I stopped using the phrase, “I could never do that.”
And I’ve spent these past few weeks reflecting back on seasons of intense change, without even realizing it, because I happen to be in one right now. I’ll start with this “I could never do that,” though it was more of a whispered one to myself. I could never run that far. Each day, I’ve bumped up my mileage, the most recent being a 7.3 mile run and a 15.04 mile bike ride. I shoved the I-could-never’s away.
It’s therapy. And therapy looks different for everyone; hang that as a banner over this post. Some people need to sit on a couch and verbally process everything, and I’ve had seasons where that was true for me, but I’m not sitting in the center of that season anymore. Now, all it takes is a phone call to a person who knows me deeply, a very long run with a Dear Sugars podcast, and establishing a routine in these past few weeks of making coffee like a ritual and watching the Today Show from start to finish. Will that change in a couple weeks when I’m waking up at 5AM? Oh, for sure. But routine has been my grounded space.
And now I’m searching for the consistency in my relationship with God. I find Him in that morning coffee ritual and in the long runs and in spending intentional time with family. I find Him less by sitting and having quiet time for 2 hours every morning. I find Him in continuing to trust Him in a season of intense change, praying for wisdom and knowledge, not just relying on my own steps. It’s been made very clear to me that ultimately I do not have control over my future, which has been the scariest and most humbling thing. I stopped saying, “I could never do that,” after the Lord uprooted me and stuck me in Costa Rica for the summer.
I stopped saying I would never try ministry abroad again. I stopped thinking I would never go back into ministry. I stopped saying I would never move home. I stopped saying I would never run long distances again. I stopped searching. I stopped longing. I stopped trying to control. I decided to fix my eyes on Jesus. I focused on the things I did know to be true about this very moment I’m sitting in: I am who God calls me. I am going where He calls me. I am open to being used by Him. His love is proud to be seen with me. He is steadfast. He is light. He exposes darkness. He is secure. He is my bravery. He is my most important relationship.
Truth be told, I recently came out of a relationship that was very difficult. I’ll lay that out, plain and simple. I learned a lot about me, and I learned a lot about this other person that was hard to grapple with. And stepping into this season, instead of saying, “I could never do that,” when it comes to dating, I’ve felt God pushing my desires in a different direction, to dream and plan and explore on my own. I’m not going to sit here and saying, “Oh God no, I’ll never do that again because it was a terrible thing that broke little pieces of me,” but I will say, “Hey God, I don’t know what You’re doing, and I don’t know why the heck You allowed that to happen, but I’m going to trust You despite all of it.”
I do not feel a call to date or put myself in a position to learn and trust another person, and I do think this comes from that last little phrase. He is my most important relationship. Am I going to write it off completely? Of course not. But am I going to steer clear until I see a reason not to do that anymore? Absolutely. And some of that may be charged with fear, seeing relationships around me filled with darkness and hurt, but the other part of that truly does feel like a change in desire. In this season, I feel called to lean more deeply into God and keeping my eyes fixed on Him, praying that one day He’s going to bring me someone who I can walk alongside and continue to follow Him.
I think back to last summer when I was working at a camp in Mount Berry, GA, and there was a group of girls who would go out on the trails for one week of a two week session, and they would lead high school girls through the woods, teaching them the truth of God. And I remember multiple conversations with leaders in that group that ended with me saying, “Oh gosh, I just could never do that,” and they would always tell me, “Of course you can!” And when I think about the phrase I so often use (“I could never do that”), I think of those stories for some reason. I don’t believe that the reason I’m remembering that is because God wants me to pack up my belongings and head out to live in the woods for a while, but I do have reason to believe He’s calling me into a wilderness of learning what it looks like to trust Him when I can no longer be in control.
I got to talk with a sweet friend this week that I recently had the opportunity to reconnect with, and she said the more she thought about it, it was like I decided to take one step in faith and God unfolded the rest in front of me. And I started thinking about that one step and what it was, and I remembered. I quit a job that wasn’t going to allow me to go to my brother’s high school graduation, and I knew that honoring my family was the most important thing, and God honored that. Because I quit that job, I had the opportunity to go to Costa Rica and because I went to Costa Rica, I moved out of Rome and got a job in Atlanta, which then led to more opportunities than I could’ve ever imagined. I keep thinking about how God gives abundantly, even when our eyes are wandering all over the place. I kept looking and seeking and longing for all of these different things, but each time, a small whisper of God saying, “Hey, eyes right here,” and that focus changes everything. All of these opportunities and all of these plans unfolding right in front of my eyes are all Jesus, every single one of them.
So I’ll stop using phrases like, “I could never do that,” and words like, “Never.” Those are strict and limiting, and that’s just not who God is. And it may seem like a simple thing, just to change the words you use, but I believe it’s profound. If I would’ve let fear dictate this past season, I wouldn’t be able to sit here and write stories of God’s faithfulness in another country or in a season of intense change or in learning when to say enough or I deserve better. It’s good and sweet and rich, and I just wanted to place a mile marker down to say, “This moment. It’s a good one.”