Sarah and I met on twitter, and decided to meet in real life when we realized we were both in the same city. Our families thought it was a little weird that we would have a play date with a stranger, but our girls can concur it worked out swimmingly. I am excited to have her thoughtful perspective today.
Pretty much since I graduated high school and my decisions became “my own,” I’ve been in some kind of life transition. Choosing a major or career… Relocating or contemplating a move… figuring out who to marry… changing jobs… deciding if and when to have babies.
The season of the 20’s is an exhilarating and exhausting time. The world was my oyster, and that was a little (okay, a lot) overwhelming.
With both feet now firmly planted in my 30’s, the last two months of my life have felt more “settled” than I have known in years.
I’ve already chosen my husband. And after four years of job searching, he was recently hired at a great company that he truly enjoys. This development eliminated any lingering thoughts of “Will we need to move?” I’m in a groove with my own job, and we’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of our second child.
Suddenly, I find myself with fewer questions about the future… at least the immediate one anyway. There are no big decisions looming that I know I need to address. For the most part, I can kind of guess what my life will look like in six months. That has rarely been the case.
This sense of stability and rootedness has been freeing. I find myself full of enthusiasm and capacity to engage more deeply in my community, friendships and work. My mind feels clear to dream in more concrete terms since I have some general sense of the details.
However, something unexpected has occurred in my faith life. I find myself “out of ideas” when it comes to things to talk about with God. Wait… what?
Is it possible that all these years I’ve mostly been talking to God about “what’s the plan for my life?” Where should I go to school? What should I study? Who should I marry? Where should I live?
Somewhere along the way it seems I relegated my relationship with God to be that of “life coach.” I searched the Bible for passages that guided my next steps. I prayed fervently, waiting for peace around a decision to descend in my heart.
I sought advice about the directions I was traveling, but I may have neglected to nurture a deeper relationship. In my mind, seeking God in these important decisions and transitions was equivalent to “putting God first” in my life.
But now I am forced to reexamine this assumption. If I had a human friendship that I only pursued for advice, is that really intimacy? I’d say no.
So what does it look like to follow God when I’m not talking about the destination? Maybe the real question is what does it mean to be in relationship with God when I’m not only thinking about myself or how anything and everything affects me?
I’ve been convicted of my self-centeredness in my relationship with God. Do I know how to sit in the stillness and simply worship God for who He is? Have I learned how to truly intercess on behalf of others? Do I create space to pray and dream and ask what God hopes for my community, my neighbors, my friends?
I feel a little nervous. I had no idea I was relating to God in such a one-dimensional way. And I feel a tad lost with no pressing life decision questions. On the other hand, I am excited. My faith has sometimes felt like it’s on a one-way path towards dryness. Now I realize that could be because it was focused on me instead of God.
Perhaps this new season is one to discover a new face of Christ… to experience faith outside of simply how it benefits, directs or guides me. It’s tantalizing. And I’m eager to see where it may lead.
What patterns or ruts do you fall into in faith? How might they be limiting your full experience of the Divine?
Sarah Quezada lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband Billy and daughter Gabriella. She blogs about their multicultural family life at A Life with Subtitles. She is the Director of Operations at Mission Year, a year-long volunteer program. You can connect with her on Twitter @SarahQuezada.