Have you ever labored and prayed and continued to try and figure out what God’s will for your life is? I have before, and I am now. What’s different now is I’m writing in pencil.
When I was in college a roommate let me borrow a book and told me to read one specific chapter. It changed how I viewed my plans and my hopes and my idea of God’s will for my life. The book is called Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist (this is before she wrote all of her other amazing books- you don’t want to miss this one either!), and one of the chapters is titled “Writing in Pencil”. I read it in college as I was struggling through what God would have me do after graduation, and where He would send Jeremy and I as we preparing to get married.
This chapter talks about how so often we get in our minds that God has this one specific plan for our lives and we try and figure out this one plan, and we write that plan down with Sharpie. We go after that plan and make our life about that plan. But what we too often forget is that as followers of Christ we need to always write our plans in pencil, even if it is plan we are sure is from God. We need to always hold the pencil with an open hand and allow God to erase one plan and write another in its place or add on to our original plan.
The chapter starts out, “I just turned thirty, and I’m finally willing to admit something about life, or at least about my life, and it’s this: I should have written in pencil. I should have viewed the trajectory of my life as a mystery or an unknown. I should have planned lightly, hypothetically, and should have used words like ‘maybe and possibly. Instead every chance I got, I wrote in stone and Sharpie. I stood on my future, on what I knew, on the certainty of what life would hold for me as though it were a rock.”
I love this quote as well, “Everything is interim. Every season that I thought was stable and would be just how it was for a long time ended up being a preparation or path to the next thing. When you decide to be on this journey with God, everything is interim.”
The most freeing idea for me was that as Christians, we are on this journey of life with God and we are never going to fully “arrive” at God’s will for our life. It is not a final destination! We are constantly living in His will but it is fluid and will look different in different seasons of life. I want to be a woman of God who follows His will without question and without fear. Isn’t it freeing to think that we will never really “arrive” in this life? I don’t have to keep waiting for permanent to arrive, because it never will. So we don’t have to stress so much about figuring it all out now, because He will lead when the time comes and we are to just be obedient to follow where He leads at that time. Scripture clearly tells us that God’s will for us all is to glorify Him. Where and how may change through the years but that is the ever constant! It may be on the mission field, in the workplace, in a classroom, or in your home as a wife and mom. And it could be all of those at different times!
Be sensitive to His voice and His direction and seek to discern His will, but don’t stress so much about it. It is a great adventure! It is scary but also so exciting to know that He could call you to go anywhere or do anything!
Are you willing to go and do what He calls? Are you willing to allow Him to erase your current comfort zone and stretch you into the unknown? Let’s loosen the grip on the pencil, freeing ourselves to allow our own dreams and plans to be erased and rewritten by the Author of our life.
Click the above image to get access to a printable version in The Library!