The Twin Cities Rainbow Chaser

moving across the country…to discover what God has in store

Revisiting My Fear of the Box

Dream series

a glimpse into MY dreams

A year ago, my life was topsy turvy.  I had no plans and that was terrifying.  I was banking on one program: a teaching assistantship in France.  When I didn’t get into the program (I found out in early April), I was heartbroken and wrote:

“I had just known in my head and my heart that it was so right for me!  I wasn’t ready for graduate school or a “grown-up” job.  I just needed someplace to go for a year while I cleared my head.  It was the perfect scenario–go teach in France for a year and come back with a fresh outlook on my life.  But God broke my heart.”

The topsy turvy nature of my life continued for several more months until, like when a woman’s water breaks, everything started happening.  I interviewed for a tutoring organization in Minnesota and, within a month, I had moved to Minnesota.  God gave me exactly what I need: a year to go someplace and clear my head!  The move was less than unexpected (I didn’t even remember applying for the position with AmeriCorps!)

*sidenote: I’m back in that coffee shop.  The conversation that I get to overhear?  Learning about someone’s experience with a c-section*

Anyways, I jumped into the unexpected and trusted that God had something in store for me.  Boy, did I ever underestimate Him!  Looking back and looking forward (yeah–I’m talented like an owl), I can see how this is exactly what I needed this year.  In many ways, France would have been easy.  I doubt that I would have had the honor to work with kids from refugee families, living at or below poverty level, and who don’t speak English at home.  I wouldn’t have developed a throbbing passion to work in the early childhood field, preparing three and four year olds for the world that is public education.  The classrooms that have surrounded me this year have given me more direction that I have ever had.  And more importantly, I feel that God is in that direction.  He’s right here with me, pointing me there!

looking back

looking back

I had a specific purpose when I started this blog post…and it was to look forwards more and backwards less.  But this reflection on the past year has been refreshing.  I’ll save the thoughts on all of the tomorrows for another day.  You aren’t going to want to miss it.  Let’s just say…I’m pretty sure that I’m not in the box.

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Alternate Perspective

ImageThe other day, I sat in a coffee shop for two hours with a friend.  (Never in my life have five months left me feeling  comfortable and confident in calling someone a “friend”.)  Our conversation ranged from the current state of education, cross-country skiing plans, and our plans for the future.  I chuckle at that last one because neither of us have any concrete plans.  

I do know, however, what I don’t want to be doing in the future.  My friend was careful to suggest that living in the negative could be a risky endeavor.  Her advice was appreciated and, clearly, has been present in my mind.  But there is just so much that I fear in my future…because of my past.  I’m always concerned about the way that other people are going to look at me and think…

High School: She was the teacher’s pet.  Everything she did was perfect, of course.  None of the teachers would ever criticize her because her parents might get pissed off and go after them.  She slid by on her parents’ reputation and never did anything worthy of note.  In five years, she’s going to be back here working in the elementary school in her mom’s old classroom.  Her life will end up right back where it started…but with more cats because she’s scared of boys.    

ImageCollegeThis chick is such a cliche!  She goes to the Christian club all the time and is super-nice to everyone.  Everything she does is “perfect” and she can’t disappoint anyone.  She’s going to graduate and get a job here in Springfield probably.  She’ll work in one of the elementary schools for the rest of her life.  Maybe she could do more, but she thinks too small.  Oh wait…she doesn’t want to be a teacher?  She’s screwed.  She’ll probably move back home and work at a gas station.  Or maybe a farm.  There are farms in Arkansas, right?

Now: So, this girl moved from Arkansas, or Missouri kind-of.  And she’s doing AmeriCorps for a year.  Why would someone move to Minnesota to do AmeriCorps when PeaceCorps could have been an option?  It’s kind-of lame, ya know?  It’s like she’s afraid of moving on out into the real world.  Is she going to move back home after her year here is over?  Weak!

The way I see it, the whole world has an opinion about my choices.  And their opinions are critical.  Nothing that I have done is especially worthy of criticism.  But on the flip side, nothing that I have done is especially risky.  So where does that leave me?  Conflicted.  

Nothing new there.

