Last night as I did my daughter’s hair, she said “Mommy. Today you called me a wildling. What did you mean?”
I smiled, as I brushed out the knots that seem to form 300 times a day from her constant activity, relentless creative endeavors, and attempts to best her brothers (all 4 of them) at just about everything.
“Honey,” I said, “it means you’re like me.”
And what I meant was this: for a long time it felt like I just didn’t really truly fit in everywhere.
I wasn’t particularly concerned with what others thought, and was never into the comparison game, and yet, my pursuit to be the best I possibly could was never ending (I see this in her in different ways).
I never felt like the women I looked up too, but, I still cared for them and wanted to learn every lesson I possibly could from them.
I didn’t need a large group of friends, but, I cared super deeply for those who ended up close to me, and always wanted to help the world as a whole.
I never quite felt like I fit… anywhere.
And in some ways, that’s still true.
God has taken us to a few places – and almost taken us others. And in each location, whether I wanted to be there forever or not, I could feel at home. The feeling of home – to me – comes from feeling comfortable… which means to me, “home” means 10 different places, just off the top of my head.
I’m constantly wondering what’s next. Asking God where he’d have us be (right now, the answer is “sit child. I have you where you are supposed to be. Live where your feet are planted!” whether I want it to be that or not).
And yet, I’m always looking at what adventure could be next. The Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, their rolling beauty and unexpected vistas, they’re where things make sense to me, and where I’m able to sort out the harder things in life with just God and nature.
And yet, that majesty of the beach, the ocean, the waves of the place my heart first felt home, Ocean City, New Jersey, calm my restlessness, allowing me to just be.
I’m a walking contradiction. Knowing I’m where I’m meant to be, and trying to listen for God’s call while I’m here, but constantly wondering what might be next, dreaming big dreams, and asking him to sort out which dreams are of my own fruition, and which he has placed inside my heart.
I see the same in my daughter, who will one day tell me she’s never leaving home, and the next wear a Pirates shirt to annoy her father while she announces to us that she “CANNOT WAIT” to get out of our house.
So, understanding a little bit about how she’s wired, and the weariness it can produce right alongside the excitement and adventure, and how “different” that sometimes looks to the world around us, I prayed in silence that God would direct her path: the same prayer I pray for myself every day. That he would help her embrace her wildness and find contentedness, no matter what journey he places her on, in him alone… no matter how prone she might be to wandering (as we all can be).
It’s How I Start Each Day
I’m not praying it over her in the hopes that God calms her wildness: I believe it’s a gift. I believe it could allow her to live with full abandon for him and his plans.
I’m praying it because – without him as an anchor – a heart like that can feel unhinged, and the world can feel crazy. It can become super easy to chase whatever we feel, instead of the truth we hold close.
Each day, I wake up and give that day to God. I ask him to direct my path – as he promises he will do for all of us if we give him control. I ask for his peace that passes understanding. And, I ask him to help me follow – not something I’m wired to do naturally – well.
When – during each and every day – I find myself dreaming up what’s next, and wondering which adventure to chase next, or longing for one of the other places he has allowed me to feel at home, I ask him to bring me close to him and to know that he’s got it, so I don’t have to.
The Dreams Don’t Have to Stop
We aren’t called to stop dreaming. We aren’t all called to live quiet lives.
God gives us dreams – and his dreams? They’re the best dreams. They are sometimes small. They’re sometimes big. They’re sometimes meant to pull us from our comfort zones. Sometimes they don’t make sense at all. But, when we’re already prone to big dreams, making sure his are the ones we chase is a constant endeavor.
It’s worth it. If we spend our lives acknowledging the wildness God has given us, not worrying about conforming to those around us but worrying about conforming to a better follower of Jesus, the pay off – whether it matches the mountains and adventures of our dreams or not – will be more than we can imagine – even if it’s on the other side of heaven.
What a Ride!
There’s a Hunter S. Thompson quote that has always – since high school – resonated with me:
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
It’s resonated with me because that’s the kind of recklessness I want. I want to look back on my life knowing I followed him, whether the adventure felt too big or too small, and knowing that it was exactly what I was put here to do.
I want to know I didn’t let my own fears, the opinions of others, or what society deems “normal” to stand between whatever it is God has put in my path.
I want the same for my daughter.
I want her to know it’s okay to be who she was created to be. I want her to dream big. I want her to embrace the unique qualities God has given her… and I pray with my whole heart that she uses that wildness to chase God first and fully. In that she – and you and I – can find contentedness and wholeness.
Is there anything better?
Can we live lives of full abandon and full contentedness in living out the calling God has put on our hearts? Can we reconcile our big dreams with the big dreams he has placed in our hearts? Can we chase him first?