Will God Show Me a Better Way?


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.