Maybe it started in Africa, where I stood by, camera in hand, while impoverished children trampled one another in a desperate bid for my discarded water bottles. They fought over my trash while I watched like a spectator at a zoo. And then I walked away, wanting nothing more than to dig a hole in the red earth and bury my camera alongside my superiority.
Maybe it started years earlier, when panic attacks ripped apart my untried faith and left me questioning my salvation. I wept and wrestled and begged for assurance through months of spiritual paralysis, and I wondered if any of it had ever been real.
Or maybe it started two decades ago, in high school, when a boy I wanted to help set about dismantling my trust in God and, when he couldn’t do it, tried to destroy me. My failure and his wounds – those he carried and those he inflicted – haunt me to this day.
Whenever it began – this restlessness, this searching – it’s risen for seasons and lain dormant for others. But this time, it lingers.
I can’t ignore it anymore.
There’s a universal “why” hanging over my life, and it seems like there should be a universal “because” to answer it. Isn’t that what it means to be on mission? To be so consumed with an end game that everything in your life folds into pursuing it?
Vision. Purpose. Clarity. I crave these things, but they elude me.
It’s like trying walk across a strange room just after someone’s switched off the lights. I’m squinting and straining to see what’s ahead, but my eyes haven’t adjusted to the darkness, and I can’t rush the process.
I know these few things:
I’m tired of being anesthetized by comfort, but I’m terrified of the alternative.
I’m tired of saying “no” out of fear, but I’m terrified of saying “yes” for the wrong reasons.
I’m tired of living for myself, but I’m terrified of dying to myself.
When? Where? How?
Is this a time to wait, or a time to move? Do I hold my course until a change of direction becomes clear, or do I take a step of faith while the path is still shrouded in uncertainty?
These are the questions that assail me through the night. These are the questions I surrender at the throne. Day after day after day.
I am learning to wait. Learning, even, to rest in the waiting. But some days, like today, I have no patience for a life half lived. I sense deep in my soul that my world is on the verge. Of what, I cannot say. But I am not content with the part I have played.
I have been lukewarm, timid, skeptical, and drowsy.
Now I’m stirring after a long sleep, but it’s not easy. I want to slip back into the warmth and ease of oblivion rather than muddle through the weary, achy, bleary-eyed process of waking.
But wake I must. Because there’s a journey ahead.
Even if I cannot see where it leads.