Will God Show Me a Better Way?

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Claire de Boer -Momentary Wait4I never was one for maps. My stepdad always liked to sprawl those intricate roadmaps that fold eight ways (and you need eight people to hold) across his lap and study them for hours. I couldn’t even figure out how to properly fold them back up again. Thank goodness for Google and satnavs.

I have, however, always been partial to finding my way via a particular path. One that combines adventure with safety and predictability.

I like to know where I’m going.

So far I haven’t done too badly en route. I made it through my teen years unscathed, finished high school, went to university, found a job and a husband, acquired a mortgage and birthed two children. All in the expected order too.

In fact, if society was to hold up a map especially marked with my name, it would say I’m doing pretty well.

At least, until a year ago.

When my marriage ended that’s when the map began to look a little fuzzy. No longer was my path clearly marked. I now had a red X through one of the biggest check marks on life’s list—marriage.

That’s when I began to wonder, what is my path? Does this map no longer work for me? Whose map was it anyway—mine, God’s, or one my culture had drawn that didn’t really exist? Where do I go from here?

All I knew was that without confidence in some kind of map—that clearly marked route from A to B—I was flummoxed and lost.

I’d been there before, at this major crossroads in life, where feeling lost is the underlying theme. When I was 25, shortly before emigrating from the UK to Canada, I found myself so far off any path that made sense to me, I could hardly believe this was my life. Career, friendships, love life, family, even a little hint of God; all of it felt like thick murky waters I had to drag my feet through day by day. I wanted someone to pick me up and plant me as far away as possible. Anywhere—just get me out of here.

At the time I thought a complete life change was in order, hence my desire to relocate to a new country. I called out to God frequently, wanting to accelerate the process as much as possible. But I didn’t know God; I couldn’t call myself a Christian or say I had a church family. I wasn’t even sure I believed. And handing over my map to God certainly wasn’t a consideration. I was going to take the reins, and no one else.

So I made a choice to up and leave. To say goodbye to all of it and start again. It’s probably the biggest detour I’ve ever taken in life. Not only did I have no idea what I was walking into, I didn’t even know who I was. But I was determined to carve out my own path.

In Canada my life on the outside began to fall into place like a perfectly stacked deck of cards. I soon settled, reveling in the beauty of my new pacific coast surroundings. I loved the job I found in public relations and shortly afterwards met the man I would later marry and start a family with. I liked where my new map was taking me.

That was sixteen years ago. Along the way I’ve struggled with anxiety, bouts of depression and a constant awareness that while I may be following society’s path, I may be lost when it comes to the path of my spirit. Since my marriage breakup I have realized I was always following what I perceived to be the accepted way of life, rather than listening to God or my own needs. Perhaps the end of my marriage was as much about the end of following an ideal that never existed as it was about the end of a relationship.

So I’m ditching my map, the one that tells me to live according to cultural rules and expectations. I’ve come to a large crossroads for the second time in my life, and it seems the best thing to do right now is not to hanker after a better route, but rather, stand still for a while and wait to see where God wants to lead me.

Sometimes standing still would seem to be better than any route at all.

But here’s the thing: that’s the hardest part about this whole process—standing still and waiting on God. Because not only does this culture resist against standing still, it propels me forward into a place where I feel that pressure to always be moving. If I’m not doing, following, achieving, what value does my life have?

And what of God? Can I trust his map? Will God really show me a better way? Every day I struggle with this question, with standing still, releasing my hold on the reins—even just a little—and trusting that I’m held in a God’s arms that aren’t letting go. That God’s map will always be far better than any I could ever design for myself.

Trading in my old, dog-eared, but comforting map for one that resembles the intricate detail of those my stepdad used to study, is a huge leap. I can never even hope to understand God’s grand design for my life.

But I do know I have to be still for a while and draw near to God if I hope to find a better way.

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Claire De Boer
Hi, I’m Claire and though you may only see my words here once a month I’m part of the wonderful sisterhood of women who edit, upload and brainstorm behind the scenes of SheLoves. I was born and raised in England but pretty much see myself as a fully fledged Canadian. I spend just about all of my spare time blogging, editing and creating stories. I’ve also ventured into the world of teaching and mentor students in using writing as a tool for personal growth. My passion is to help others find the value and beauty in their stories and to find healing or self-awareness via journaling, memoir, or just "soul writing", as I like to call it. To learn more about my journey and the work I'm doing visit The Gift of Writing
Claire De Boer
Claire De Boer

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Claire De Boer
  • Yes, drawing near to God for step-by-step direction seems like a much better way to live this following life — and I’ve never been able to fold those maps either.

    • cjdeboer

      Haha I’m so glad we hardly use them anymore! Thanks for reading Michele!

  • My map has changed quite a bit over the past few years – and again a new path has emerged. This is what I am learning, too. Stillness, waiting, trusting. They are hard-earned disciplines but so worth it in the end. Thank you for these words, Claire!

    • cjdeboer

      They are such hard disciplines aren’t they Nicole?! Thank younfor your wonderful edits 🙂

  • Helene Burns

    As I am reading your words Claire, I can’t help but think of the conversation we would have with our children and grandchildren every time we went to Disneyland before we entered the park. ‘If we get separated and you can’t see me – stand still and I will find you. Don’t wander to off to try to find me as you will become more lost. Just wait for me to come to you.’

    I admire your willingness to be still and wait for God to show you the path – He knows exactly where you are and how to lead you into His glorious future for you. xo

    • cjdeboer

      I’ve had the same conversation Helen – great words. Standing still definitely seems like the best place to be right now.

  • Oh Claire, this is such a hard part of the journey/process/life. It happened for me right after I emigrated to the middle of nowhere, USA. There literally was no place to go, anything bigger was more than 3 hours drive away, but the mountains ‘hemming me in’ felt like a clear sign that God had hold of me. And even though my ‘staying still’ was not a happy time for my marriage, it was necessary. Kind of like shedding an old skin maybe, in order to be ready for the next place God was taking us. And here I am a year into the next place and step by step, there has been a calling and leading and I am very clear that this wasn’t MY plan. God’s got you – right where you are.

    • cjdeboer

      Thank you Morag – that’s what I’m depending on.

  • Megan Gahan

    You created such a gorgeous metaphor when you described the map your stepdad used to pour over. How many of us are hanging onto our own dog-eared maps, just because they’re comfortable, not because they’re right? So proud of you for continuing to write out this journey in all its’ truth and independence, all of the dips and valleys. Much love to you, my dear.

    • cjdeboer

      Thanks so much Megs. xoxox

  • Thanks for sharing! I am definitely at a crucial juncture at my life map – changing jobs, moving, getting married – and I also have to decide to just trust God because none of us can know where our roads lead. Best wishes to you!

  • Your story connects with me in many ways. Thanks for sharing Claire.