Am I the only one who thinks this way? A ghost of mine that I just can't seem to let sleep is the fear that I'm missing something. Across any domain, in any circumstance, I wonder if I'm seeing the full picture. It quite literally haunts me. As my fingers search the pages of my old and not so old journals, I see the word "compassless" describe me over and over. I see prayers written with unrecorded answers and I see the wisdom of my hindsight--and I wonder where that discernment was when I needed it.
"Hey, are you a singer?" It really wasn't all that weird that a random girl approached me with this question. My fiance, Jordan, and I were at an International House of Prayer One Thing Conference with some of our friends. In this space, people are always praying for one another, prophesying over each other, and sharing with people what they think God thinks about them. I was used to seeing it by then, but this question was awfully specific.
When I picked up the phone, it was Jane Armstrong: the spiritual mamma of Miami Cru for 30+ years. "Hi Taylor. We are having a special 'women's Cru' in a couple weeks. I was hoping that night that you would share your insights about Biblical Femininity that we talked about the other day!"
Of course, Jane.
Biblical Femininity was one of my favorite topics at the time and I started working on my message right away. I felt honored and excited that Jane picked me, a sophomore, to be a teacher that night and I was determined to kill it.
I couldn't shake it. By all appearances, it was a normal day in my favorite class--the Psychology of Play--, but my mind was far from focused. Every Monday and Wednesday at lunch, I cheerily waved hello to friends and waltzed into our bright classroom content with an overflowing salad. But today, with every bite I became more and more unsettled. It started a few days ago: I resolved to not pass up any opportunity I saw to pray for someone; Whether it be for physical healing, emotional turmoil, or whatever other darkness happened to be hovering that day. I was angsty in class because I had walked right past a girl on crutches who was complaining to her friend about the injury and I hadn't offered prayer. I was supposed to be helping to lead class that day, but five minutes in, while my partner was teaching, I walked out the door.
"Can you pick me up from the park behind Kroger? We're done here." Luckily, I was already at Kroger so I finished up and headed over. My boyfriend, Jordan, and three of my friends were at a Muslim celebration open to the community. The Muslims were celebrating the end of Eid--a commemoration festival where the Muslims celebrate Abraham sacrificing Ishmael (though the Bible says that Isaac was offered) and the lamb that God provided. The Muslims were celebrating with a potluck open to the community. My friends saw this as the perfect opportunity to bring Jesus' love to them. Grocery shopping kept me from going. Classic.
I did a crazy thing. I moved across the country where I know no one and don't have a job. Classic millennial move, I know. I'm not running from myself, I'm not trying to find myself, and I'm not looking for amazing Instagram pics. For awhile, I had no idea why I was here. God didn't tell me to come and, honestly, I didn't really want to. I'm in the same boat as you with this decision: confused.
I work at a place where I help people tell stories with excellence. Being a writing consultant means being a safe place where writers can divulge their writing insecurities in confidence and leave with new confidence. One of my supervisors is currently writing his dissertation. I’m not exactly sure what the topic is, but, he wanted to interview me about my journey with writing. I gladly agreed to an hour conversation about such things (and an Amazon gift card). We talked about my journey, what writing is to me, and what I had learned from college about writing. I was honest. I said that I felt like I hadn’t learned much. In an education institution that tries to quantify such things like writing skills, intelligence, and depression, it’s hard to learn how things really are.
3 in the morning and I saw the familiar sight of a dressed up girl standing alone in her heels on the sidewalk with her phone pressed to her ear. She'd been standing there awhile and it looked like whoever she'd been calling wasn't answering. I walked over to her and asked if I could walk her home or if she needed any help. "I'm trying to get ahold of my boyfriend but he's not answering. He always does this. He's mean to me." Tears trickled out and down and she told me how hard it's been to get out of the abusive relationship. She knew she was wasting her college years, she knew he wasn't a good guy, but she also said she loved him. My heart went out to her and we talked for my heart had been similarly trapped before.
Every person has a unique deposit of God's character within them. Sharing and listening to life-stories is just one way we get a fuller picture of who we are, who God is, and what life in relationship with Him is really like.