John and I are, with the Lord. I don't know exactly what that means. That's what makes it an adventure. Have you ever thought about what it would be like to go on a 'real' one?
As a kid, I would have thought it would be exciting! The word conjures excitement, unexplored territory, unblazed and unknown paths in the woods twisting beyond sight, a ship plowing through boisterous seas to an unknown shore - at least - these are things it conjures for me.
However, dwelling on it these days, I really think that when we're confronted with a real adventure, we're not excited at all. Our reaction would probably be more akin to Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, if you've seen the movie or read the book, in which he says that adventures are “nasty, messy things that make you late for dinner.” He's horrified by the idea of doing anything so unpredictable - he could die, be maimed, lose everything, face untold and unknown dangers - why leave the comfort of his chair, where things are predictable, make sense and where he is "in control." After all, he has no time for the mess of an adventure. He has plans! And here at home, he knows reasonably what he expects to happen every day and the next and the next... out there ... well who knows?
And yet I've found that when you risk nothing, you get nothing. Control is an illusion - even in the comfort of 'my zone' - I still can't even do the simplest of things sometimes, let alone make anyone else do anything. And if I give up my trust to the Lord, He runs with it, multiplies it and turns it into something SO huge, I couldn't even have imagined it until He gave it to me.
Saturday - and why I was thinking about adventures
It's happened - I've butted up against the wall of straining against not wanting to do things, and have to push through to get things done - it happens in every semester or season of learning - it's a phase, of sorts - I've been there before. It does eventually pass (until one doesn't care or mind that all one does 24/7 is only work). But it's not a nice place to be.
I ended up not reading much after dinner. I couldn't make myself do it at the time and I was SO mad for wasting all that nice time, and then got really depressed, scared and overwhelmed about everything, and went and clung to John fitfully for an hour (I'm so scared! I'm going to fail everything! - Shhh, no, you're not. Have peace. I love you. - I love you too. AHHH! ::rinse::repeat). We watched a movie, "Now You See Me." It was all right. But nothing would have made me happy at the time. I was just depressed.
Then I got the urge to watch the opening of The Hobbit with John which we did until the part where Bilbo joined the Company. I couldn't stop thinking about that - the whole thing - I felt as if God was telling me something through it. I often hear Him so much better in stories than in other ways.
Adventures are not fun - they are terrifying - completely and utterly so. Biblo almost refused to go when confronted with one - he almost turned back, yet at the last minute, he went. Adventures are like doors of opportunity, in a way. The door is open for only a season of time, I feel like, not infinitely - past a certain point, that door shuts and whatever could have been is lost.
If Bilbo hadn't made that fateful decision, he'd never have met the elves or found the One Ring; Frodo would not have gotten the Ring, and Saron might then have conquered Middle Earth unchallenged, not to mention the fact that the dwarves might never have defeated Smaug. More was hanging on Bilbo's reluctant decision than he could ever have possibly imagined.
And I feel as if it's the same with us. Maybe our adventure won't save the world. But, then again, who really knows? Bilbo didn't think his would either. I just find the contrast between what we imagine adventures to be and what they really are like to be fascinating to ponder.
What does this have to do with anything? Well, I know I'm going on an adventure - in many ways all at once - the Lord is taking me I know not where. I don't like not knowing. I feel like Bilbo. But I'm going anyway, because I *have* to know. And the Lord is calling me. If I don't go, I'll regret it the rest of my life. The Lord is the only person worth living for. The Lord is all that really matters to me. I love Him, in my own, finite and small way. If I don't do what He asks, what else do I have to live for? And yet, I have days like yesterday, when I become completely paralyzed by fear.
Sunday - the Lord grabbed me by the shoulders and reminded me of some things
Esther and I met and prayed for each other about the week - that was critical - she reminded me of important things. While she was praying, she said she felt the Lord standing over her, speaking to me through her, as if she were not doing the talking. I felt that same shift, but didn't fully realize it until afterward and was grieved because I hadn't been completely listening at the time.
But suddenly I realized something I should already have seen. Or more properly, I remembered something that I 'knew' in my head, but didn't 'feel' it to be true: that the Lord is working and He knows and sees everything. His plans are moving forward exactly on schedule. He brings people to tell me things, even when things seem perfectly normal. I was reminded of the conversation I had with Lutz lab people, that the Lord told me He had directed me to them, but I hadn't been listening at the time. That had seemed to be a completely normal conversation - nothing special about it in the slightest - and yet the Lord had orchestrated it. And I realized then that He had brought Ms. Brenda, Jacob and Esther to talk to me similarly today - and that He'd done other things like that in the past week, but I hadn't noticed. I felt like Jacob in the Bible, Genesis 28:16 when he said, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it."
I felt a measure of strength return to me and encouragement The Lord knows what He's doing. I don't have to know. I just have to trust that He's working all things out in His way. The details aren't important. He'll show me what I need when I need it. And He really is doing what He said - I just won't know when it'll happen.
Other things on Sunday
After lunch (burritos at the Petrees) I dropped off my key to the Typhoon fluorescence instrument on my desk at Emory for Yue - she'd asked me to leave it for her Friday and I *completely* forgot. While up there, I was able to check the protein gel Ian had done, which was good. I read a paper on Yuan's desk - it looked cool - and I prayed for everything and everyone around the lab. I pray for Khalid as much and as often as I possibly can. And I'm always trying to pray for more blessings on the lab.
The Lord is doing something - He's told me this - and I'm continuing to watch for hints of it. He's already pointed out several to me, so I know He's not kidding (as if He would do that) and my guess is it's bigger than I think. I like to call this time around now, "Phase II." That's kind of what I felt like He called it to me before. My mom's birthday and week after was the crescendo of 'Phase I,' and now we're in another trough building to something else. Nothing much looks like it's happening - but it is, it's just under the surface - that's how troughs are. I'm not sure how far along 'phase II' is - He'll tell me when I need to know.
Then I got home and read half of Kornelia's paper. John and I got pizza for the highschoolers, as we were filling in for Kyle and Haley while they're on vacation, and went up and hung out with them - well, John hung out and played Red November with them - I finished reading Kornelia's paper in their general vicinity and writing up some few comments. We got back home and I reviewed lab TA stuff, questions for Tech people and wrote up a few lines for the NSF proposal. Then I wrote this.