What the Future Holds

You know, I identify a lot with that elephant walking the tightrope at the top of the screen.

Some people seem to have it all together. I find myself scrolling through my Facebook news feed, getting jealous of people who are making vacation plans and purchasing homes and having babies. These people are investing in stable plans for a certain future–they know exactly where they are headed.

I rarely ever feel that way.

I live most of my life in transition. I feel like that guy Nik Wallenda who just walked across the Grand Canyon at 1500 feet in the air, feet wobbling in the wind. Except I’m never quite sure when I’ll reach the end of the tight rope, or what exactly will be waiting for me on the other side.

Nearly ten years ago, I started college and moved out of my parents’ house, a place where I had made my home for the last eighteen years. The bedroom I used when I was eighteen is the same room that once held my baby crib. I even had a place on the wall where I marked my height over the years. It was terrifying to move away from home, because I’d never ever lived anywhere else. Since then, my life has been a whirlwind. I’ve lived in twelve different residences in five different states and one foreign country. I rarely go more than a year without moving into a different house/apartment or switching jobs. Not because I enjoy change, by any means. Change just seems to always find me.

I long to go back to that lifestyle of hunkering down and staying in the same place for years and years. Getting comfortable. Making things permanent. Knowing where I live and where my life is headed. I miss the certainty of that.

But it’s summer again, and summer seems to be my season of change. Being a lifelong student and a teacher after that, I tend to measure my life in semesters. Where am I heading next semester? Where will I be one school year from now? And the truth is, I still don’t know.

A lot of things are up in the air for us right now. Justin and I were planning on buying a house this summer for a long time, but now we’re not so sure it’s going to happen. Financial aid that I was counting on for grad school has fallen through, and the internship opportunity I was hoping for looks like it might not happen. Suddenly I’m re-evaluating whether or not I can afford to finish grad school, and Justin and I are both wondering if Pittsburgh is where we’re supposed to be. Against my will, I’ve been thrown back out on that tightrope again, left to worry that one wrong move could send me off course, hurtling through the air toward my doom. I inch forward, day by day, not really sure of what awaits when I find my way onto solid ground again.

During a phone conversation with my dad last week, I asked, “When will I start feeling like I have it all together? When will I start feeling certain of where my life is headed?” I figured, maybe his answer would be “in your thirties.” After all, theoretically a person in their thirties is a lot more stable than a person in their twenties who is still figuring everything out, right? He thought about it for a moment, and he answered honestly: “I don’t know if that ever happens.”

There’s only one thing I can do during these tightrope moments, when I’m navigating from solid ground to solid ground. I have to trust that God knows where I’m headed and that he’s going to get me there. Do I enjoy having to depend fully on him because I can’t see where I’m going? Not really, to be honest. I like to be in control (or at least feel like I am). But I suppose I need to get used to it. If the past ten years is any indication, there will be many more tightropes in my future.

It’s a Peter-walking-on-water situation. Instead of looking down and getting scared that I’m going to fall, I need to keep my eyes on Jesus, and know that he’s the one in charge of the storm and the chaos anyways, and he’s not going to use it to hurt me. And I’m glad that I have a church here in Pittsburgh to remind me about that every single week and help me re-align my perspective. Particularly, their message yesterday really spoke to anyone who is feeling stressed out or uncertain about the future. You can watch the entire service here, if you’re interested:Β http://pecc.pittsburgheast.com/videos/currentmessage.php

We sang a song yesterday by Kristian Stanfill that I’ve heard before on the radio, but I never paid careful attention to the lyrics before, and it really hit me.

