I laid wide awake the other night sifting the day through my mind, turning it over, shaking it to see what rattled, holding it up to the light to catch a different angle; suddenly, my mind snagged on a bit of Jeff Dunn's post over at iMonk.
“You mean,” said Lucy rather faintly, “that it would have turned out all right—somehow? But how? Please, Aslan! Am I not to know?”
“To know what would have happened, child?” said Aslan. “No. Nobody is ever told that.”
“Oh dear,” said Lucy.
“But anyone can find out what will happen.” said Aslan. “If you go back to the others now, and wake them up, and tell them you have seen me again; and that you must get up at once and follow me—what will happen? There is only one way of finding out.
“To know what would have happened, child?” said Aslan, “No. Nobody is ever told that.”
“Oh dear,” said Marina.
This lesson may be self-evident to some people, but I'm just beginning to learn it. When things aren't going “right” (by my definition, of course) I tend to look back at the moments when I considered other decisions, or was pulled towards a course of action that I didn't take; I could spend (and have spent) years agonizing about “what could have been” if I had taken the other fork, made the other choice, or followed the other voice. If I had made all the right choices and said all the right things at the very beginning, my relationship with Landon would never have hit a rocky moment. If I had followed every hunch and compulsion and possible whisper of the Spirit in looking for a job, I would have found something fulfilling that would further my vocation. If I had handled my morning correctly, my afternoon would never be this stressful, choppy, and unproductive. But Aslan says that this is not mine to know. Not only that, but I know from experience that none of my “if-only”ing is necessarily true.
When I try to follow every voice inside of me I end up being pulled in half-a-dozen incompatible directions. There were times dating Landon when I said and did exactly what I thought I should and it ended up hurting us both. Sometimes the morning is messed up through no fault of my own – things just happen. Looking at this I realize that I fell for yet another lie while I was busy not believing it. I have been a vocal critic of the idea that if you just do x correctly, y will work itself out like you want, yet I wasted the first year of my marriage acting like I believed just that. I frantically rearranged, redefined, and reworked things in my head so that I could believe that the present was exactly what I wanted, because if it wasn't it meant that I really had done something wrong. Wasting time like this is an awful things to do. Thanks be to God He has pulled me out of it.
In the past weeks, God has been in the process of waking me up, shaking me up, and setting me on my feet. By His grace He has shown me so many things that affirm my choices of the past few years. Remembering that I am dust, and need much strength, He has let me see some of the good things that are coming out decisions that I doubted, especially in areas of work and school. Knowing that I need a booster He has proven to me that when I take two seemingly incompatible things that I know to be true, He can eventually resolve it for me. He is showing me what is appropriate and necessary remembering, in contrast with useless speculation and regret about the past. And He is in the process of showing me what it means to follow His voice in the present without an exhaustive review of the possible consequences. It's amazing to see validation for my choices unfolding in front of me, along with proof that if I did make the wrong decision He is capable of redeeming it. It's a little embarrassing that my faith is weak enough to need this, but it's incredible to see it happen. I feel as though I'm growing into a walk where there is no “what might have been,” there is only “what's next?” As my husband and I enter this season of defining, searching, and growing, I am more excited than I have been in a long time. Maybe I can finally learn to follow Aslan by myself, without needing other people to see Him as well. Maybe I can learn to scramble off of the cliff without knowing where the path is, just trusting that it is there.