No more pretending. No more denying. I am not the animal I imagined I would be when I was quite young and I had a dream.Crafting myself was within my power. How did I end up this way?
The waters rushing over my body grew stronger as I strove in deeper to the heart of what I desired. The waters rushed cold but the sun above me kept my heart alive every single stressful hour of that horrible, long time. Here’s the story of the swimming and what became of it.
Pushing my body through the rushing waves to try and find a grip against their might, I hoped I could swim it without a foot on the bottom, but that was taking far more stamina than I could muster. Years went by, I tried it every day for one—two—two and a half—three—three and three quarters, oh the end is near! Four years of just trying to get my foot up off the rocks to swim against the waves in my own strength.
The current was of professors with glasses and some with long hair. They came speaking English, Spanish and Japanese; they came teaching Chinese American Lit and the History of the English Language. Every hour of lessons swept over my body like a powerful wave of a river’s fresh water. Smells I’d never smelt before and how the cold, unending current did rob the strength from me.
When I hit the pillow at night, I was a rock once rough and full of hopes to be a certain shape, but the waves rushing over my body day after day had changed my very mind and heart in to a smooth rock that looked exactly like every other rock around me. I was losing my identity as I chose to jump in every day and fight the waves.
When I was younger, I used to be a princess. Preciously appreciated for kindness toward children, dedicated in instructing those below me. I was quiet and diligent in receiving words from those above, the old relished my sweet, youthful beauty; the young used me as a target for their growing character and behavior. Purpose filled my hours and I spent free time creating stories to delight my friends and future children.
Then, one day, the lot told me I’d grown up enough and it was time to jump in and see what I was made of: In I went to the river of a college education.
Wash over me another year, another hour, I’m trying to become an English Major and it’s taking more than everything in me.
The end of my swimming was the day I graduated: just a few hours and I let go my force on my muscles. My identity was smoothed out, I was only a common-shaped mind and heart, all the hope of unique life beaten out of me and thinking in a “please them no matter what it takes” kind of way. I was carried in the current, I had sunk to the bottom, among the other smoothed out rocks. I slithered down in the crevices and wondered where I might end up. Certainly, it wasn’t going to be the amazing novelist life I’d dreamed of so many years ago.
I’m not sure how it happened except that God must be infinitely kind and my parents must have prayed for me throughout my life such that He might answer in such a time as that, but God came and picked me up out of the water right after graduation. It didn’t feel like a good thing. It didn’t look like a good thing. I actually told everyone I knew that it was a “temporary situation.” The goal of my life was still to swim on my own, but God had put me in a sunny spot in the nearby forest, sitting in the dirt with clover growing around me, it was a simple station. Humbly, I began to serve sandwiches and bake muffins. All the color came out of my clothes for the sake of a dress code, and I couldn’t find enough strength or guts to make a run for it.
Do you know what God was doing when he gave me a job in a coffee shop across the street from my house with a living situation so tight I had nowhere to even think of creatively writing? He was cutting me off from my dream. He was cutting me off from my idea that I could work to earn my happiness; that I could work to earn a unique place in the river. God just picked me right out and put me somewhere entirely different because—He saw that I would be more beautiful in the forest on the dirt right under the little green clovers. He knew I’d be enjoyed far more there where the grass needed something cute to look at, someone sweet to make its breakfast sandwiches, something generous to bake it banana bread.
Kids, I didn’t want to be what I am today. It wasn’t in my plan and it wasn’t something the big people with the questions, “What do you want to do with your life?” could possibly imagine. Only God could make the beautiful person I am today by giving me such a responsibility, by cutting me off from what I put my identity in (writing and being intellectual). Only God could take me out of who I wanted to be and make me who I was designed to be. This story fits and I fit neatly, easily, but satisfyingly and purposefully into it. I’ve never been so motivated and fulfilled as I am doing the things I didn’t know I ought to do.
Whoever you are and whatever you’re doing, stop.
Does it feel like trying to swim against a current, just to get your foot off the bottom and suddenly you just can’t do it any more?
Have your edges turned into nothing until you feel like you’ve got no identity at all and nobody appreciates you?
Perhaps you’re serving the wrong masters.
Maybe you’re trying to make yourself instead of letting God hold your hand and put you so clearly in to a position that appears inglorious to you.
His yoke is so easy: to the eyes that have been staring at artificial light it looks lame and dusty at first. But, His dusty job is the path to true glory, so take the way.
Take His way and let go of whatever plan has been evading your grasp for these years.
Before you know it, you’ll be serving kings and being adored whenever you walk out your front door. Not because you’re going to be shiny but because who you serve will shine over you and make your heart full.
Today, I’m having to relearn how to write so that I can tell you what He has done in my life these past years. God bless you. Have courage and let go of what isn’t His idea. In the end, you will have a deep happiness, a heart swelling with thankfulness, humility, and joy.
Take it from someone know knows.