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Being Still

I went on an excursion yesterday.  There’s a local “mountain” that I enjoy climbing.  There is a steep path that leads to the base of a pile of rocks.  Multiple crevices between the rocks make summiting an easy task.  It is a climb that I have done several times, each time enjoying it just as much as the last.  Sometimes I have someone to go with me, but more recently I’ve been hitting the trail solo…which I love.

A place to focus

When I am sitting on top of that little mountain all alone, the world tends to fade away.  It becomes easy to focus on things.  Yesterday, I focused on my life.  I talked to God about the overwhelming pressure that I am feeling from every side.  My parents are pressuring me to get a job, completely natural.  The problem is that they are pressuring me to get ANY job.  I don’t want any job…I want a job that will allow me to tap into my passion…go beyond myself…do something worthwhile!  It’s not just my parents, though.  My friends are starting to drop hints that maybe I should focus on the “now”…what can I do right now to better myself?  One friend said that I should just look at it as “just detouring” and another, after mentioning an opening in accounting (blah!) at her husband’s company, said she was “just letting [me] know there are options.”

With all of this, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  I want to do what is right by God…not my parents, not my friends, not even me.  God’s plan is the only one that concerns me right now…and that’s what I could focus on while I was sitting on top of the mountain.

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The Sun Begins to Shine

Seine River at sunset

You know when the weather gets bitter and rains…and rains…and rains…and you begin to lose all hope of seeing the sun?  That describes my year very well.  I have had so many plans that have just been blown away by the wind and I’ve almost given up on moving forward…backwards…anywhere!

And thus, my hope has waned.  I have begun to feel abandoned and rejected by God.  Continuing to believe in His plan becomes more challenging with each passing day.  He has broken my heart and dashed my dreams…does He even care about me?

Just when those feelings of abandonment and the broken heart grow almost unbearable, I hear from Him.  This week, I have had two job interviews.  At the end of a phone interview yesterday, I was told that I would hear from them in a few days, a week tops.  I got an e-mail today.  They want an in-person interview!

It is hard to believe that, just as I was giving up on a future, God brings around some options.  Even though these interviews have not yet panned out, the fact that they concluded on a positive note is reassuring.  God has brought the sun out and proven that He has not forgotten about me.

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Anything But the Box

We are verging on two months.  My other blog is going strong…but that is irrelevant here.  What is relevant here is that I am beyond the breaking point.

Just over a year ago, I admitted to myself and to those around me that I did not want to be a teacher.  I didn’t really know what I wanted to do…but I knew that I didn’t want to settle into a classroom and get stuck there for 30 years.  So, for the past 365+ days, I have been seeking an alternative.  The first thought was social work.  I pursued graduate schools with appropriate programs (I’ve been rejected by one, accepted to another, and told that I will probably get rejected from a third).  In the midst of applications though, I thought that I might want to be a counselor…so, I started looking at psych programs…short-lived ambition.  I set my heart on teaching in France and applied to a program.  One and a half weeks ago (April 4), I received an e-mail rejecting me from that program.

I had just known in my head and my heart that it was so right for me!  I wasn’t ready for graduate school or a “grown-up” job.  I just needed someplace to go for a year while I cleared my head.  It was the perfect scenario–go teach in France for a year and come back with a fresh outlook on my life.  But God broke my heart.

And thus, over the past eleven days, I have gone back to square one, via the five stages of grief…well, I do not think that I have quite made it to the final stage just yet.  At this point, I don’t even know what to think.  I spent some time feeling that the whole world was full of opportunities; but nothing is clicking.  I just want to see one job somewhere…and fall in love with it…the way I did with France.  Nothing is happening, though.

I feel like I need to remind God that I am here and that I am willing to GO.  I want to beg him to let me GO because right now, one of the options is moving back to Arkansas.  Supposedly I could find a job teaching French somewhere down there.  I don’t want to go back to Arkansas.

God, I am willing to move to Africa…Asia…an inner city where my life-expectancy is lessened due to drive-by shootings.  You don’t need me in Arkansas.  DON’T MAKE ME GO BACK IN THE BOX.

That is how I see Arkansas.  I spent the first 18 years of my life there.  The last four have been spent in Missouri…not that much better.  I am itching to get away to a place where people’s minds and hearts are open.  I am tired of people who judge and people who hold tight to tradition.  Anywhere but there…but here…please God.

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