Whether to the Left or to the Right

RightLeftI’m in a season right now where I have no flippin’ clue where I’m headed.   It’s like hopping in the car with a full tank of gas, no GPS, armed only with instinct and faith.

Let me explain how I got there:

A number of years ago, a resident in the nursing home where I worked sensed a dissatisfaction and sadness within me.  She knew it had nothing to do with her or any of her fellow residents, but saw it for the workplace frustration that it was.   She would comfort me with one of her bear hugs, but would still implore me not to leave her.  To put her at ease, I assured her that I wouldn’t leave until she did.  We joked that hers would be a more permanent move, even laughing about it.  But this past December, she made her move surrounded by her family and my own words came rushing back to me in an instant.  I had inadvertently created a self-fulfilling prophecy with my promise and a restlessness settled in almost immediately.  I had to prepare to live up to my end of the bargain.

I had been told that seeing the number “1” in multiples signified transition and transformation and all of a sudden, I was seeing this number everywhere.  When I looked at the clock and it would be 11:11.  A glance at the microwave while heating something up would show there was 1 minute and 11 seconds remaining.  Even my health tracker would announce that I had walked 11,111 steps and had been active 111 minutes.  Coincidence?  I think not.  The past year has been all about transition.  But with transition comes trust, and with trust, tests.

We can easily say we trust God when there’s nothing we’re contending for, but when the smooth sailing is replaced by choppy waves and dark clouds, we discover where we’ve truly placed our trust.   While journalling one morning, God showed me a picture of a sapling when it’s first planted. tree-stake-400x600 On either side are guiding wires and stakes to ensure it grows straight, leaning neither to the left or the right.  When the tree becomes strong enough and its roots are firmly attached to its foundation in the earth, the stakes and guiding wires are removed.  I didn’t even need to ask God was He was getting at with this image.  I already knew that He was warning me that my “supports” were about to be pulled.

The whole idea of actually leaving a job of twelve years where I had become comfortable in a dysfunctional sort of way left me second guessing.  Should I?  Is it really that bad?  I have friends here.  I have Christian friends.  I love my residents and they love me.  Then one day while flipping through my old journals, I read an entry where I had quoted from the movie, Queen of Katwe:  

Just because a place is familiar doesn’t mean you still belong there .”   

A day later. The leader of my cell group was speaking to us on being authentic Christians and the challenges of showing love in the workplace.  He said, “Sometimes the most loving thing we can say is goodbye…”  With this confirmation, I had made my decision.

Here I am a couple of months later in my new job.  I like to say, same church, different pew  because the work is essentially the same, but the culture of this new community is so different.  I know that I made the right decision, but admittedly, there are times when I long for the familiarity of the previous twelve years.  Like an abused woman who struggles to leave her abuser;   I’m strangely drawn to the predictability regardless of the pain involved.  In those times I just stop. Even in a stairwell, I’ll stop and get in God’s face:  Show me something.  Throw me a bone.  I need to know why I’m here.  What’s Your plan for me in this place? I trust You, but I can’t see anything yet…    Isaiah 30:21:

“Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you, a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go’ whether to the left or to the right….”

This is a season when I’m really learning to trust in many areas of my life. When I look with natural eyes at change, lack of change or any period of waiting, it’s easy to become impatient or discouraged.   I’ve discovered that my view of having my supports–environment , friends and culture removed, couldn’t have been farther from the truth.  In this place of vulnerability, He is revealing Himself as the only support I truly ever had.  In the meantime, I’m leaning in, trusting Him to show me which way to go and grow.

Yes and amen.

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