let me begin by saying that i know you mean well.
i know you do. and you are only being honest and trying to be helpful.
something that has always been a pet peeve of mine is unsolicited advice. not all unsolicited advice (some has come in quite handy over the years) but the specific kind of unsolicited advice regarding my life and it’s direction. most specifically unsolicited advice regarding my life and its direction from someone who does not know me. close friends, family and mentors? sure! advise away! because you know me. you know my life and have listened to me. we share together, learn and grow together, and converse.
and again, i know you mean well. oh people who do not know me and want to impart your life-wisdom upon me, you mean to encourage, to promote growth and depth in my life. but you don’t know me. you have not journeyed with me, you know nothing of my calling and vocation–nothing of the work i have done academically, theologically, internally and intentionally with my deep and close community.you do not know my gifts, talents and struggles.
please do not proverbially pat me on the head and say, “well, get back to me in 15 years!” please take this young-unmarried-woman seriously enough to realize that when i say i know something in the deepest part of my heart that i’m not just saying that. yes, i am open to change–and i am not bogged down by the process of getting somewhere so that i “miss the trees for the forest” (most of the time).
yes, i understand that the level of depth and conviction i have for my calling is jarring, potentially disarming and difficult to understand for some. please do not write off my passion as passion-of-youth. you don’t know me.
somehow i have reached an interesting age where those who are younger than i am are now looking to me for life-advice (when did i get old enough to dole out life advice?!) and i am still young-enough myself (i suspect this has a lot to do with being unmarried? or maybe young-marrieds just have to deal with different kinds of life advice?) to seem to need tons of life-advice. i try to do my very best to take people seriously when they share their life passions with me. if you tell me this is your passion–then i want to hear more, to dialogue with you about what that means for you right now and what you see that meaning in the future. what i will not do is say, “oh, you’re young. you’ll change your mind in a few years.” because that’s not fair.
as someone who has been striving towards the same goal since i was seven years old it really rubs me the wrong way when people want to tell me that my passions will change as i get older. i am open to change, to shifts in what i pursue and how i get there but the direction in which i have been heading for over twenty years now has been unwavering.
this does not mean there have not been surprises.
my theology and interaction with the world has changed greatly since age seven.
the joy of uganda in my life was, in some ways, a surprise. (in others not. my father tells a story of my about five-year-old-self telling him that one day i would move to africa. so, yea.)
deciding to move to texas has been a surprise.
but i’m still headed in the same direction.
if nothing else, my passion has heightened. my desire to continue moving toward ordination, building relationships and understanding between uganda (and the great lakes region) and north america, strengthening and morphing what the model of ‘missions’ looks like and how we as christians interact with each other and the world…all of these things remain. no, i do not know how they are all going to fit together and no, i do not have a grand plan for how they will. but i trust in my calling and my god-given passions enough to know that if i do my best to be faithful and discerning that little by little things will become more clear. my life so far has been a testament to that.
so please, do not write my young-unmarried-self off.
i have things to say.