as i prepare to depart california and enter into a new phase of life as a full-time college student my mind is consumed (and petrified) as to how i am going to financially provide for myself. it has taken no time at all for me to construct bountiful prospects that could serve as sources of income. as of right now, i am going to be a dog walker, barista, cocktailer, part-time youth minister, cross country coach, and a photographer. in my mind i considered these potentials as my way of responsibly approaching my future needs. another extension to my nearing end of one adventure and the commencing of another is contemplating different ways in which i can serve. my heart is filled with the desire to invest in the lives of others. with that i have prayerfully engaged in daydreaming areas that would provide opportunities for me to give. thus far i have marinated in the ideas of being an r.a. on campus, leading on campus ministries, organizing and facilitating small groups with the young women at bethel, mentoring more intentionally my former small group girls, and volunteering at whatever future church i will belong to.
to me, this all sounds like bissful potentials. i grow excited when i think of what my life is going to look like when i move to minnesota. i shared every one of these future engagements (work and serving alike) with my friend courtney during one of our marathon training morning runs and asked her if she would pray for me. my prayer request was that god would provide photography opportunities so that i can pay my way through school. much to my surprise she responded with: "no i won't pray for that. brianna, you are piling your plate already and you haven't even moved yet. you are so worried about how you are going to pay for school that you are stressing about bills that don't yet exist." ugh. she caught me...
i took this piece of adivise to the lord, and with mediation and the guiding of the holy spirit i was drawn to specific verses. each of these verses contained the word(s) highway, straight path.
"lead me in a straight path" ~ psalm 27:11
"prepare the way for the lord, make straight paths for him" ~ matthew 3:3
"make straight in the wilderness a highway for our god" ~ isaiah 40:3
through contemplation and examination i dug into the deeper meaning of these words. to make a highway or to make straight paths is to confess and repent of the sins that barracade the free-flowing movement of the lord in our lives. with this enlightenment i began to see that my vast collection of sources of income and service is only my deeply embedded need to control. to control the provision in my life. since i was 13 years old i have financially provided, in one way or another, for myself. there is this deep, ugly fear that resides in my heart that i will not be provided for. and so, in attempt to keep this fear of ever becoming a reality, i relentlessly scrounge for opportunities that will extinguish the existance of the possibility. i seek control. i seek to provide. i fail to trust.
and in the middle of all of this garbage the words of my mother come to life. i am an extremist at times. i do dive off the deep end. i am on either end of the spectrum - all or nothing - blind to the middle ground. i pick up my crushing yoke and being running (yes, running, not walking). "i can do it", i tell myself. i have been doing it for 14 years now, i know better than the lord how i need to be provided for.
so, what did i do with the surfacing of my sin? the only thing i knew i needed to do; i confessed my sin. and in doing so, i made straight a highway for my god and i carved out a straight path for him.