I was recently introduced to Darling Magazine and after leafing through their latest print issue, my brain is whirling and churning in the best possible of ways. Their theme for fall is“Mystery,” and every poem, photo shoot, and personal essay explores a different facet: why we fear mystery, how it challenges us, and whether we can and should make peace with it.
Julie Pointer’s article, “Waiting for the Spark,” explores her recent transition into the unexplored territory of full-time freelancing. She chose to leave the safety and security of working for a company and says each day is a discipline in releasing control.
Pointer writes: “instead of keeping our hands clasped firmly around our own ideas of how life should pan out, we’re required to take up a new posture of open palms, ready to embrace whatever greets us. The danger for dreamers who plan is that we often end up clinging too tightly to our expectations about how life ought to unfold, rushing our way toward dreamed-of destinations at the expense of simply savoring the journey. If our eyes are firmly clamped on one particular endpoint -- the place where we will live, the career path we may follow, the kind of person we think we should marry -- we risk missing out on the many great and mysterious beauties that will happen to us along the way.”
After making my own massive career shift only six months ago, I find myself relating to this all too well. Letting go is scary. Its a practice. A discipline. An art. It can be excruciating at times; yet, the growth I have experienced throughout this process leaves me breathless and giddy. Since my own palms have stopped clinging and adopted a new posture of openness, I have been given a book project, a successful Kickstarter campaign, and an opportunity to visit another country to do research.
If all that weren’t enough, I was also invited to start an online magazine with two other bloggers I greatly admire. Together we’ve been dreaming and slowly birthing it into existence. We are almost ready to launch, and I will have more details for you in the weeks to come. . . :)
Even so, all these opportunities are only one aspect of what I have gained by letting go. As Pointer mentions, when we embrace the unknown, our priorities change. They have to. The sheer humility of giving up the fight and allowing ourselves to be pulled down a murky path we wouldn’t normally choose is staggering.
Several weeks ago, I was in the middle of writing a guest post for my friend Mandy’s blog, Forte E Bello. The idea was to discuss my Kickstarter and book project as the biggest step of blind faith I have ever taken. To tell of how God showed up a million times and that His blessing has encouraged me to dream bigger and be more courageous.
Just as I was about challenge readers to do the same, I felt God calling me to step away from the page and to simply spend time with Him. Not for what He could give me or how He could bless me, but so that I could get to know Him better.
Six months ago, I might have been too busy and too driven to listen. I might have opted to finish my writing and THEN spent time with Him. But in this new posture of openness, I heeded His call. Instead of writing, I prayed. I listened, I journaled, I read my Bible, and relented to the fact that I would now need to push back my deadline, as the hours had passed and I was ready to sleep. Before turning out the light, I decided to check my email one last time, and there at the top of my inbox was a message from Kickstarter: “Your campaign has been fully funded!”
I could hardly believe what I was reading. I logged into Kickstarter and sure enough, shortly after deciding to postpone my guest post -- the one that was meant to attract potential donors -- one person had chosen to pledge the remaining $1,400 we needed to reach our goal. In other words, I surrendered my timeline, heeded God’s invitation, and then found He surprised me with everything I needed. In His way, not mine.
I am slowly learning that what He wants most is for us to know Him and prioritize that above everything else. When we do this, all the mystery becomes a lot more bearable. Instead of feeling threatening, it becomes a place of safety and freedom. In His presence, I cease needing answers and certainty to be comfortable because I recognize that He knows better. From what I can tell, it just might be the secret to making peace with the mysteries of life.
What do you find most beautiful or challenging about embracing the unknown?