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Two Choices

Several years ago while working for the school system, I was in the middle of making a decision about a job transition. Part of the decision was out of my control, and I just had to wait to see my options before I could figure out my next move. I felt anxious about this, so I went to the place I go when I feel uneasy and need some clarity or at least some comfort, the labyrinth, a place I go to commune with God.

As I walked the winding path on a cold February day, I lifted up my concerns. “What do I do God?” I asked, “You know I am not good at living in uncertainty.”

The answer came, “You will end up exactly where you are meant to be, so you have two choices. You can worry and stress about it, and then everything will work out in the end. Or you can relax and trust, and then everything will work out in the end. The choice is yours.”

I giggled a little, imagining God sending me those words as a text message with a little winky face emoji at the end to denote a playfully sarcastic tone. Then, I set an intention to let go of my worry and fear and simply trust that everything was going to work out in the end.

I was amazed at the ease I felt through March and April and May and June. Then July hit. Suddenly I could no longer stave off those feelings of fear. Those of you who work in the school system will relate. When July comes, you want to know where you will be for the upcoming school year. You want to start making plans. You want to be prepared. So when July came and I was still standing in the middle of uncertainty, my anxious feelings returned with force.

At the same time I was staying at the B&B I go to every summer to write, meditate, and fill my strength reservoir. As I was about to head out one morning for a hike on my favorite path along the river below the B&B, the owner warned me that someone recently had encountered a rattlesnake on the trail, so I needed to be careful.

I felt confident that no rattlesnake was going to stop me from enjoying my time on the trail and set out. But as I walked closer and closer to the river, my fears increased. I carefully watched the earth below me and felt anxiety boiling up in me, which was very different from my normally peaceful hike.

“I’m sorry God,” I prayed, “That I’m letting my fear take away from the peacefulness I usually feel on this path. Come to think of it, I’m sorry I’ve let my fears of the unknown cause me to feel anxious about this job situation.” I expected God to be frustrated with me, especially after giving me that pep talk earlier in the year about my two choices. Instead I heard this, “You’re being too hard on yourself. You’re human. The important thing is that you are still moving forward.”

In that moment I realized when God told me that I had two choices, it wasn’t sarcasm, it was the truth. I could choose how I wanted to experience the uncertainty. Of course God would prefer I not worry, but if I did, I would not be loved or accepted any less by God and everything would still work out for me in the end as long as I kept moving forward.

Knowing I am loved like that, knowing I am accepted like that, knowing I don’t have to navigate everything in life perfectly, courageously, and without fear, knowing I am allowed to be human, filled me with a calm as I walked that trail in spite of the fear.

If you are able to move forward in your life without any fear, you are amazing. And if you move forward in life in spite of your fear, you are amazing. Just keep moving forward. Keep listening to the soft inner voice that is telling you to go, to do, to be, to experience, to live your life fully.

Sometimes moving forward will be something that is transforming within your spirit that no one else can even see. Sometimes you will run or take baby steps or skip or tiptoe. Sometimes you will feel scared or brave or both at the same time. Just keep moving forward. Just keep moving forward. Just keep moving forward.

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