“The Lord Our God”

Promise maker, Promise Keeper
You finish what You begin
Our provision through the desert
You see it through ’til the end
You see it through ’til the end

The Lord our God is ever faithful
Never changing through the ages
From this darkness You will lead us
And forever we will say
You’re the Lord our God

In the silence, in the waiting
Still we can know You are good
All Your plans are for Your glory
Yes, we can know You are good
Yes, we can know You are good

We won’t move without You
We won’t move without You
You’re the light of all
And all that we need
We won’t move without You
We won’t move without You
You’re the light of all
And all that we need

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Categories: Christian Living | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

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14 thoughts on “What the Future Holds

  1. Ashley B.

    I can so relate to you right now!! It’s hard not knowing what’s next and so easy to get jealous of others that seem to have things figured out. Praying for you, Rach. Hope to see you soon. πŸ™‚

    • Awww, thanks Ashley! I know you guys are living with your parents right now, right? Same thing Justin and I were doing last summer. I know things will work out for you and Davy! I’ll be praying for you, too. πŸ™‚

  2. Love this. I feel the same way every now and then, and believe me, I definitely understand how difficult it can be learning to trust God without knowing where you’ll be living in a year. I NEVER thought I would be in France, especially for this long. We don’t know what we’ll be doing in January! But keep praying and keep trusting, even when it’s hard πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Maggie! I love reading up on what you guys are doing in France, and I’m excited to see where God takes you next! πŸ™‚

  3. Rick

    I’m right there with you! Since married in Aug of 2008, Tiff and I have move 6 times and getting ready for #7 at the end of July. Plus, I moved to FL the year before that. For me, that will be 8 moves in 5 years in 3 different states. The job I have at Walmart is one of the longest I have held, but that includes 2 transfers to different stores and 1 internal job transfer. Not to mention the 3 months I was on loan at a 4th store. Tiff and I are in contract for a small house that we will hopefully be moving in to in July, but not without down-payment assistance from a state bond program. It seemed the best option since 3 bedroom apt rent rates are as much or more than a mortgage payment. I’m just sitting here stressing that the financing will be approved and we will not end up homeless in August after our lease runs out. I don’t look at my student loans and pretend they are not there, because they are in deferment. Be thankful you only have only 2 mouths to feed, and Justin has a full-time job!!

    • Wow, that is a lot of moving around, Rick! I know you and Tiffany have been in kind of a whirlwind since you got married. It just forces you to rely on God even more and just trust that he’s taking care of everything for your good! πŸ™‚

  4. I really struggle sometimes with being happy in the here and now and not waiting for things to all fall into place. I wish you could take a peak into the future sometimes but this week I tried to remember to count my blessings and that helped!

  5. Taking a look into the future would be both good and bad–we might see things in our future that we don’t like! It’s probably best to just handle things as they come. We all need to remember to count our blessings! Thanks, Victoria! πŸ™‚

  6. You are so on the right track (or tightrope). There is no way to know what the future holds, but God is a constant. You’re going to be fine in exactly the way He has planned for you.

    And remember – in general, we see the highlight reel of other people’s lives in their Facebook posts, etc. And we know the behind-the-scenes of our own. It’s hard to not compare, but they are apples to oranges.

    Best of luck with all the uncertainty.

  7. I know. My husband actually stopped signing onto his Facebook for a full week because he just kept feeling envious of all the accomplishments that people kept bragging about on his news feed, and he just needed to take a break from it. It’s easy to play the game, “They’ve been married as long as us, but they have x, y, and z, but we don’t.” But you’re right–it’s no good to compare. They’re living their life, and we’re living ours.

  8. Oh that song is such a good one!

    I really relate to the whole packing-everything-up-and-moving-every-year thing. But almost in an opposite way. I did that for so much of my life that I feel like it’s the norm. It’s been really strange for me to live in the same house for the past three years. I know it can be stressful to not know what comes next, but that’s what faith is, right? I feel like I have grown the most in times when I have no idea what the future holds so I really have to just rely on God. Not that those are the most pleasant times, but you know what I mean. πŸ™‚

  9. They’re definitely not the most pleasant times, but probably the most important times. A little bit of stretching and growing never hurt anyone. πŸ™‚

  10. I really struggle with this, too — so many of my friends are already “settled” while my boyfriend and I are just in the planning phase while he finishes grad school. We’re both itching to get out of LA, but it requires lots of patience. However, I absolutely believe that God has a grander plan in all this. He has a larger plan for you — it’s just that you can’t see it yet. πŸ™‚

  11. It’s tough to be in the planning phase! I always want to plan for every possible scenario, just so that I can be doing something and feel productive. But it’s best to just wait on God and see what he has planned–oftentimes it’s something better than I could have planned in the first place. 😎

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