The Language of “Someday”
I am fluent in the language of “someday.”
As I sit here, drinking my Earl Grey and dreaming, I could cover you with blankets of all the plans for all the things that I want to do. I could knit you scarves with them and bake you cakes with them. But they would stay safely slumbering in the corners of my imagination, quiet and unrealized.
I am the girl who cried “do!” and then doesn’t.
And I hate that.
Over the past five years of my life, as I have ventured to see more of life and of the world, I have willingly infected myself with the idea that life can be different. On one side, I am calmly buckled in, next to my health insurance and 401k and steady job, and on the other, I am furiously beating the door with my fists, screaming that I am convinced that this wasn’t supposed to be it. So which side do I listen to? Which one is right?
I’m not really sure if there is a right or a wrong answer — only a blurry vision of what the future could look like, depending on which side I choose. There is nothing wrong with a quiet, white picket life…but the thought of living in a string of regrets is suffocating. My practicality and hesitation have wrought me in a cage that ties me in with fear and nearly every time, it wins. And I feel like that breaks God’s heart.
Not that He wishes for me to be foolish and irrational, but I don’t think He wishes for me to be small and quiet just because I feel like that’s what people want. Sometimes my mind feels crushed in on all sides, molding my dreams into a perfectly square box, just as ordinary and reasonable as can be. And as my dreams are getting the life squeezed out of them, my heart is sighing and weeping and trying to keep quiet in the deafening noise from above.
I don’t mean to say that I am entirely unhappy where I am. I have a decent job, a lovely house, a city that I love and friends that shake me out of myself. But I’m comfortable, safe and entirely unchallenged. I’m also unconvinced that it is all it’s supposed to be.
I am praying about a few things right now — I don’t always go into prayer with the expectation of answers, but last night, as I prayed for guidance, the first thought that popped into my head was this: “I just want you to be happy. Until you take a chance on something that scares you, I can’t take care of you like I want to. I want you to trust that I will provide for you.”
I would love your prayers on where my life is going. I find myself at 24, already feeling like I’ve run out of options. I know what my mother would have me do, I know what my friends would say and I know what my frequent urges of change have to add. But I really want to know what He has to say.
I have come to realize that I am so small in my own head. Worthy perhaps to write about dreaming great things, but never meant to do them. How unbelievably unfair I have been to myself. I don’t want to live my life like that — cowering in my mind, peeking out from the corners and coming to end, finding that all I did was fear.
I am exhausted from speaking in sonnets of dreams, of writing plans that I will never live and making checklists that I will never complete. At the end of my life, I fear being surrounded by unchecked lists, unmet goals, a flurry of “I wish I had”s and a bunch of practicality that I stocked up in order to protect myself. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to live reasonably, but I don’t think that’s the entire point of it. When I finally reach the pearly gates someday and Christ looks me full in the eyes, I don’t think He’s going to ask how my 401k worked out and how long I stayed at my first job. I think He’s going to want to know what I did with my life, what kind of people I met and how much I trusted Him when it would have been so much easier to cower in fear and mediocrity. When it comes down to the choice between comfortable and uncomfortable, I think I know which one He always chooses. He’s not interested in our comfort, He’s interested in our growth. We have tremendous potential as human beings and we hide in it more than we know. We’ve convinced ourselves that all He desires is for us to plant ourselves in our hometown, tucked in a suburb, driving a minivan and being responsible. I would hope that I serve a God that asks us to get scared, to shake our lives up, to take chances, to understand what life looks like when it’s falling apart and above all, trust that even in the most unreasonable circumstances, that He is right next to us, holding our hand, whispering that no matter what happens, He won’t leave.
“No, life cannot be understood flat on a page. It has to be lived; a person has to get out of his head, has to fall in love, has to memorize poems, has to jump off bridges into rivers, has to stand in an empty desert and whisper sonnets under his breath…”
-Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts