Do you ever think about how every little aspect and detail of your life hinges on one decision? My friend and I were talking today about her ancestors. Turns out some of her ancestors were some of the first European Americans. Can you imagine if they had made a different decision? If they weren’t able to travel to the new colonies? My friend wouldn’t exist!
I was musing with a different friend a few months ago about what my life would be like if I had stayed in Ohio after graduating from college rather than moving to the Dominican Republic. I did briefly consider it, after all. She said, “That’s not the you that you were supposed to be.” Wow.
Yes, my life would be ENTIRELY different if I had stayed in Ohio and never moved to the Dominican Republic. I wouldn’t have my dogs. I would have a car. I would have met my two month old niece by now. I would have been there for weddings and celebrations that I have missed. I might be married. I would be scared to death for my students’ lives every day and trying to convince the powers that be that I don’t actually want a gun in my classroom.
BUT, not only would the aspects of my life be different, my very being and self would be different. I am a conglomerate of every experience and relationship I have lived. Just pick one aspect of your life over the past five years and think about the ripple effect and how it has affected you. It’s astounding.
Almost three years ago my principal found a puppy in a box on our school’s property. Getting a puppy, especially a Fred puppy, has shaped and informed my character. Raising a Fred puppy revealed to me ugly things about myself that I set about to change. He has taught me patience and self sacrifice. Because of Fred I was more determined to move to a city where I could afford a house with a yard. Because of Fred I adopted George and through that adoption met a wonderful friend who I just had dinner with last night. Having dogs has informed the past two houses I’ve lived in, informed the financial decisions I make, and impacted travel plans. I am more passionate about animal adoption and animal rights because of my dogs. I gave up fried chicken for Pete’s sake! (Mostly gave up fried chicken, that is, with the #7 at Wendy’s being an exception. I’m okay with a chicken dying for me to have an Asiago Ranch Chicken sandwich. Sorry and thank you, chicken. I am a work in progress.)
My point is that if Lynn hadn’t found little malnourished big-headed baby Fred, how different would not only my LIFE be, but my very self?
This kind of realization – of the butterfly effect, I suppose – makes me that much more grateful to have surrendered my entire life and my entire self to a Being that is greater and higher and holier and smarter and more informed than I am. Being able to TRUST that, firstly, no matter what happens, God is at work moving me forward toward my sanctification, and secondly, that when I feel the pull of the Holy Spirit, I can trust it, is a GAME CHANGER, friends.
I tell my students that if they want to have their very best life, all they have to do is obey God. And it’s true for me and all of us. In order to live my very best life, butterfly effects and all, all I have to do is obey God. Do what He has asked of all of us (Love God, Love People), and do what He is asking of me specifically. It’s as simple and difficult as that.