What if you had to leave behind the thing you were most afraid of losing in order to get what you really want?
Of course, this can’t always be the answer, but just consider it for a minute. If you were sure your deepest desire would be met, would you give up the one thing you are most afraid to lose? Would you let go of your job, your house, your city, your spouse, your picture of the “perfect life” you always dreamed of?
When I first quit my job to “chase my dreams,” my biggest fear was that I would never get married.
I’m embarrassed to even admit it now, because it seems so stupid. My line of reasoning didn’t even make sense. But at the time, it seemed perfectly clear: No guy would take me seriously if I gave up my full-time job, my furniture and my put-together life.
No responsible, grown adult would do such a thing.
Still, I felt pressed to move in this direction, and sensed a quiet assurance it was going to be okay. I didn’t really have great faith about it, honestly, but I had exhausted all of my other options, so I figured this couldn’t hurt. And as I stepped out, I bargained with God:
“Okay, I’ll do it. But please don’t make me be alone forever.”
I spent the next six months traveling around the country, wrestling with doubts and fears and wondering if God was going to fall through on our little deal.
Months after I returned home and the reality of life had sunk in, and I had mostly talked myself out of wanting a husband, I was sitting on a friend’s living room floor and decided to send an e-mail. I had been blogging, and trying to “grow my platform” for months so I could write my book, and had been told, over and over again, that the best thing I could do was to guest post for other bloggers.
So this was an e-mail I had been putting off for some time.
I wasn’t sure this blogger would even like the post I had written, and wasn’t positive it would actually add any value to his readers, but I took a few deep breaths, and sent it anyway. I saw this as a step in the right direction, thinking about all the people who might read it if this blogger decided to share it with his readers — agents, publishers or other, bigger authors who might be impressed with my work.
A few days later, I heard back from the blogger, saying he was going to use my post. I did a happy, embarrassing dance in my living room.
But instead of an agent, or a publisher reading what I had written, someone else did.
My husband. He wasn’t my husband at the time, of course. In fact, I didn’t even know him. But from hundreds of miles away, he read my story about quitting my job, selling everything I owned and traveling to all 50 states. He thought to himself: I have to meet that girl.
The rest is history.
I don’t think my story is prescriptive.
By that I mean, I don’t think getting what we want in life is a formula — all we have to do is just give something up, and we’re guaranteed to get something better. I don’t think God works like that. But I do find it laughable, in retrospect, that I was so scared my road trip would be what prevented me from finding a husband, when it was the very thing that made my husband take notice.
And I think sometimes this is what happens when we’re willing to hold the things with open hands — especially the things that are most precious to us.
Sometimes we lose things, sometimes we go without, sometimes we grieve and sometimes we’re lonely.
But often we receive more than we dreamed possible.
What are you most afraid to lose?