I have no idea what I’m doing with my life. Ever since graduating from college in 2009, I’ve gone about some routine, hoping/thinking/praying I’m doing what I’m “supposed” to be doing. Whether it’s the “right” thing. Or if I’m in the “right” place.
I think I belong in California right now. Pretty sure, actually.
I’ve long prayed about it, been affirmed through certain circumstances and precious people. Emotional insecurity and natural car disasters now distantly safe in the rear view mirror of October, I’m growing increasingly confident God has me here and now for a definite reason.
But what about a definite season? Does southern California represent a mere drop in my life-bucket, or am I here for the long-haul?
Therein lies the main hardship of living here. Not limited work or strained finances — although those things are indeed difficult — but my unknown future. Whether I’ll even still be living here 365 days from now.
Whether my loose definition of “home” will soon change.
I recently wrote about Korea and the hold that little country has suddenly taken on me. As I’ve thought/prayed about such a mammoth move, I’ve actually received several promptings — starting with, but certainly not limited to this recently opened fortune cookie:
I mean, really??
Not: You will soon encounter a dear friend for the first time.
Not: You will receive a bountiful offer.
But instead: You will enjoy a trip to Asia.
Throughout Scripture, God spoke through bumbling murderers and lowly donkeys. And while I certainly don’t doubt His ability to speak through prophetic Americanized Chinese food, there have been other promptings.
One member of my church’s life group is Korean, speaks the language and has visited there many times, and another person studied abroad there for a summer. We basically talked about Korea until midnight after our last Bible study “ended.”
Teaching English in Korea next fall has its attractions — certainly the financial draw. Being able to save up to five figures in a single year strongly appeals to my poor destitute writer self. I could return to America after one year (or heck, really strike it big after two) and basically do whatever I wanted, wherever I wanted.
But beyond the shallow lure of money is the exciting experience of immersing myself in a completely foreign culture. The way California infused my soul with inspiration after 23 long, stale years on the east coast would likely be trumped by a year spent even further west than here.
Korea would undoubtedly overflow both my savings account and my inspirational tank.
But what of the one significant boulder blocking the path of this decision? My biggest fear in life?
What of isolation?
As an introvert, I need my alone time. As an introverted writer, I need my alone time. Every Sunday, I drive to Panera, and for six hours I drink coffee, jam out to music, and read/write a storm. Panera Sunday is my favorite part of the week.
But you know how I close my Sundays? I drive one mile further down the road, and I go to my incredible church. For the next couple hours, I not only meet with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, but I also worship with them.
Since returning to California last month, I find myself talking and connecting with people there I don’t even know. Every week. Even invited one new guy to my life group, and now he’s a regular attender.
This never happens. This isn’t me. I’ve always been the scared introverted guy who doesn’t talk to strangers. Certainly not at church.
I basically have a life-changing interaction every week.
It’s been awesome.
As that introverted writer, I certainly need Panera Sunday in my life. But I need that vital component all introverts and extroverts alike need: connection with others. Sundays are special, because they essentially represent my ideal life: ample alone time supplemented with ample connection time.
I wish it were Sunday everyday.
I don’t want to rule out any potential for positive uplifting relationships in Korea. But admittedly, it would be difficult. Who would these people be? Where would I find them? Are they even real?
I would certainly have bountiful alone time in my provided/furnished apartment, but how long would it take before the language, the people, the culture choked me into insanity?
And what of the progress I’ve made in southern California these last two years? Can I simply abandon it now?
Why do I want to leave so badly if I legitimately enjoy my life here? What’s pulling me away? Why am I such a wanderer?
More than anything, I desperately desire to be where the Lord would have me. Whether it’s southern California or southern Korea or southern Antarctica, I’m there. I’m so there.
He’s the author of this story. This life. Not me. Not ever.
And so the question of a cud I’ll be chewing the next couple months: am I truly called to journey to Korea next year, or am I indeed meant to practice staying put in southern California for a while?
Does Korea represent a dramatic leap of faith, or does it represent an easy excuse to run away?
Is Traveling Golden Trout destined to travel onward not only next year, but also for years and years afterward, or will his destiny somehow run contrary to his name?
Such a tough call.
Needless to say, I’d appreciate your prayers these next couple months.
Have you ever experienced a difficult decision to stay/go somewhere? How do you discern the difference between embracing change and running away from something?