Believe it or not, submission has never really been something I have excelled at. As a child, I had a tendency to believe I knew better than even my parents. As a teenager, I made my own way and made choices based on my own experiences rather than the advice of well-meaning others. I chose a college nobody else thought I would like because I felt comfortable there. I transferred to a different college because I knew I needed a fresh start. I chose boyfriends based on my own feelings. I chose to spend years starving my body because I knew better what my body should look like. (yes, that is sarcasm)
I had expectations of myself that most people wouldn’t understand and that annoyed people. I chose not to drink in college until I turned 21, mostly because I liked the challenge of being different. I chose to join the rugby team because I wanted to try something new even though everyone else thought I was crazy. I chose engineering even though it was hard. I chose to not be promiscuous in college even though that made people around me think I was judging their own lifestyle choices.
I chose the Kansas City area because it was centrally located and most of my family was here. I chose Holy Trinity Catholic Church because I liked the music. I chose to seek out a way to participate in the band because I wanted to satisfy my creative outlet. I chose to take up running because I wanted to be a hardcore runner. I chose to find jobs teaching fitness classes because I wanted more income.
I’m unsure if it’s age, or experience, or exhaustion in carrying the weight of walking in this life ‘alone’ that has brought me finally to the truth. I find it ironically ‘funny’ that I’ve spent much of my life encouraging others to listen to what God is trying to tell them. I’ve urged people to give up their worries and let God carry it all for them. I’ve asked them to pray on choices and learn from their mistakes in an effort to find the path God is leading them down.
And yet, until recently I never stood back and looked at all those choices I’ve listed above (and many many others) and seen God’s hand weaving between all of those choices I made ‘for myself’. I had never really looked at the connections, the choices that brought me to where I am today, and thought God had really anything to do with it. I never made any of those choices after spending hours in prayer (or even a minute…) and hoping to hear God’s advice whisper through the trees in assurance that I was doing the right or wrong things.
Today I laugh at myself. I laugh at the ridiculousness of ever feeling alone. Of ever feeling as though I was doing it all by myself, for myself, because I knew best what I needed. Sometimes I wonder if God ever got red in the face after screaming at me for so many years to just simply ‘listen’ instead of making my own way. Looking back on it all it is really easy to see the moments where His patience with my stubbornness grew thin. Those moments in particular being the more obvious 180 degree lifestyle change experiences. I have to give Him credit for sticking with me this long and for having such a wonderfully entertaining sense of humor.
I stand today, feeling as though I have my arms held out wide to my sides. Hands lifted toward the heavens, a slightly sarcastic raise in my eyebrow, and a light hearted laugh on my lips as I silently pray, “fine, take it. Take me. Lead me. Use me. I don’t want (to pretend) to be to be in control anymore.”
While a statement like that before would have made me feel surrounded in chaos and confusion and fear.
Today I feel at peace.
I lean not on my own understanding. My life is in the hand of the Maker of heaven.
I give it all to you God, trusting that you’ll make something beautiful out of me.
I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open.
There is nothing I’ll hold onto.