When life speaks to a dormant place inside you, you better listen. When your heart begins unfurling and inspiration starts knocking like the most incessant little woodpecker that ever was, you better muster all the gumption you possess and prepare for a journey.
Sometimes I think we ignore these journeys because of all we’re afraid to leave behind – familiar roads, favourite corners in favourite coffee shops. People whose hearts we have translated, homes whose kitchen contents we have memorized. But the epitome of belonging is not whether or not we know where friends keep their mugs. The epitome of belonging is being so at peace with ourselves that we can uproot and replant wherever God calls, whenever he calls us.
I thought about this on a recent flight. Flying in general has never worried me. I’ve always had this inexplicable, childlike faith in a plane’s capacity to stay airborne and carry me safely on. Take off fascinates me, because as I lose complete control and entrust my life into someone else’s hands, I can feel myself soaring towards the stars and up there, amid clouds and constellations, I am brave – braver than when I am on the ground. Sharing God’s view of the world reminds me of how small Amy Bareham and her problems actually are. Landing though, landing is difficult. What is it about descending that makes our palms clammy and our stomachs drop? Maybe we’re itching for the idea of adventure, instead of adventure itself. Journeys are full of mixed cds with summer hits from 9th grade. Journeys involve fast food indulgence and sunglasses that make you feel a little bit like Audrey Hepburn. And journeys come with directions and maps – instruction manuals that compliment the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin.
Standing at the precipice of new chapters is never easy because we arrive at Point B with fistfuls of baggage from Point A. Back on the ground again looking our new destination in the eye, I think our minds flash back to all the old nouns…the ones we couldn’t fit in our suitcases. What God has been saying to me lately is that my luggage quota is limited for a reason. Before heading for the UK as a girl, I’d cram stuffed animals into my backpack until we left the house. My mum would come alongside and force some beloved bear out, reminding me to leave room for what I’d be given. Not much has changed. When I stand before him with my hands firmly grasping everything I could have left behind, I cannot possibly receive everything that lies before me.
What a relief it is to have a co-pilot. Our traveling companion is the one who hung each star in its place. We may find Point B feeling disheveled and exhausted, but God satisfies us and is continuously producing new directions. In the event that we make a U-turn, he will recalculate. If we make a wrong turn, he will reroute. I sat down with God a few nights ago wanting to throw off all that hinders, asking to link arms with adventure and laugh without fear of the future. God whispered, you don’t have to know all the answers. You don’t have to get it right the first time. And you certainly don’t have to live in the shadow of days long gone, days when your edges weren’t as soft and your heart not as free. I am here to fill the void. No matter how much you let go, I will satisfy.
I want to be the kind of girl that touches down and says let’s do this thing. Let’s draw new pictures with different colours and maybe, just maybe, come up with something good enough to hang on the refrigerator door. I want to live not hand to mouth, but hand in hand with a God who is in the business of writing bestsellers. Amy Bareham Fully Surrendered: coming to a bookshelf near you.