The moment I read the theme for this year’s retreat, I could almost hear God chuckling.
My life today is not at all what I imagined it would be when I was a kid, or even when I was in high school or college. I had visions, years ago, of living in my own little bungalow with a yard full of leafy trees and a couple of sweet pups. I thought I’d go away to some incredible college, where I’d blossom and go on to become a doctor or a teacher, or to work with animals. When I was younger, I thought I’d like to be married. I thought I’d have collected a few more stamps in my passport; I wanted 10 before my 30th birthday.
Absolutely none of my adolescent goals have come to pass. And that’s okay, except for the moments when I feel like I’ve somehow failed at being an adult human being because my life doesn’t look anything at all like I used to dream it would. I have those moments kind of a lot.
This is not to say that my life sucks, or that I’m unhappy. I have my struggles, of course, just like everyone else, but I also have a lot of things in my life that make me happy: my family and friends, my dogs, a church family, waffles, a city full of oak trees, annual trips to Christmount, an independent movie theater just 10 minutes from my house that serves the best hummus ever…
But all the meaningful relationships and little pleasures in the world can’t always conquer my fear that I’ve somehow screwed up, that I’m leading a subpar life because of the things I haven’t done and the dreams I had that never came to be.
Of course, that’s not true. God gave me exactly the challenges and gifts I needed to become the person He needs me to be. He’s guided me in (at least some of) my decisions, and he’s pried open windows for me when I’ve chosen poorly and closed doors I should have walked through.
It’s just hard sometimes to trust that God is, in fact, a clever fellow, and that He knows what I need far better than I do.
The Post-College Retreat this year is going to be focused on “Life Unimagined,” what happens when what the life we plan is not the life we get, and how we can learn to let go of the life we imagined in favor of embracing the life God is laying out before us. Sign me up.
(And then sign yourself up. The retreat is October 2-4, 2015, in Black Mountain, North Carolina, at the beautiful Christmount Camp & Conference Center. Registration is $90, but, if price is a deterrent for you, let us know.)