December 18, 2013
I’ve never been particularly good with directions. You can ask anyone who has ever rode anywhere with me..I’m bound to get lost at least once or twice along the way, even if I’ve driven there a million times. Though, I don’t like to call it “getting lost”. I’ve always called it “going on an adventure” instead, which is where one of my favorite phrases comes in.
“When you come to a fork in the road…take it.”
There’s few worse feelings than driving down I-285, approaching I-75 N and S in the middle of rush hour, and not knowing which one to take. I experienced this first hand two nights ago when I was driving a friend home from the airport. My GPS told me that I was to take I-75S next, so I positioned myself in that lane and with about 500 feet left, it told me to take North instead. Which is a pretty short distance to change lanes at 5:00pm (If you’re thinking “Jenna, you should know you’re going North”..refer back to the intro where I explain I’m a terrible navigator).
I hate that feeling. That feeling of panic, not knowing which side of the fork to be on, waiting for my GPS to tell me the next step. Knowing that choosing the wrong path would lead me to the wrong side of Atlanta and take me God knows how long to recover from in rush hour traffic. And then getting to the fork and having to commit to one or the other, before my GPS gets the chance to tell me.
That’s the exact feeling I’ve been facing the past three weeks.
As I’ve written in the past couple of months, I’ve been praying about, talking about, applying to and interviewing for the World Race all semester long. I’ve been pretty confident that it was my next step with only a few reasons to question that path. But after my initial interview, a lot of doubts were raised in my mind. I couldn’t shake the doubts as I waited for three weeks to hear back from them. After becoming convinced that the World Race was not in the cards for me, I applied on a whim to work at a camp in Texas for the summer. I didn’t know what my plans next year would be and figured a summer job couldn’t hurt. Though I had missed the deadline by a long shot, I managed to get a Skype interview with them. Things moved pretty quickly from there. Filled out the application, did the interview, got in my references. About a week later, I got a call from them asking for a recording of me singing and playing piano. I wasn’t sure what that had to do with the photography position I had in mind, but I sent them some videos anyways.
At this point, I’m barreling down I-95, Texas bound.
But what’s a good adventure if there’s not a fork to take?
Last Wednesday, about an hour after turning in my final projects and papers, I lay in bed for the first time in 3 days, ecstatic about finally getting some sleep when my phone rings. It’s the Camp Director from Pine Cove Outback..the camp in Columbus, not the camp I applied to in Tyler. He offered me a position leading worship and lifeguarding in Columbus. Taken aback at the unexpected camp location and position, I asked for a day to consider. “Sure..try to call me back by tomorrow morning if you can.” Frustrated that I didn’t get the offer I was going for and exhausted from the stress of finals, I closed my eyes again.
The phone rings. It’s World Race, calling to request a second interview. I let it go to voicemail, figuring I was too tired to face another major life decision without getting at least a few hours of sleep.
I hate to admit, but I ignored phone calls from both Pine Cove and World Race for the remainder of the week. There were so many factors going into my decision to do one or the other and I didn’t want to close the doors to either one. I actually ended up giving them both a halfhearted “yes” while I sought direction. All weekend I felt pulled to answer the call to both places and filtered the decision through all my favorite life mottos.
Do what makes for the better story.
When you don’t know what to do, do something.
Don’t let fear decide your fate.
Come Monday, I knew I had a choice to make. I called World Race and did their second interview. The nice girl on the line apologized many times for taking so long to get back to me and kept explaining that they were “slammed” with applicants and were doing their best to get them processed. She kept telling me that they were really busy trying to get everyone interviewed. After another slightly disheartening interview, she told me she would be calling me back tomorrow with an answer.
I called Pat from Pine Cove to give him an honest update of where I was. The conversation was very different with him. He understood the predicament and just let me know that after going through my application and interview, they felt like I was a great fit for the position at Outback. He explained the need for a female worship leader there and my unique ability to fill it. “The door is wide open for you here.” But he needed my 100% answer right then.
I’d reached the fork.
I honestly think that I could have chosen either road and it would have been a wonderful adventure full of learning and growth and blessing. The only defining direction I could sense was that one path needed me and one didn’t seem to so much. So I said yes to Pine Cove. And when World Race called me back 10 minutes later, finally offering me a position, I said no.
The hardest part of making a decision or commitment is often not saying yes, but saying no to the other options. I have a fear of commitment for this reason, and so it was hard for me to say no to the World Race, knowing that I’ll always wonder what I said “no” to. Knowing that I’ll never know what I missed out on down that road. But I know that the road I said “yes” to holds an adventure that I don’t want to miss. One that will hold people and lessons and growth along the way. A road that will lead to other roads.
I wrote a blog a few months ago about trusting God’s path when He closes doors. Though that can be tough, sometimes it can be even tougher when He leaves them both open. Sometimes we simply have to choose for ourselves. It’s easy to put off these decisions out of fear of making the wrong ones. But at some point, we have to go one way or the other.
My challenge to you when you come to a fork in the road is this: take it. Take it, one way or the other, and don’t look back wondering what you missed. Make a choice and look forward to what’s ahead. Do so wholeheartedly or not at all. Keep your eyes open to how you can glorify God and bless others on the path before you. If the other road was meant for you, you’ll find your way back to it, after taking an adventure along the way.
If I’m meant to go on World Race, it will be there down the road. Until then, my next stop is Columbus, Texas.