I remember when I took my first job in youth ministry. For some reason this moment, this conversation comes back to me time and time again, a memory perfectly etched in my mind. My mentor told me how transitional my life was at the time: I had a boyfriend, not a husband, an apartment, not a house, a part-time job, not a full-time one. He put words to the ache of my heart that I had been struggling with, but didn’t know it and couldn’t name. Years later I find myself returning to this moment in my heart as I continue to wrestle with this transitionary life I lead.
I have a husband, not a boyfriend, but still an apartment, not a house, and our life is in flux as missionaries. I no longer work outside of the home, instead my days are spent trying to raise saints, one temper tantrum at a time. Despite the years, I still feel unsettled. As I look out and pray through what the Lord is calling me to this year it seems so vast, so open, and so, you guessed it, unsettled.
We don’t know if we’ll be assigned for another year in Washington, or at least in this part of Washington. I find myself frequently lamenting this to the Lord, “Jesus, I really, really, really don’t want to have to pack up again. I don’t want to move. If you call us, we’ll go. But please don’t.”
There is a beauty to this missionary life, in being detached from things and places, in constantly purging that which we own as we move time and time again. But at the same time it can leave one unsettled, unsure of when things will change again. As much as I wrestle with God over it, I know that He’s calling me to keep my eyes on Heaven. The truth is that I’m not supposed to feel or be settled here, whether here is Washington, Colorado, Idaho, or anywhere else He calls me. Even if we stay at one campus for 10 years, I shouldn’t be settled there. Settling one place easily leads to complacency, to losing sight of Him, of Heaven, of – dare I say it – my sanctity. On some level, if I settle one place, if I am overly comfortable right where I’m at, then I risk losing my dependance on God as my foundation, my comfort, my true home.
I know what I want, I know what I think is best for me, for my sanity. But my toddler thinks the same thing. She thinks that ice cream is good for breakfast, naps are useless, diaper changes are unnecessary, and bedtimes are the worst thing known to man. Do I know better? Yes. Ice cream is good for breakfast, but gives her a major sugar crash, naps are a gift from Heaven, diaper changes prevent diaper rashes, and bedtimes are also a gift from Heaven. So if I know better than my toddler what she actually needs, despite her protests, I can also conclude that God knows better than me what I need, even if it leaves me feeling unsettled.
Perhaps I could tweak the famous words of St. Augustine: our lives are unsettled, Lord, until they settle in You. Let me find my rest, my home, my peace in You, and in You alone.