Enough Light for One (Matthew 6)
I need a new goal, and I don’t think that drinking my weight in coffee on a weekly basis is going to count. That’s certainly the plan, but that’s not the kind of goal I need. For as long as I can remember, I have been working towards moving to and getting a ministry job in Latin America. Well, I did that a week ago, but now that I’m here I feel like I’m drifting a little bit.
I’m up to my eyeballs in lesson planning and classroom decorating. I am trying to learn my way around a town that has very few named roads. I have plenty to do and even more to think about. It is not the inability to keep myself occupied that is leading to this “drift”.
I want to give my students excellence. I want to teach how to resist temptation by hiding the word of the Lord in their heart, in addition to teaching proper sentence structure and diction (More about this in a future post). I want them to know that they are loved with a love everlasting and irrevocable, and from that place they have the freedom to be themselves, to make mistakes, and to ask for help. I want them to really, truly believe that education is a blessing and not a burden, and I want them to strive to live up to their God given potential.
The absence of a goal itself isn’t my issue either.
I can’t stop asking myself “now what?”. For so long I have been working towards this moment, and now that it is here…
I studied hard in high school to get into a good college so I could continue to study Spanish and become a missionary. I studied hard at Liberty learning Spanish so I could become a missionary.
Everything I did for years led to this moment.
Now I have a job as a missionary teacher. That first year on the field started a week ago. And for the first time in my life, there isn’t a next step to achieving this huge dream of mine.
It’s here. I’m living it. And I don’t know what comes next.
Patrick Curtis is the Middle School director at my home church. He taught about Psalm 119:105, and even though I wasn’t there that day- I only heard his message second hand through my mother, it has stuck with me, and has deeply impacted my life this week.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. ~Psalm 119:105
When I think about that verse, I think of a flashlight, or a car’s headlights when I am driving after dark. I think of the whole path being illuminated, but Patrick pointed out that the psalmist intended something far different.
Because when the psalmist was writing, they didn’t have flashlights or cars with headlights. They had little hand held lanterns, and they only cast enough light to illuminate the ground immediately under the lantern. The next several yards, or even feet, weren’t illuminated. Only the next step was.
And honestly, that is so indicative of my life right now.
Everyone keeps asking me how long I will be living here in Sigua, and the truth is, I have absolutely no idea. I don’t really expect this to be a short term thing, even though I am only committed to a year right now. I do know that this year is going to stretch me in ways I didn’t know were possible, and the school year hasn’t even started yet. I don’t know if I am strong enough to live here long term, and the idea of never living close to my family again tears me apart inside.
I was talking to a friend last night about timelines and for the first time in my life, I don’t have one. And I think that’s okay.
When I started writing this post a few days ago I felt aimless- like I was drifting. But the more I prayed over it, the more I realized that I can only see the step that is directly ahead of me because right now, that is all I can handle. It is by the grace of God alone that I can’t see anymore.
I love this life I am living, and I can’t believe I can call a place as beautiful as this ‘home’. But I would be lying if I didn’t admit I’m terrified of the challenges that the coming weeks and months will bring.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear… Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Not being able to see what is coming as a first year teacher, a first year missionary, and beyond, is God’s prevision, not a lack there of.
I do know though, without a shadow of a doubt, the God has me here for a reason. Out of his goodness, he has chosen to use parrots time and time and time again to reaffirm his calling and remind me he has a perfect plan for my life. This is on the stairwell leading to my classroom.
Everything perfect (not just good enough) in His time.
Our God is so kind and so sweet. And I will keep walking in that, one illuminated step at a time.