In college I lived on the second floor of a slightly slanted house. Faux wooden paneling decorated most of the interior walls and the floor was covered with grey industrial carpet. Even though it wasn't anything glamorous, I loved every creaky floorboard of that rickety house. We named it the "Commune", because it contained us nine students and one "homeless" man who seemed quite at home on the top floor. For two years the Commune housed our pathetic pasta dinners, pots of coffee that always tasted like vinegar, and all our shaky, newborn dreams about what life could be. And it was a greenhouse in our journey to adulthood, "the last homely house along the way".
Because in those days we were afraid to make decisions. For the first time, my life was being shaped and guided by decisions I made there in that dirty college house. I hated making them, I hated the idea I might make the wrong decision. And yet they faced me at every turn:
Should I date this guy?
Should I take this class?
Where should I spend my summer?
What should I major in?
The list was mundane and ever-growing. In those years, we learned the painful art of being adults who made decisions and lived with them.
But I still remember the agonizing process of trying to make those first few decisions. On warm days, when the second floor of the Commune became a pressure cooker, I'd venture out onto our slanted porch. There on the dusty, discarded futon I'd bring my Bible, a pen, journal, and all my timid dreams.
Most of the time God was frustratingly silent on the topics I would bring to him. It was like he didn't really have a personal preference on whether or not I took creative non-fiction or Journalism and Humanitarianism: Exploring the Space Between.
I'd drink my vinegary coffee and flip through my Bible, hoping to land on a page with a verse that gave me an inkling of what I was meant to do.
Looking back now, I see those decision-making rituals as stall tactics, ways I tried to draw out the process because I was afraid of making a decision I couldn't live with.
I didn't have faith to step out, make a decision, and trust God to guide and lead the rest. And I wasn't secure enough in my relationship with God to trust he was giving me freedom to choose things (as long as they weren't sin!)
I didn't have faith to step out, make a decision, and trust God to guide and lead the rest.
Since my days in the Commune I've become less afraid of making decisions. I've learned God isn't capriciously sitting in heaven, waiting for us to pick from a row of closed doors and smiting us when we choose the "wrong" one. I've learned when it feels like there are multiple options to choose from, it's usually the case.
I've learned when God doesn't want you to jump into something, he not only tells you, but he makes it pretty clear by closing the way. He isn't trying to trick you or test you. And he promises to stand by you, no matter what valley you travel through or what decision you have to uncomfortably live through.
"I'd rather err on the side of grace, than of judgement," is something my husband sometimes says when we're presented with moral scenarios we don't know the answer to. I think the same logic can be applied to making decisions in life.
Yes, when we try we sometimes fail. We'll realize how we could've done things better. But moving people are doing people. And we want to be doers of the Word and of life, not just static listeners.
But moving people are doing people. And we want to be doers of the Word and of life, not just static listeners.
We want to be walkers who talk-- who talk to their Heavenly Father and let him in on the process, and who are brave enough to jump into his open, sovereign, loving arms.
He's our "Commune". Our safe place, our context for living out the Gospel. He wants to house your heart while you make decisions with fawn-like trepidation. And the best part is we never have to leave.