It is never easy to say goodbye, but it is much easier when you know you are saying goodbye to someone who is following God’s dream for their life. And this is how I felt hugging Emily in front of my house this past week. Her car was full of her belongings and she stopped by on her way out of town. Emily and I have journeyed for most of her college career and we have walked in valleys and hiked peaks and seen some amazing views from the top together. We have cried and prayed and wrestled. I have seen her firsthand unclench her plans and release them to God, with a willingness to sacrifice for His best plan. I can’t wait to see her story play out! Share in her spiritual wisdom as she shares about this unclenching!- Willow
I graduated from college last spring and as a graduation present to myself, I set off to visit my favorite place, Colorado, with some of my favorite people for a week. I left Washington with an idea of what the next year would hold: living in Bellingham, advancing in my job, and maybe even getting engaged. But God had different plans.
I have served at Frontier Ranch for the past three summers and I am now preparing to leave for a summer internship there as a horse wrangler for the summer. God has grown and shaped me at Frontier and a passion has been lit inside me for this place and the work I get to do while there. Ever since my first summer, I’ve thought about applying for this internship. I knew the joy and purpose I felt there was something greater than a camp-high, but the timing was never quite right. Whether it was school or friends or a boyfriend keeping me from it, I just hadn’t yet felt God’s push to pursue it.
God decided to change all of this while I was visiting this past summer. He breathed life into the fire He lit many summers ago: He used several conversations and circumstances to help me realize what He wanted. He pushed away every excuse – nothing was a good enough reason not to apply anymore. Even though I knew what God wanted me to do – even though I knew what I wanted to do – there were still conversations that I needed to have with people from home. These were not easy conversations and a lot changed because of my choice. My decision to apply (I didn’t even know if I would get the position at this point, mind you) changed a lot in my life, the biggest being the change in my relationship status. It’s never easy to choose something intangible over something tangible. It’s never easy to walk away from someone you’ve grown to love. It’s never easy to walk away from your plan.
After returning home, I still had the rest of the summer to wait until I was actually able to apply. It felt a little crazy, having changed so much in such a short period. But God used this passion to help me realize the things in my life that were not fruitful and showed me the new direction my life would be going. By “new direction” I don’t mean He clearly explained to me what my next year, or even day, would look like, but instead that it would be going in His direction. Instead of feeling the need to plan and know what was next – to clench my fist around my life and my plan – I was able to open my hands and truly give my life and its course to Him.
It’s scary to relinquish control, but I came to a point where the idea of living out my plan was scarier than the unknown of giving it up to God. I think it’s safe and comfortable to come up with a plan for our lives and to work tirelessly to achieve it but I think it can also be lackluster. My plan was safe and required minimal faith but I realized that I want to live a life that is full of adventure and one that I can look back on and point out God’s path, a life where I can point out how He changed my trajectory. I know that God would have shown up and challenged me even if I stuck to my plan, but I am once again excited about life and what the future holds instead of living in anxiety wondering if my location, job, or relationship was right. Doubts and worries about what’s to come in August still creep in, but I remind myself of my journey this year with God and if He can take my life from what it was to what it is, He can do that again and again. -Emily