Thursday, May 18, 2006

365 Days

As of today, it is exactly one year since I said goodbye and left my job at CMH, thus beginning the journey of struggle and discovery that has marked the past 365 days.

And what have I learned?

I've just take things as they come, knowing that God will always provide, often through resources that we cannot see until we take that step of faith and go forward on a path that may not seem clear. We do not know what is waiting around the bend, and it isn't often that God shows us ahead of time. He just asks us to trust Him, and walk forward.

I am still learning the art of not looking for the higher meaning in all things. There does not have to be any greater purpose for a particular conversation or chance meeting or circumstance, other than the fact that life is happening. I think I've lived much of my life trying to sort out the signs, looking at everything in my life and saying, "What is God trying to tell me here? Where is He leading?"

It just occurred to me today, in fact, that living my life in such a way is akin to reading tea leaves or using astrology to determine my future. Just as God strictly warned against the use of such practices, I think He is equally disinclined to have us attempt to interpret the "signs" of every day life. So much of my life has been thwarted by my attempts to do that very thing. Certainly, God works all things together for good, even when we screw it up...but to assume that God desires to bring confusion into our lives by using vague signs and endlessly dark paths as a vehicle for conveying His will is an error in thinking that has had a dramatic and far-reaching impact on my life.

I am learning to do what I know to do, until I know to do something else. Life does not stop while I try to figure out what it all means. I was talking with a good friend of mine last night about that very thing...How much time have we wasted waiting for life to happen, when all along life goes on, we are getting older, and we cannot reclaim what we're losing by standing still and trying to figure it all out. While we're sitting here waiting for life to happen, it IS happening. Are we living it?

Of all the things I've learned in the past year, I think this has been the greatest lesson, and it has come by the grace God has liberally given through many of the trials I've endured in the last 365 days.

I am learning that my lack of success in one area of my life does not mean I am an utter failure. The fact that I have not become a phenomonally successful insurance agent in the last six months does not mean it was a mistake to try, or that there is nothing I can take away from the experience. I tried it, it didn't work (in fact, failed abysmally), so I move on. And that's okay.

We are all works in progress. Life doesn't come with a point-by-point "How To" guide, and we all fumble through the best that we can, and eventually get it right and land on our feet. God knows our humanness. He knows our weakness. And His grace is more than sufficient to see us through whatever may come to us in this life.

In the last 365 days, I've not only learned a lot about God's grace, but I am also learning to extend a little grace to myself. I say things to myself that I would never even think of saying to anyone else, because the things I say are cruel and meant only to cause shame and inflict pain. I am learning to give myself a break, be kind to myself, and not discount what God has created in me by seeking to diminish it at every opportunity.

I have learned the immeasurable value of friends who love you no matter what, and will always be your soft place to land when things get difficult. Nothing this side of heaven can compare with the safe haven of the love of your true friends, and that has been the one constant thing through all of the shifts and changes of this past year.

365 days after taking the leap of faith tht changed my life, I am still only marginally employed, I am broke, and my future is uncertain. Still, things are looking brighter every day, and I feel like I am the most wealthy woman in the world.

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