Today I am more than pleased to have Sean Arms guest posting. If you don’t recognize the name, perhaps you will recognize his Twitter name @lesserwhirls. He is another guy you should be following if you aren’t already. Sean is getting ready to move closer in my part of the country and I am really hoping when I am in Colorado later this year I will get to hang out with him. So as not to hold you up in getting to the good stuff, read on.
It’s that time of year where renewal and change are nothing less than in our face. The trees are blooming, the birds are beginning to return, and most importantly we celebrate our risen Savior. Everything seems to be on the move, and as a student and a single father of two boys (three and five), things are moving incredibly fast. I’m finishing up my PhD, and I recently accepted a job in Boulder, CO. I am set to start my new job on May 23rd, which means the next few weeks will be crazy! A place to live? Check. Childcare? Check. Moving plan? Check. Kindergarten? Check. I have to be out of my apartment May 13th, graduate May 14th, hit the road May 15th, arrive in Boulder May 16th, and attend new employee training one week later. Everything is falling into place. As an analytic kind of guy, it’s comforting to see the plan fall into place as the checkmarks flow onto the page. However, that comfort is not enough for me to feel at peace, and I have to say that I am outright scared. Let me explain…
Honestly, one year ago I would have felt pretty confident in my plan and very excited. However, one year ago I was an atheist, and I believed that MY plan was the only plan. My wife was in the midst of an affair (ongoing since the previous August), and this move would have been seen as a chance for our marriage to reboot and a chance for her to reconnect with the boys. This move would have been viewed as ‘the fix’, and it would be something that I would be running towards with every thing that I had – in fact, this WAS our plan, as I was frantically searching for a job. But that’s not what happened, and that’s not where things are now. One year ago, I didn’t have a job offer, and my marriage fell completely apart as my wife would not give up the affair. One year ago, I began to plan a move, but rather than move to a new job and new life, this was a move to a new part of town where I could collect my thoughts, finish my school work, and continue to pour into my boys. It was only a few weeks after moving out that God met me in Target through one of my boys preschool teachers. While I would love to tell the full story as to how this actually fell into place, I’ll defer to my video testimony from a few weeks ago (well, it’s His story, I just have the honor of playing a part; http://antiochnorman.org/videos/supernatural-community-sean-arms/). Let’s just say that I had a radical encounter with our Lord and it’s changed my life forever, as well as the boys, in almost incomprehensible way.
So, for a situation that would have brought a pseudo-peace to my life a year ago, I now find myself partially comforted and very scared. With all of the wordy plans falling into place, I ask myself “does this fit within God’s plan for me and my boys?” I admit it – my plans are nothing as it is His plan that I seek. Do I feel like this relocation falls within His plan? Yes and no. Last summer I had vision about Boulder, where I saw a brown cloth-like material drape the mountains surrounding the town, and the material ripped open flooding the town with some red gunk. At first I thought it was a crazy daydream, but then I read about the parable of the wineskins in Luke 5:36-38 and wondered if it was a vision about revival in Boulder. With respect to the vision, I would say that it would appear that a move to Boulder might fall in line with His plan for me and the boys. Then doubt comes around the corner: maybe that vision wasn’t for me. Have I been to busy with my own plans (admittedly very practical plans) that I’ve ignored any guidance from the Lord? Am I caught up in the worldly concerns of the move that I’ve forgotten the Kingdom concerns? Maybe that vision was not for me. Maybe I’m going to mess this up – maybe I’ll disappoint my Father. Then I remember, I’ve been doing things all of my life to disappoint my Father, and He still loves me. I was an atheist, and He still sought me out because He loves me. He can work all things for good, even when I mess up, because He loves me. Am I trying to rationalize my own desires to relocate to the Front Range of the Rockies by saying “well, if this isn’t in His plan, it’s all good ’cause He love me and He will make it better”? I can’t honestly say no to that question – maybe that is what is going on at a subconscious level. So what do I do? Well, first off I pray and I sit waiting in anticipation. I seek counsel from those around me. I try to purge plans from my mind for when we arrive in Boulder (Woohoo! The boys and I will go hiking, play in the snow on the peaks, etc.) – I try to keep my mind focused on the here and now as I wait for the Lord. I seek His plan, and I try to keep mine in check, as if my plan is not His, then my plan is rubbish.
So I ask you – what do you do in situations where FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) creeps in with respect to God’s plan for your lives? How do you shutdown a possible cycle of self-rationalization for your own plans at the expense of His? How do you find peace?