Can we talk about our stories for a second?

Each of us has the opportunity to design our story – to choose our course. But often times I think we’re stifling our stories by waiting for a “go ahead” from God before we do anything.

I can’t tell you how many times I have found myself and my friends sidelined because things aren’t going the way we planned and we want to be in God’s will, but don’t know what steps we’re supposed to take to get there. So we don’t move and just hope something will make the path to [insert destination here:______ (dreams, success, a deeper relationship with God, etc.)] clear and irresistible.

We sit waiting, praying and begging God to speak to us. We long for an “aha!” moment where suddenly a voice like thunder shakes the walls, our eyes open wide, our mouths drops open, and we see a light in the distance illuminating the words, “This is the moment you’ve been waiting for! Nothing will go wrong. Go for it!”

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe that God wants to be in constant dialogue with us, and that there are times when He speaks and directs us in unmistakable ways. But most of the time, these moments of miraculous clarity with illuminated signs don’t happen. Maybe – just maybe – God wants a little effort, faith and risk on our part.

Imagine you’re on a backpacking trip with your dad. You have your pack loaded with all the supplies you need for three days in the mountains, and you’re pumped for some good bonding time with your dad off the beaten path. You start hiking and you come to a fork in the trail and stop dead in your tracks. You ask your dad, “Which way should we go?” He responds, “Either trail will be an adventure. Just pick one and we’ll see what happens…” What would you do? Would you stand there saying you didn’t plan on having to make a choice and that you can’t take another step until you know exactly what will happen and exactly where you’ll end up? No! You would choose a path and embrace the adventure!

How many of us are just standing at a fork in the trail waiting for God to tell us exactly what to do? I would venture to say a good chunk of us often find ourselves in this place. But God is not a dictator. If He wanted to control your life, He would. But instead He has given us the amazing gifts of free will, an elaborate brain to think and generate ideas, a heart to love and feel compassion, dreams to drive us, and abilities to make the world around us a better place – and He wants to see what you will do with them.

You won’t learn anything by watching scenarios play out in your head. You’ll learn by getting out there, saying “yes” to opportunities, making mistakes, and bonding with God through the process. Perhaps God wants you to pick a direction and start moving in it. He’s already promised that He’ll never leave or forsake you, so you know you won’t be alone.

The worst thing that could happen is that you fail. Then you get up, brush yourself off, take inventory of what you learned in the process, know not to make the same mistake again, and have a really great story to tell. Then you pick another direction and embrace the adventure ahead.

It’s your story. Do you want to be standing at a fork in the trail or do you want to be traversing the rugged, risky, uncertain terrain of life? It’s your choice.

Do you want my advice? Get out there and go for it!