A few months ago, I wrote a piece that asked how we know when God speaks to us. I didn’t really have any answers then, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t really have any answers now. But there are times when a message comes to me so clearly, at the right time, under the right set of coincidences, that my usual doubt and irreverence are smacked like playground bullies into awed silence.
One such time happened at church, after a particularly rough few weeks. A prayer ran through my mind as church began and Pastor Mike played his music. “Dear God,” I shrugged. “Just tell me what to do.” Lyrics flashed on the screen. Mike sang. People clapped along. I stood silent, staring at the table, in the room with the rest of them but so, so very far away.
“I used to think I was going to do something extraordinary with my life, but I am struggling. I’m struggling in my work. I’m struggling with the bills. I’m struggling in my marriage. I’m struggling with you. I am struggling with me. I AM STRUGGLING!” The frustration wanted out, to be heard, but I stood still and silent, thinking, “I’m just not destined to do anything special with this life.” Despite my good intentions. Despite all the effort.
Now, one word in that prayer sticks out, for it isn’t part of my usual vocabulary. Extraordinary. I always substitute it with Awesome. For example, I would never say that I am an extraordinary dad, nor would I say I’m a perfect dad, but I am an awesome dad. My kids will tell you so, especially if they know what is good for them.
That should be comfort enough, knowing this, but I’ve always wanted something more in my life. I don’t care if Heaven exists or not; I don’t care if there is a reward or punishment once this life is over; I just want my time here to matter. My time matters to my kids; why can’t that be enough? Maybe I am not as awesome as I think.
But on that day, in that moment, with that prayer for guidance on what to do, for whatever reason, I chose Extraordinary.
When the music finished, Pastor Dave launched his message with a video that opened by saying “You can be extraordinary!”
Huh. My playground bullies fell silent.
The video was a call for missionaries to work with G.O. Ministries in the Dominican Republic. Dave tied the invitation to a message that can be reduced into a simple question: “What is God telling you to do with the next steps of your life?”
While listening to Dave’s message, I was overcome with emotion I didn’t understand. I wanted to sob, but I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t happy either. It was just raw emotion, swirling about, as very clear insights shot at me. It felt almost like God was telling me I might find some answers in the Dominican Republic. It seemed like a long journey to make to find inward answers, but I was game.
The second insight gave me heartache. I was supposed to start writing about my time at Lifeline, about my God-issues related to my daughter’s health, about struggles at home, about my struggling to find answers where I knew there might only ever be more questions. I didn’t want to write about any of this stuff. I wanted to finish my novel. I wanted to start a new screenplay. I even had an awesome idea for a television show that begged for my attention. But write about God? What do I know about God?
But, as Dave would say, it’s not about me. And yet, it is.
So I committed to the mission trip and I reluctantly started writing a blog called “Mosey On God.” (My irreverence might go quiet at times, but it is always present.) I later moved that blog to Patch.com. And here we are, months later. I honestly don’t know what to write, or even the why of writing at times, if it does anybody any good, let alone does any good for me. I try to write a piece once a week, though I don’t always hit that goal…but I am writing. Writing and hoping that maybe something just might come of it.