Few days before my college graduation, I had an airtight plan. I had a little money saved, good enough for a one-way ticket to Manila. I would stay with my aunt in Fairview then apply to Starbucks or something and save up enough for grad school – film school.
Then I would spend years working as a prod assistant, writing on the side, keeping my barista job or whatever it was I did. I would work my way up and finish my full-length film and eventually see my name on the movie screen and it would have been worth it. It was a whole life I could see and it was the only life for me.
But there was no plane to catch. 2 days after graduation I signed my second contract at Bradford Church. The first I signed when I was 15, entering a scholarship they made just for me. I’ll have to work for it many years after graduation. It would be a good chunk of my life. I struggled against it then, but poverty leaves us with very little choice over what we get to do and what we don’t. God’s goodness felt like a chain, it tied me to Him, and it would do me all the good but it just felt like a trap.
So, I dreamed a different dream that wasn’t here. That wasn’t 15 hour Sundays and editing and endless printing and stapling and errands. I think I conjured up the Manila plan so my creativity wouldn’t die. So my hope wouldn’t dry up and I wouldn’t resent God. I had to know I was capable of doing it, that I could run away if I really wanted to. I had to know for sure that I was staying here because of God.
Because I wanted to obey. Because a life that’s not solely for the purpose of loving God just isn’t the life for me. So I made myself many ways out – I cried and rebelled and tried and tried and died a million times but I didn’t go.
I am here. And I love it here.
You know, most days I am too spent to write. My favorite songwriter drops her 2nd pandemic album and it’s my fever dream. While listening to it I think about the dishes I have to wash and laundry that I have to pick up and reservations for church that I have to confirm and tarps I have to layout and reports I have to finish and how there is not enough time for me to write what I want to write. I couldn’t sit long enough to let the thoughts come and go because things need me. But I love it here.
A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend about our deepest dreams and I heard my soul express that the Lord is my deepest love. That’s it. I listen to them making big plans and hoping big dreams and I felt like I knew exactly what I wanted to do. To love God. Its overwhelming simplicity covered me for days and rendered me speechless. I love the Lord? And that’s enough for me? Wow.
I found a love I was willing to let go of myself for – I guess that’s what Christ meant when He said we die when we follow Him. At the beginning I wallowed in so much self-pity. How there was room for everyone else, and I help make those rooms, but there was no place for me.
It’s nice to outgrow the voice and be more secure in the choice I made. I know there is no one else worth giving up all dreams for but Christ Himself.
So who knows –
If I get to write that film or not,
If I get to share and create or not,
If all my days will look exactly the same,
It doesn’t matter to me as much to me as it did before. It sounds like giving up. But giving up is where I find life that I cannot lose.
The plans I’m making for 2021 are plans for my deepest love. I do not say any of this to deem myself highly spiritual, or that I’ve achieved what many believers hope to achieve. There’s so much left to do and let go of and gain. I guess I wanted to share this to show what goes on when we say we want to follow the Lord. Or at least, how it looks like for me.
And the moments that do glisten –
those beautiful quiet sunrises that the Lord whispers are for me to behold
the rush of ideas I get to write (like this one!)
the “success” of a long work day
the deep, nourishing love of Christ that I share with Him in His presence, that no one can steal from the two of us
and how it is real that there’s the two of us and Jesus is both my deepest, aching longing and it’s utter fulfillment.
It’s worth dying-to-self for over and over again. 🌼
How about you? What would your life look like if you loved the Lord and that love needed so much space you had to abandon everything else?