A few posts ago I casually mentioned that my wife and I were in the process of examining some potentially life changing decisions. In Friday’s post, my wife ever-so-slyly let the cat out of the bag. We’re considering moving. To South freaking Africa.
So, near as I can tell, the real trouble began a few months ago when I wrote that blasted post about telling God we’re “All in”. We had decided that we were willing to tell God that we would trust him, and that we wanted whatever he wanted for our lives. In our defense, I had just spoken to my amazing missionary aunt and uncle who told us that it took them twenty years for God to ask them to move halfway across the world. Well, in our case, four months to the day of writing that post, I received a phone call from a dear friend of mine.
You see, David is involved in an organization called 13th floor which gives teens and 20-somethings the space to write stage shows that they then perform at local schools during the school day, and then if the school lets them, they host another show in the evening that’s a little more spiritually substantial. David has been involved with the program for about five years or so now, and is still madly in love with it. Well, a few weeks ago David tells me that a piece of 13th floor has spun off into a full blown production company. And they need someone that can write, shoot and edit video, and has some creative tendencies. Also, the original 13 floor program needs a counselor (more of a life coach) to help the program’s kids that just need to talk to someone. It just so happens that these two jobs are the exact things my wife and I went to school for.
The offer, in and of itself, isn’t brand new. David has mentioned before that he thinks it could be a good fit for us. The difference this time, however, is that we’ve told God we’re all in. And we meant it. And then this comes up, seemingly out of the blue. And for the first time… We can almost see it. It’s still blurry, it’s a fuzzy image… But this time around it feels a lot more possible than it ever has.
So for the past few weeks, Leah and I have taken some solace in knowing and truly believing that what becomes of us is God’s call. That’s part of the deal when you go all in; all you have to worry about is focusing on what God is saying. However, we’ve been struggling with what we’re supposed to do in the mean time. Do we continue building our life here, or do we begin the process of dismantling it? I found the answer in an antique padlock. The process of finding the answer was a little stream-of-consciousy, so just bear with me…
The last time I met with my spiritual director, at the end of our time he handed me a pouch and told me that he felt like God wanted to show me something with the items inside. When I got home, I found a padlock similar to the one pictured above, a zipper, and a broken piece of pottery. For the next two weeks I would occasionally pull these items out and really try to contemplate them and figure out what it is that God was trying to show me.
I felt like there was a common thread among all three items. As I looked upon them, I realized that they were all a means of getting to something. I felt like maybe God was talking about his plan, or his will in our lives… Like maybe we’re separated from what he wants for us by something as easily moved as a zipper, or maybe having to exert enough effort to smash a pot or find the key and open a lock… But then… I began to realize something else…
All three items actually open unto themselves. The same zipper that closes a duffel opens it back up. A pot that contains something you can’t reach can be thrown at the ground and opened. And the padlock… Click on the picture at the top of this post again. The key isn’t there for safekeeping; the chain that holds the key is actually welded to the padlock. The lock isn’t there to keep anyone out, it’s there simply to keep things closed up and secure.
So, today I was praying. I asked God to speak, and I think he did. He told me to keep working on our life here in Knoxville. He said to fill it with the things we love, to embrace all the very best things… but to listen for him. Because at any moment, God could ask us to leave it all behind. As he spoke, I felt the twinge of a thought growing…
Our lives are like that padlock. He’s asked us to be solid and secure in the life we’ve built for ourselves. We need to find enjoyment in it, we need to be in love with the life we’ve created… But we also need to know that God is the key, and he’s never far. At any moment, he might turn our lock and it’s up to us to choose to spring open or act like a rusted lock that has to be smashed with a hammer to open.
In the end, I still don’t know if we’re going to Africa or not. If God tells us to, we absolutely will. But until then, I plan on living my life like God intended: with the wild abandon of a man that knows God is living it with him.