To Bama and Back: A Wandering Wednesday by Mitchell Yaksh

The summer rolls on and I’m continually in awe of yall’s wandering stories. So awesome. Up today for my summer guest-series is probably my most faithful reader and commenter. He goes by Mitchell Yaksh, and I hope I’m not the only one who can’t pronounce his last name. Oh well, nobody can successfully pronounce mine either. You can follow Mitchell on Twitter @MLYaksh.

Wanna guest-post on my blog before the summer ends? Check out this post and shoot me an email! Would love to feature you soon.

Wandering Wednesday: Guest Post Edition

Back in 2006, I lacked something very important as a new 17 year old driver. I had a car, a license, places to go, friends to take, and money to spend- however, I had no sense of direction.

Oh, I played it off for awhile- nothing worse than a guy who’s bad at directions, right? (Feel free to correct me.) One day, though, it caught up with me.

On that fateful day, I was driving some friends home from a birthday party. Now, there are a lot of picky details to this story- so to save time I’ll sum it up this way: I drove from Atlanta to the Alabama state line when my destination was about ten miles east of Atlanta. Look it up on Google maps- that’s 60 miles in the WRONG direction. I had to finally admit it publically- I did not possess the ability to find my way out of a paper bag.

Yet in my personal life, I am only beginning to grasp my directional inabilities. I truthfully don’t know where to go in life. I think I do. I tell people I do. I even act on my great “abilities” and plan out my life. Just like before though, I have found myself about 60 miles in the wrong direction.

Let me explain- as an absurdly control freakish 11 year old, I decided I was going to be a professional musician. I had been playing flute for a year and loved it. I declared this to my mom who took it as serious as my claim to one day be 6 feet tall (I’m still holding out for that, fyi.) But I was determined. I studied flute, theory, history, piano, composition, singing- anything to do with music- for the next 11 years. And I made it! I just graduated in Winter 2011 from UGA with my Master of Music in Flute Performance. So I’m a professional musician right?

Oh, look- Alabama!

My current job is as an unpaid intern at my church in Athens, GA. I only play in the Sunday morning worship band twice a month. I spend the majority of my time as the student pastor’s assistant.  And I recently turned down my dream job as a college professor.

You see, God kinda changed my whole direction in life back in April of last year. He called me to give up the music world and enter the ministry world. I was adamant against it- I hadn’t planned for ministry! But God’s Will won out (surprise) and I began preparing to turn around. I still wasn’t sure I was completely wrong in my plan, though, so I kept up with my professional musician career on the side. That didn’t last long. More and more, God drew me away from that, away from my former plan.

Why?

It’s the wrong direction.

God hasn’t exactly laid out all His reasons to me yet. I’ve filed my request for said list of reasons, but I don’t know if He’s gotten to it yet. What I do know, though, is that I am headed towards Him now. I’m leaving behind my plans and presumptions. I’m giving up the professional career I spent so long working for which was, honestly, just for myself.

I’m surrendering.

I’m choosing Jesus over myself. I think of what John the Baptist said- “He must increase and I must decrease.” I’m slowly grasping what that means- to decrease so God can increase. I no longer keep my resume updated or search for the best references. I’m not auditioning for every orchestra that has a spot open or spending hours preparing for that next concert. My life is morphing into something I hadn’t expected- a life lived in pursuit of Jesus Christ.

So did I waste 11 years of my life going the wrong direction? I don’t think so. God used my time in the music world for His purpose. I am who I am today because of what God did in my life during those years. I’ve had the chance to impact people for God and I honestly would never have to come to Athens if it hadn’t been for my studies in music. I heard a wise man once say: “Nothing is wasted in God’s economy.” No part of my life has been wasted.

Totally unlike my Alabama trip- definitely wasted half a tank of gas that day. Thankfully that was when gas was still $1.50 per gallon. *tear*