Do You Trust Me?
What does a twentysomething-senior-in-college-not-quite-independent-adult-but-almost-there individual do to find and fulfill her God-given life purpose? It’s a mouthful, but its something that’s been on my mind everyday since I realized I am a twentysomething-senior-in-college-not-quite-independent-adult-but-almost-there individual. At first I thought the answer would be clear-cut, like a math equation or a hairstyle (because we all know what does and does not work). However the more digging and questioning and praying I did, the less clear the answers became and instead I found myself in a twisty, tangled web of truth and confusion.
A few days ago I was in the pool, talking to my dad (cause that’s where he and I do our thinking), when I confessed to him something that I didn’t really want to admit. Sometimes I don’t feel like I belong here. I mean this place, this house and this town, is still home. But between being in college and traveling over the summers and holidays, I have lost touch with many of my friends and have found it a struggle to feel like I “belong” here. However, in the midst of feeling this way, there is a counteracting feeling that tells me that this is where God desires me to be at this stage in my life.
Sure. Fine. I can roll with that…but I want to know why.
And that is the question that has been sucking the life out of me for the past few days. This annoying voice whispering, “You don’t belong here. People don’t even remember you. You don’t matter here anymore. Why do you keep coming back?”
They first started as little sporadic lies that I could quickly ignore by doing something “important” at church or by connecting with a friend. It shut the voices up for time being, but then in quiet moments the voices would speak again. “No one wants to spend time with you. You are a young twentysomething, and this is what your life looks like?! Ha! You sure are headed for greatness.”
When we are faced with adversity and lying voices we are given two options:
- Sit back and let the lies become a self-fulling prophecy.
- Shut up the voice.
I chose option 2…and what better way to combat lies than to smother the crap out of it with truth.
So God and I, we had a chat.
(Sometimes when I picture God I picture him eating ice cream or sitting in a library in one of those fancy, brown, leather chairs…cause my God is chill like that)
I asked God why and how and when and what and basically every other question that would help me to get a better understanding of His plan. I begged for a glimpse of the syllabus for my life and asked for just a little peek of the timeline. I didn’t need to see a lot; just enough to reassure me that in the next 5-10 years I’m not going to fall off the wagon.
But with every question he responded, “Ashley, do you trust me with this? Do you trust me with this? Ashley, do you trust me with this?”
Talk about a loaded question.
To which I (enthusiastically) responded, “Are you kidding me? Remember the time I went to Canada for a year? When I was barely out of high school and left everything I had ever known to live in another country with a bunch of strangers, out of a van. That proved I trusted you. Or remember the time I flew to India by myself, and I didn’t know anyone, and I lived there for 4 months? It wasn’t exactly easy eating rice everyday or taking bucket showers or sharing a room with a cockroach named Milton, but I did it anyways. That proved I trusted you. Or what about that time that I took a job as a youth intern, because you told me to. It didn’t make sense financially and was challenging to manage that with my other commitments, but I did it. And you are still asking me if I trust you?”
To which God responded, “But Ashley, do you trust me with THIS?
In my life I can look back and show areas where God has stretched me to the limits of trust and asked me to place things in his hands that I could never imagine giving up. And just when you feel like you have built a solid foundation of trust, you find that somewhere along the way you took pieces of it back and hid it under your mattress, because the thought of placing so much of your life in the control of another is just a tad freaky.
“Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Because I have said these things you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you but if I go, I will send him to you…I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.”
- John 16: 5-7; 12
I have to be honest. If I was a disciple in this story, and the person who I have been following and trusting just told me they are leaving and sending someone else, I’d be a little mad. My response would probably be filled with lots of questions inquiring more information and more details, because the promise of something better just wouldn’t cut it. And when I admitted this in small group on Sunday, someone pointed out that maybe I felt that way because I didn’t trust in Jesus as much as I thought I did.
And that was followed up with someone reading this verse:
“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little whole and then vanished. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’”
- James 4:13-15
But I guess when you give God the cold shoulder and he still has something to say, he’ll use whoever is willing to get the point across.
So the moral of the story (that which is still being written) is I guess the life of a twentysomething does not come with clear instructions. It is a stumbling, staggering, unsexy, uncoordinated, one-step-at-a-time right of passage. And although the path may not be as clearly marked as I would like sometimes, I’m finding that the journey is more enjoyable and can be filled with breathtaking scenery when you take your focus off of calculating every step and simply trust and follow the one who created the trail.