So it’s that time of year when I am forced to think about what I’m going to do next. The internship with CAP will finish in the middle of August. In two and half months, one way or another, we will no longer be interns. “What are you doing next?” is a question I seem to be asked several times a day at the moment. It’s a question I’ve been wrestling with over the past fortnight in particular. There have been days when the decision has felt completely overwhelming, when I’ve got caught up in the tide of worry and anxiety. But other days have brought with them a little more clarity.
Many of you who asked me that question four months ago, would have got a much simpler answer. My plan was to move back down South, to Southampton, and to take any job I could get. I wanted to be back with the friends I’ve missed so dearly, to be closer to my family and back in an area that had felt so much like home. Every time the homesickness hit, I would long for my old life, reassuring myself that in a few months time I could go back.
But as the months have gone on I’ve come to question my motivation, the roots of my desire to run home. I’ve realised it can be summed up in five small words ‘I want to go back’. That I’ve been longing to go backwards. That it’s not just about a geographical location, but a desire to go back and pick up the threads of my old life. I want to go back in time, before tragedy struck, to cherish every moment and every friendship. I’ve been wanting to rewind my life and pause it there, never missing anything, never being left behind, just living in that moment.
Yet I’ve come to realise there is no going back. Our lives can only ever move forwards. Friends will move away, relationships will grow or weaken; some people will walk out of our lives and others will walk in. I could go back to Southampton, and maybe I will some day, but it would always be different. My old life is no longer there to pick back up. Nothing in our lives stays the same, things are constantly changing and evolving into something different. The adventure of faith is to keep going forwards, to keep journeying into what God has for you, following Him as he leads you into new opportunities and challenges. I simply cannot close myself off to God’s plan for my life, out of a desire to go backwards.
At the same time I have had the growing sense that Bradford isn’t done with me yet. I have a church here that I care deeply about and a wonderful opportunity to invest in it. I work for a charity that is clearly doing God’s work across this nation and I have been blessed to be able to be a part of it. CAP brings hope to so many, and hope is something I care deeply about and want to see spread. I would love to be able to sow more into this ministry. So I am pushing doors here to see if they open. I have applied for jobs at CAP in Bradford, and will have an interview in the next fortnight that will hopefully let me know if this is an option. At the same time I am looking to see what jobs are around across the country, to see if God is calling me somewhere new.
For a while I struggled with the idea that whatever I end up doing I will let people down. If I don’t return to Southampton, then I know I will not be able to see those friends as often as I would like to. If I leave Bradford then I will have to leave behind my church and all the friends I have made. People may be disappointed by the choices I make. But I know that as much as I love all these people, I cannot make this decision for them. As I was wrestling and agonising over this, I opened my bible on the psalms and read:
“But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands;” Psalm 31:14-15
I was struck by the truth of that verse. I can make all the plans I want, but only God holds my future in his hands, it is His plans that will stand firm. I know I can trust Him, that He has good plans for my life. So whilst I am yet to find clarity and security about the future. One thing I do know: my future is in god’s hands. And that is the safest place for it to be.