A few years ago, I stood in the sanctuary with 2 of my pastors after a service, asking questions to the meaning of a word from scripture out of Isaiah 61. I shared what I had been wrestling with in this text, and just had to know the answer. To which in the middle of our discussion, they both stopped, looked me straight in the eye and one of them asked:
“Have you ever considered seminary?”
The other replied “I think you would thrive.”
And I’m not kidding I nearly dropped to the floor in tears, because in that moment I knew.
I knew that was a marked moment in my life for 2 reasons.
#1 When TWO of your well-respected, wise, discerning pastors speak something into your life simultaneously, you listen. That is something I believe called “confirmation”.
#2 I had been considering seminary, for awhile, I just hadn’t pursued it because “what if?”
That moment was nearly 3 years ago . . . and I’ve stood paralyzed in the “what-ifs” ever since.
What if seminary is just a stupid fantasy and not a God given dream?
What if I already am where God wants me?
What if God wants me in the public school and I’m running from His will?
What if I go to seminary and nothing comes of it?
What if people ask me “for what” and I can’t give an answer?
What if I never get a full time job at the church?
What if I get pregnant?
Well I can’t keep living in the what-ifs.
I had been stuffing this dream for years. And I couldn’t stuff it anymore. I had to stop with all the what-ifs and just go! And quite frankly, it’s easier to follow your dreams when the outcome is obvious, the plan is clear, and the support is from many. But at this point, the affirmation from a few was all I needed.
I finally decided I couldn’t keep walking around with this dream for another 3 years, wondering, waiting, and asking what if. So last month, I sat down to ask the questions to my boss “What if I’m dreaming about applying to seminary? What if I think that’s something God wants me to do? And what if I think I want to spend the rest of my life stewarding that?”
And his response was a 100% yes. All for it. He didn’t ask me any “what if” questions, just confirmation, affirmation, and encouragement to pursue this dream.
What had I been waiting for all these years?
So I applied.
And I got accepted.
And now I’m answering some new “what ifs”
What if God uses this?
What if walking in obedience is so much better than walking in fear?
What if I stop trying to figure out where Jesus is taking me in 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, and just follow Him now?
What if I can be okay with not knowing all of the answers?
What if I use this opportunity to serve God and others with more of my heart and mind all the days of my life?
I don’t have any answers to the “what ifs”. But I know that following Jesus isn’t always that predictable. We want the road map, laid out before us, Him telling us every step of the way . . . when to turn, when to speed up, when to slow down, when there’s a steep hill or a patch of wilderness with no food or water. But He doesn’t. He doesn’t tell us all those details. He doesn’t give us a life plan with the next 60 years completely detailed.
He simply tells us “follow me”.
So I am.
Are there “what ifs” in your life that keep you from pursuing dreams?
Where have you been paralyzed by fear to step out into faith?
PS I know what you’re all thinking . . . But “What if you get pregnant?” Well then that baby will just get to be my first student 😉