I don’t quite know when this gypsy soul of mine started wandering. I remember being fifteen, seeing the famed Haight Street in San Francisco, and declaring I wanted to live in a VW van in California. As a teenager, I was constantly seeking, asking questions about God. Wanting at times to know Him, then wrestling with surrendering to a being I could not see. And I thought being religious meant putting on a label that didn’t seem to fit; stuffing yourself into a jacket that’s bulging at the seams.
I was wrong about a lot of things for a little while. I wanted freedom, and ran from it. I wanted love and ran from Him.
But all of that running left me breathless. And then I fell into the arms of my Father and finally started to rest. But I still wrestled with settledness. There was constantly a bitter tone when I talked about adulting in the city I grew up in. There was a part of me that just never wanted to settle down, establish roots, really invest in community. Maybe because it requires vulnerability. Maybe because it means intentionally living in a different way than I have ever known.
Regardless, I ran in step with Jesus. And He knew the ache in my chest when I thought of settling down, and He knew my desire for adventure and wandering and seeking new experiences. And God listens to the cries of our hearts. He knows our questions, He knows our doubts, He knows our fears, and He listens.
Here’s the incredible thing: He also knows what we need.
So right after I graduated from college, He led me to the Dominican Republic. And there was a part of me that knew: this is my place to wrestle. I had a feeling that whatever I needed to work out with God would be worked out here. For whatever reason, at this place, at this time.
And this experience has both wrecked me and put me back together again. I don’t quite know how, or when, these broken pieces that needed mending were put in place, but Jesus does. Because He is the orchestrator of all things beautiful and broken.
I am leaving this season with more peace and joy than I have ever felt in my adult life. Instead of dreading the future, I am hopeful. And a miracle: I crave settledness. My heart knows that it’s ready. My mind is ready to rest. And I’m ready to curl up with a book in my bedroom at my parent’s house, and feel okay about it. I’m ready to embark on a career path that I would never have chosen for myself, because God is good and He knows exactly what we need before we acknowledge it ourselves. I’m ready to invest in community, be intentional about coffee dates, and give people my time that are worth knowing. I’m ready to settle, and stay put.
I know that my desire for adventure will never change. I still want to travel, to expand my world view, to change my perspective. But I’ve learned that my wandering had nothing to do with geographical location, it had everything to do with surrender. There’s a stillness that I’ve never known making it’s way into my life. A slower, steadier rhythm.
It’s grace. It’s mercy. It’s joy. It’s peace.
But most of all, it’s trust. That my Father’s plan is enough. That living my own life is enough, without craving anyone else’s. That it really will all be okay.
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above
“Come Thou Fount”