As much as I struggle and strive to construct clarity in my life, my plans seem to be continually changing. It’s actually a quirk many of my friends have picked up on and enjoy giving me a hard time about. It seemed that nearly every week last year I would announce with conviction a new career path or a new 5-year strategic vision for my life…. which over the course of the next 7 days would undoubtedly give way to a new epiphany. While I was often frustrated with why I couldn’t stay focused on a single stroke of passion for long enough to turn it into action, I have since been blessed with the grace of recognizing God at work in this process. Over the past year I have come to see how God is continually drawing together these seemingly disparate interests, experiences, and aspects of myself to create a radical wholeness, far beyond what I could envision for myself.
I experienced this drawing together of assorted pieces of my life most profoundly this past summer while serving as a DPF intern. I found ways to express my commitment to social justice in the same breath as my love for the Church and belief in God’s presence at work in the world. I got to combine my love of travel with my passions for deep relationships, vulnerability, the outdoors, and this deeply-rooted conviction that God is up to something in the world and longs for us to join in. God drew together the passions I had been cultivating throughout my life, seemingly independent of one another, to give me a taste of wholeness and purpose.
I am a huge believer in Paulo Coelho’s quote from the Alchemist saying, “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” However, what’s scary for me is the element of passivity through this process, a process of opening and surrender in order for the universe to begin conspiring. The control over every tiny aspect of my life needs to leave my hands and be turned over to God. It’s like throwing my life up into the air and waiting to see where it will land, with an ever present fear that it might all come crashing down on my head before it will gracefully align (if ever). But, it is exactly this throwing of life up into the air that creates space for sacred serendipity, for God’s overwhelming wisdom and creativity to take root.
As I find myself in a space of just having graduated from undergrad, it is all too tempting to put my nose to the grindstone and let my “accomplishment complex” take over to plan out what is next for my life. Yet, I feel God’s spirit stirring in me in ways that cause me to pause and take a little step of faith that maybe I don’t know everything about success, that maybe, just maybe, the universe is already conspiring.
I am grateful and humbled to report that soon I will travel to Israel/Palestine, serving as a Global Ministries short-term volunteer while teaching English through an organization called Project Hope in the small Palestinian town of Nablus. Then, I will return to Colorado and begin working for an education non-profit, creating a leadership program for students who have dropped out of high school. But, if you would have asked me two months ago I would have shaken my head. With life still up in the air, I had no way of predicting the sacred serendipity that would come to manifest itself in my life.
Sacred serendipity. All the universe conspires when you follow the desires of your heart. Just as I didn’t know how my summer as a DPF intern would shape me, I am all the more open to what these new experiences will bring.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I pray that you will have the courage to loosen your death-grip on life, maybe throw a few things into the air, and experience God’s creativity and grace as life falls slowly into place.
As my dear friend Blaine Kuss always says… Peace for the journey. 🙂
(Amy Austin graduated from CU-Boulder in December with a BA in Anthropology. She will work for Colorado Youth for a Change in Denver when she returns from her trip to the Holy Lands)