden/drastic decisions on withdrawing immediately-- so I have time to figure that one out! 

And so we begin a new journey... 
A journey that involves me going back, yet moving forward. 
A journey that involves true life-change.
A journey that's still full of the unknown, full of risk, full of hard work, full of adventure... but a journey that's worth it. A journey that, I believe, maximizes my gifts and my passions for the glory of the Lord. 

How could I ever say no to that? 

I'm learning that I can make decisions without regrets, without looking back, without wishing I had ordered the nachos... because what's before me is so good. 

So good. 
I'm so undeserving... and so thankful. 
May He truly be glorified in this. 

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