This past weekend, the hubs and I made a quick jaunt down to Florida to visit his grandparents. The weather wasn't great, but the conversation and stories that covered a lifetime made up for it.
In the short amount of time we were there, I managed to read three books! Although that sounds impressive, one of the books was a fifth grade reading level and didn't take much brain power to plow through. However, the message from the second book is one that will stick with me for quite some time. So many passages forced me to dog-ear the page so I could come back and reread over and over again. But there is one specific chapter that I never want to forget. The message is one that I live myself with the prayers, signs, listening, and following of God's will in my career choice. A choice that I do no regret. And a true testament of how good God is when we faithfully follow.
An excerpt from 'The Lucky Few' by Heather Avis:
What I did not know then is that ease and normalcy and niceness are not as important to Jesus as obedience, perseverance, and sacrifice. I didn't know then that easy and normal and nice would do little to build my character or make me a better and more complete person.
Somewhere off the rose-petal path where easy, normal, and nice bloom, true beauty lives in the muck. But only the lucky few of us who step off the path will find it. My luck began when God picked me up off the comfortable path I had paved for myself and drop-kicked me into the mud.
In the beginning, all I wanted to see was the grime on my clothes and the dirt on my hands. But because of God's grace, I finally stopped looking for a way back to my own plans. And the farther I stepped from that pretty path of easy, normal, and nice, the more clearly I could see the beauty he was creating all around me. Far from my simple expectations, I discovered a richness and depth of life available to everyone.
I began to trust. In fact, I no longer needed to see the beauty ahead of me in order to take a step toward it. I began to walk in the wilderness of God's love, and with each step, I watched his perfect will for my life to unfold around me.
Today I'm aware of all the time I have said no to opportunities God has placed before me because I think I'm not rich enough, equipped enough, talented enough, strong enough, or crazy enough to say yes. All the times I have mistaken good things for bad. All the times I have allowed the opinions of an ignorant majority to guide my thinking instead of looking to Jesus and his heart in the matter. I wonder how many times we, his children, choose a comfortable no over a terrifying yes - the kind of yes that will lead us to the only place we should ever long to be: in the arms of Jesus.
Today I can see I was created for profound experiences far beyond the reach of simple expectations.
So were you.