This morning I was thinking about that time when I was walking home from Las Palmas and God said, “If you want to move to Jarabacoa, then do it! We don’t need no man.” (God can be very sassy). And how it was almost 2 full school years after God gave me permission to move to Jarabacoa that I actually moved to Jarabacoa. I was thinking about God’s timing and how it is perfect and how when we’re in sync with God and when we’ve practiced listening to His Spirit we tend to just know when the time is right.
The time wasn’t right in September of 2014 for me to move to Jarabacoa, but that was the exact right time for me to hear, “We don’t need no man,” from my Father God.
I was thinking this morning about all the things I would’ve missed out on if I had jumped the gun and moved at the end of that school year rather than sticking around for another like I knew I was supposed to.
I didn’t even get into how an advanced timeline would’ve jacked up my time here in Jarabacoa. I would’ve had to have lived here for a whole year without Amanda. I probably wouldn’t have been at the hostel at all. Wow. Too much to think about along that rabbit trail.
My last year at Las Palmas was so, so wonderful. It was my first time living a calendar year without moving. I lived by myself for that entire last year and I loved it. I started to learn about all the ways that I am the boss of my life and how that usually means turning things over to God but it also means making decisions about what I want my life to look like, what I believe God created my life to look like. I was able to spend a lot of time thinking through things, processing through things, figuring out why I believe or feel or think what I do. And that time was invaluable.
The students I got to teach my last year at Las Palmas were darlings. Every one. Their parents were amazing and supportive and involved just the right amount. We had so much fun in first grade that year and I loved the privilege of watching those kids learn.
But the thing that really brought me to my spiritual knees (I didn’t really kneel down because I was in my bathroom brushing my teeth when this thought came to me and my sink has been leaking for a few days so the bathroom floor is always wet) was this thought: if I had moved to Jarabacoa in June of 2015, 9 months after God gave me permission to move to Jarabacoa, rather than in June of 2016, a whole year and 9 months after God told me to just do it already, I would’ve missed out on the Ethridges!
Remember when I did move and I wrote this blog post about how sometimes I cry about hypotheticals? This hypothetical made me cry. I could’ve completely missed out on knowing these great people. The Ethridges are a family that moved to San Pedro in August of 2015. They meant a lot to me during my last year in San Pedro and they mean a lot to me now. If I had moved before the Spirit and my gut told me I should, I would’ve missed out on really knowing them.
It is dangerously easy to get stressed out about timing and planning and the future and what could be and what might be and what should be. It can also be dangerous to look back and wonder, what might have happened if… But that’s only dangerous if we look back without the blessed assurance that comes from having the Holy Spirit live in our guts. Because things might’ve been different, and things might have even been easier, but if we are seeking every day the voice of that Spirit, there’s no way things could have been better.
If we fight God or try to speed him up or get married to some loser because we’re tired of being single or quit a job because we’re tired of not being right all the time, we could miss out on some really, really great (and probably super hard) things. It’s easy to always want the next thing, the next step or phase or goal, but one of the most important disciplines we can adopt is the discipline of waiting. Of waiting on God’s perfect timing. Of practicing tuning into the Spirit’s voice so we know when it’s time to jump and when it’s time to sit back.
I am the boss of my own life. I get to decide where I live and where I work and where I go to church and how many grilled cheeses I want to eat today. But I’m not the boss of the universe or the world, glory to God. I don’t have to have it all figured out. I just have to do whatever it is the next right thing for me is. And that’s all you have to do, too! The next right thing. Whether it’s moving or staying or quitting or starting over. Just do the next right thing and then in a couple of years we’ll be able to look back with awe and gratitude at how it all worked out.