In 16 days, I’ll be moving to Europe.
After much, and I mean MUCH, deliberation, I quit my job (that I loved), applied with an international missionary organization, had a week-long (more like month-long) meltdown full of tears and rhetorical questions like what the heck am I doing, and finally decided to accept said position in the Czech Republic. Now here we are. Lots of other things happened. We’ll get to those.
On the outside, this huge adventure seems fun and exciting and bold. It looks like an opportunity to see the world and experience new cultures. And it is! While it’s definitely each one of those things, it is also a little bit terrifying and uncertain and nausea-inducing. I am learning to embrace each of those feelings, all the while praying I don’t actually throw up, even if I really feel like it.
You might be thinking, so… why do it? Why go on this “adventure” that makes you want to hurl into a barf bag ten thousand feet in the air? Why don’t you just go for a week or two and get it out of your system? These are valid questions.
When I was younger, I used to believe that life was about following a predictable timeline and meeting expectations and choosing a comfortable and easy path for yourself. I thought being successful had something to do with being normal. No detours. Now, my older, wiser self knows that normal is not an actual thing. There is no ‘normal’, there is no predictable timeline or easy path. This is called life, and I’m just a slow learner.
I’m not sure when or where I developed these illusions about normalcy, but it was probably the same time I thought I knew everything, so around tenth grade? Thankfully that feeling has passed, and I now know this: a sure sign you’re becoming an adult is the admission that you actually know nothing. We’re all just doing the best we can.
It took me a while to come to terms with this new discovery, and as I did, I learned a lot about myself and about the life I want to live.
I want to embrace life’s unexpected detours. I don’t want to hold so tightly to the plan I have in mind for my future that I miss what’s going on around me in the present.
No one really gets what they expect in life, do they? Have things always gone the way you planned? Does your life look exactly what you imagined? No? Congratulations! Join the club of everyone else in the world!
For me, this detour starts with a leap of faith. Quitting a great job, moving to Europe, and becoming a missionary were never items on my Life Plan, but by the end of this year, all three of those things will have happened. Despite the fact that this journey was never part of my Plan A, it has always been in God’s Plan.
The Lord says He will make clear to me the way of life; where He is, joy is complete; in His right hand there are pleasures for ever and ever. [Psalm 16:11]
This season of life I’ve lovingly labeled The Detour will be full of unknowns, confusion, difficulty, and uncertainty. But it will also be full of once in a lifetime experiences, joy, learning, and growth. And aren’t those the things that make life full?
Sometimes detours become the thing we’re most thankful for.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all – Helen Keller