I feel sort of like that commercial for frosted mini wheats. You know, the one where the "grown up" in me likes the fiber but the "kid in me" likes the sugar rush. In the midst of making life-altering choices, there ends up being a Plan B.
You may think this is entirely reasonable. If A doesn't happen, then B will. In my case, if I don't get funded to go to school, then I will be sitting by a pool in Arizona, writing and sipping margaritas. Not a bad second option.
But I continue to hear the story, in the furthest reaches of my mind, of Moses striking the stone twice for water. If you're not super familiar, we'll start with the fact that Moses is the redeemer of the Israelites who have been bound in slavery to the Egyptians for generations. He is first saved by God through the mercy of a few women (and a quick-thinking sister) and raised in the Pharoah's household. He is called by God to act, and after some really nightmarish plagues, he is finally given leave to exit to the Promised Land. And then he journeys there, help of the Parting of the Red Sea, and manna in the wilderness, and basically half the OT references any of us make today. But when the people are thirsty and need water in the desert, and God tells Moses to strike a rock and water will pour forth, the man strikes the rock twice - you know, like maybe it won't work the first time, or maybe once for good measure. And the account goes something like this: God says: Moses, because you didn't trust me enough to do what I asked, you're gonna die before the people make it to their destination.
Now to a rational mind, and with some understanding of the human condition, one's response might be "what now?" Moses survived death (more than once), answered the call, said yes to leaving a PALACE to go tromping through the DESERT with thousands of tired, and often whiny, people who he knew only as former slaves. He is the guy that GOD HIMSELF handed the 10 commandments to. And he is punished for not having enough faith.
First of all, I have to say that I am so grateful to believe in a merciful, New Covenant Trinity. But beyond that I keep struggling to know - is having a Plan B like striking the rock twice? Or is it just Being Responsible?
Recently I've spent time with some folks I haven't seen or talked to in a long while. So when they ask what's new, I want to tell them. But the probelm is that it sort of sounds ridiculous. Well, I start, we're probably moving to Ohio. Or Arizona. (quizzical expressions ensue.) Well, it sort of depends on what God wants for us. (um, because he texts me most afternoons?) I mean, we're trying to figure it out, we just know we are leaving home. (nods, good for yous, supportive confusion.)
I want to say: I am leaving in August to pursue a PhD at the University of Dayton in Theology. We will be there for three years and then I will write the dissertation next to a pool in Arizona for two years, followed by great work, diamond starbursts and marble halls, and married bliss.
Being honest sounds something more like this: I want to pursue the PhD because I think it's the best way for my voice, and the passion filling my heart, to be shared with anyone who is open. But because it's a competitive world, and there are only 4 fellowships granted, I am really uncertain of my chances. There are a lot of Doors That Must Open. Our first plan to leave Jersey was to live in Arizona, where it's way cheaper, and I can afford to write without a 50 hour/week job on the side. And so we can do that too. But the most important thing is that I feel called, I hope I find the perfect place to live out that call, and I want to be docile to the Holy Spirit (and docile is a word I mostly choke on, so believe me, this is a big deal). This may mean moving to Ohio or Guam or just staying in NJ because someone offers me a job that is Right and Pays the Mortgage and Taxes. I don't know. But I'll let you know when it happens.
So is this striking the rock doubly? Can I have a Plan B and still be living the call? Still be receptive to the Spirit?
I sort of think yes. I think that perhaps being receptive sometimes means exactly that - having a plan b, c, d... and others that look like this: whatever door opens I would like to have the courage and clarity to walk through it .
So we're discerning. And WAITING. Can you pray for me? Because, more than Plans A, B, or C... I'd really like to be part of the Father's plan for me. Because He made me for a purpose and I can be happy there, where I can give my best gift of self.