Exactly Where You Need To Be: Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I remember awaiting 2015 with curious and open anticipation, and a healthy helping of trepidation on the side.  I had about 50 percent of the year mapped out, between completing senior year of college, summer plans to travel throughout Europe, and (I dreamed) attending the Publishing Institute at the University of Denver.  Though the specifics of getting a job were fuzzy after that, I figured — or rather, hoped — that it would sort of just take care of itself.  

As it turns out, there’s a LOT more effort involved in creating an adult life for yourself after college than I supposed twelve months ago.  It’s easy to see why this surprised me: though student life had always held its own set of challenges, never before had I needed to actively seek out friendships in such a way as I do now, or wondered what was expected of me.  Campus life made others readily accessible for a cup of coffee or tea, dinner during the week, or a movie night on weekends.  And course syllabi spelled out each assignment and test, so there was never any doubt as to what I should have been doing.   

Life after college can feel lonely sometimes, especially when you’ve abandoned the familiar for a life somewhere new.  Even though I’m lucky enough to have my sister, my best friend, as a constant companion, I do still yearn for the comfort of that ubiquitous college community of friends.  

Not to mention post-college life does not come with a set of guidelines.  Not really, anyway.  There are the general bits of practical knowledge that young adults are expected to learn: how to file your taxes, keep a relatively clean home, maintain your car, etc., but when it comes to finding your bliss, your “thing,” your career-to-be, the advice is less helpful.  

“Follow your heart!” they’ll say.  But if it were that easy, it wouldn’t be a struggle.  You wouldn’t have to contend with job availability and network-building and all of the other logistics of scoring that perfect job.  Most of the job “search,” I’ve learned, doesn’t really involve searching at all, but rather, waiting and dreaming and hoping and praying… and then, after you’ve waited some more, maybe something pops up.  And maybe it doesn’t, and you keep waiting.

The process of “adulting,” (slang verb for “being an adult,” if you’re not familiar with the term) in these ways and more, is an exceedingly slow process.  It takes a looooooooong time to find your groove, I’m learning.  And all of that waiting can make you wonder if you’re even in the right place, doing what you’re supposed to be doing with your life.  You might convince yourself that, had you moved somewhere else or accepted a different job, your life might be a little bit easier right now, or it might look more like those of your dozens of social media “friends” whom you only hear from when life is sparkly and great.    

But consider that just because things are happening slowly, doesn’t mean nothing is happening.

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve, and as I think ahead to 2016, I realize that I actually have zero idea of where this one’s going to go, where last year I at least had some inkling.  And I’m giving myself permission to be scared and uncertain and doubtful, because even with the best of intentions, so much of life is unscripted, and I’m also a generally indecisive person who will probably always wonder if I’m making the right choices.

But here’s a crazy thought to try on, with the new year fast approaching:

What if, in 2016, instead of wasting precious energy doubting, and wondering, and worrying about these things, instead of asking ourselves and God if we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing… what if you and I instead just decided that we’re in the right place at the right time?  What if we believed this as if we knew it unequivocally to be true, understood it as fact, took it for granted?  What kind of happiness might open up for us then?  

I’m going to share a secret with you, so listen carefully:

You are exactly where you need to be.  

It’s pretty important, so I’ll say it again, but read it slowly this time, so it can really sink in (I’ve added periods to help you out, and I’ve capitalized every word, because capitalized words are pretty darn Important):

You.  Are Exactly.  Where You Need.  To Be.

God doesn’t make mistakes.  And there’s a method to His madness, though I may not recognize what that is right now.  But I believe that He does have “plans… for [my] welfare and not for woe, so as to give [me] a future full of hope” (Jeremiah 29:11, NAB) and that if I were truly supposed to be somewhere else, then that’s where I would be.  

But I’m not.  I’m here.

Realizing this doesn’t mean you stop working toward your dreams.  It doesn’t mean you become complacent.  It just means that you put a stop to the agony born of constantly second guessing yourself.  Consider that, by being where you are right now, by being where you, in fact, need to be, you are doing work that no one else can do.  The world needs you here, right now, because this part of the planet is hungry for something only you can offer.  Consider that, as you read this, God is working His magic on your gifts with subtle and slow sureness, to bring you the future you seek in His own perfect timing. 

I have no idea what 2016 will hold for me.  But I know it will be whatever it needs to be for me.  And I pray you know that, too.  Happy New Year, everyone.  


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