I’ve been thinking a lot lately about calling, wondering what it is God has called me to. I keep asking myself if I’m too afraid to move or if God really has commanded rest. What I keep reminding myself is that I can’t go wrong, God will have his way.
I’ve been envisioning myself on a plateau lately, which I suppose is a bit cliche. As I turned down a job opportunity last month, I told my friend that I feel ready to take a leap of faith. And if God said jump, I was going to jump. But he didn’t say, “Go” he said, “Wait.” And so I here I sit on my plateau, I guess I should learn to enjoy the view.
But I’m not on a mountain plateau, I’m in a second-story apartment, overlooking seemingly endless construction that has been here as long as we have.
I suppose the imagery there is more fitting and significant.
Construction is inconvenient. It’s loud and takes up a lot of space. It closes roads and frustrates drivers. And it is slow work. The vision isn’t enough to call the work complete. It requires many hours, manpower, patience, kicked up dust, expertise, labor. And first it requires destruction of what was there before. The original structure has to be torn down or gutted, or if you’re starting fresh from the ground, it requires zoning and digging to get started. And it isn’t ever pretty.
My daughter, though, she loves to watch the construction. At the age of 18 months she was learning the names of diggers, bulldozers, cement mixers, cranes, dumpsters, and flatbeds. The sight of men on a roof are common occurrence to her. She’s fascinated by the piles of dirt, the sound of a drill, how a forklift carries loads across the landscape, the men who walk alongside large machinery, guiding it. Many times she has taken me outside just to cross the street, sit across from the site, and watch the work. Watching with her is just one way I’ve learned to slow down.
And me, I’m under construction myself, reconstructing the very core of who I am. I’m constantly seeking some more interesting work to put my hands to, yet the work God and I are doing here and now is not finished. It’s not mine to declare finished, either.
In the past year I’ve learned that I need to take responsibility in, well, a lot of things. If I’m feeling lonely, I need to reach out. If I want friends, I need to pursue others. I had spent so much time blaming the church for not taking care of me that I forgot to invest myself into relationships. To do unto others as I’d have them do to me. To take care of what God has given me. Stewardship. It’s scary and sometimes messy, but I’m finding community is our tangible Jesus. And I need to be actively invested in community in order to be part of it.
If I’m feeling unaccomplished in this season God has me now, it’s my own fault. So what if he has called me to be just a mother? What if the work he calls me to next requires abilities I’m learning now? Then my work as “just a mother,” “just a housewife” is important, isn’t it? We’re reinforcing the structure for something here, and I can’t rush through it. It has to be sound.
Also, no one is “just a mother.” Mothers are world changers through their children, and part of what makes motherhood sanctifying is also what it opens our eyes to. Suddenly, I see patterns in my life that need breaking, and by extension patterns in society that need healing. I have swallowed up study after study about sleep, health, the causes of anxiety, all in the name of being a good mom and passing on what I’ve learned. That is no small work. It’s not something I would have done without this slow and lonely season of early motherhood, either.
I don’t have any inkling as to what comes next. What I do know is what God has been whispering to me for two years now, what I’ve found both comfort and complexity in, what I have yet to actually do. And that is to heed his call, to be obedient in whatever that may be. For now, that call is to be still. To let the master craftsman do his work in me.
To trust the one who knows what comes next. Who is preparing the way for me.
Obedience. Stillness. Rest.
It’s dusk now, and the moon is vibrantly reflecting the sun. The construction crew went home hours ago, leaving behind sleeping machines and so much dust. They’ll be back at it early in the morning, early as the sun, accomplishing their tasks at an almost indiscernible speed–drilling, soldering, digging, hauling, building. And tomorrow they will go home again, tired and satisfied that they have accomplished progress, valuing the slow work.