"That's so great! What's next?" is something that I've heard more times than I can count this past year.
"What are you up to these days?" "I just graduated!"
"That's so great! What's next?" "Well, I'm going to work part-time until I can find a full-time opportunity."
"That's so great! What's next?" "Um...I'll work...and then...I honestly haven't figured much out after that..."
And so on and so forth, you get the picture. You can keep going for a long time.
This past weekend, I was at camp orientation, and a few people who I hadn't seen since last year were asking me what was new. A lot of things are new in my life since then: I have a full-time job and an apartment, which were my goals from last year accomplished.
Obviously, people were happy to hear that I had accomplished my goals. But then comes the inevitable, "Well, what's next?" as in, am I going to grad school or what position would I like to see myself in in the future, and (I'll be very honest here) I just don't know. And furthermore, I'm content with where I am, so there's no need for me to look too far forward right now.
I think that "I don't know" is one of the most powerful statements that you can say as a human being. While I know what I would ideally like, not all of my plans (I'd even venture to say none of my plans) have turned out how I thought that they would, so I'm really hesitant to say what's next. I can tell you what I'd like to happen, but as I know from almost 23 years of life experiences, that is rarely what will happen.
We live in a society in which we are pushed to be in constant forward motion. Always striving for the next thing, always working towards a goal, but I have to say, for the first time in my life, I don't necessarily want to move forward as far as my life plans are concerned. And it feels great.
I continue to grow daily, and to move towards Christ, as everyone should. But this movement towards Him is happening at least partially from staying put and just taking time to be thankful. I don't want to move on to the thing just to do so; I want to find contentment where I am, to see where God is calling me, and to know where I would like my next step to lead before I take it.
God says, "Be still and know that I am God." That is what I'm trying wholeheartedly to do. To look back on past experiences and understand and appreciatemy growth, and be still. To stay where I am and know that He is God, and He tells me to do. In this world, in this day and age, as we all know, it is supremely difficult to be still. Yet that's all I want to be right now.
As a wise friend told me recently, it is only looking back that we can see God's providence. We can't always see it where we are, and we often don't take the time to. And we most definitely cannot see God working if we are constantly looking right past Him to "what's next."
Maria is the Administrative Coordinator of Y2AM. She is a New York native who isn't completely sold on the city's charm, yet has never left. A proud graduate of Fordham University and occasional runner, she is happiest whenever chocolate, a sale, or a good Gilmore Girls reference is involved.