08 August 2010

Anxieties and the Truth

Now that the news that I accepted the Peace Corps assignment has had time to get around, I have been approached by a handful of people the last few weeks telling me that I am an "inspiration" to them, citing my willingness to leave my home country and serve others despite my young age.  I have had to grapple with this notion, since it is in such stark contrast to my own perception of events.  I would be far less taken aback had people approached me and intoned that my choice to pursue this purported deviation from a strong career path was only natural in this tough economy, or some such mollification.  Heck, that's what I am often tempted to believe.

But the truth of the situation is slightly more profound.  I believe that God has led me to this point, has seen to every necessary step to put me in a position to set aside my own aspirations for two-and-a-quarter years and serve people I have never met in countries I have never been.  Every step, from watching my fiancée walk out on a future life with me, to being unemployed following school and wallowing through a job search that was drawn out to 18+ months, and even to seeking counseling for a mixture of anxieties that were causing some recurring failures and was, on the whole, debilitating.  God asked of me to suffer these trials simultaneously, all of which amounted to the lowest 7 months of my life.  With no income, I could not even hold on to the comfort or empowerment of being able to provide for myself, and was forced to bring my depression home to my family, the last place I wanted to find myself 8 months after graduating college.

Amidst all this negative sentiment, I was invited to a Peace Corps info session by a very good friend, and although I am often loathe to make spontaneous alterations to my plans, I found the fortitude of spirit to suck it up and go.  (The wise reader may correctly infer this as a nudge from the Holy Spirit, though I did not recognize it at the time.)  I chose to jump through the bureaucratic hoops in order to submit my application, despite already being dropped on my head by the National Security Agency already once.  I wasn't particularly inspired to see myself as a Peace Corps volunteer; frankly I just wanted to see what would happen, if they would even take me.  I had no such luck with a military officership, so I didn't have the highest hopes for this particular government recruiter either.

Even so, God turned a spur-of-the-moment decision, mixed with a lackluster interview, combined with an increased level of placement competition, and added a touch of bureaucratic ambiguity to make something special: a chance for me to drop all of my reasons for relying on my own strength and instead find my way back into His will.  The more I think about it, talk about it, and pray about it, the more I am convinced that this is indeed His will for my life at this moment.  That's an answer to prayer.  This revelation has taken time coming, and it wasn't always apparent – in the seven months I've been in the application process, not once did I feel God speaking to me with the words, "Go here, this is what I want you to do." I just took one step at a time, not even in faith as much as mundane curiosity.  But God was there, at work around me, as we know he always is.  This was just another opportunity for me to learn yet another way that God reveals Himself in my life: as the river between the stepping stones – behind me, going ahead of me, all around me.

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