Have you ever felt that your life is like a good mystery story? That you're missing a few vital clues to solve the riddles of your life? I’ve been finding myself a little baffled lately. It seems that I have more questions than answers. More puzzles than pieces that fit together. And I wish I had the help of a great detective to clue me in.
A few weeks ago I went to see “My Dear Watson,” a high school musical production that my niece and nephew’s school was staging. It was their first time to see a live theatre production and my sister invited me to go along.
Performed in a historic 1930s theatre at Orlando's Rollins College campus, the setting couldn’t have been more perfect. My 10-year-old nephew sat on the edge of his seat captivated by the set changes, gunshots, a sword fight, and a corpse, of course.
As I watched the actors sort through clues to solve their case, I felt as if I were right there with them, trying to solve the mystery story my life resembles these days.
Usually my life story feels like ordinary non-fiction. Some days it has its comedic chapters. And on the rarest of occasions, it has moments of being a thriller. But right now my life with God in the midst of it, feels more like a mystery and impossible for me to understand.
I feel like God is stirring something up in my life. He's doing something mysterious with my heart. I can’t possibly explain it because I'm clueless. But he’s gently wooing me. Shifting my priorities. Beckoning me to spend more time with him just to be in his presence, not for what he can give me or do for me.
I'm beginning to think that what I thought I wanted to do, wanted to be, wanted to give and wanted to get out of my life might not be at all what I thought.
So I’m still searching for clues.
I’m wondering if I’m really doing what God has designed for me. I like my life. I like my job. I like being single for plenty of time to write and create, but is there a dream I need courage to still reach for?
I’m wondering how God will work all things for good for me in my life. How can I move through disappointments and failures to get to the places of promise I believe God still has for me? How can I view them as valuable pieces of my life story, no matter how worthless I think they are?
I’m wondering how I can clear out of my life what hinders and holds me back. When will I unlock the secret to having my words and reactions come from a heart of love instead of irritation and impatience? How can I discard my natural inclination that leans toward self-consciousness?
To further investigate some of these mysteries, I conducted an experiment after a few recent dating encounters have gone awry. I've wondered if my hair is too styled, my makeup too bright, my heels too high. Maybe I look too fussy.
So I try out a new look on a trip to the grocery store. I wear casual shorts and a shirt, comb my hair straight, put on a dab of pale peach lip gloss and pull out the only flat flip-flop shoes I own.
My sister calls me and says she’s on her way to the grocery store too. I warn her that I’m debuting a new personal style. “I’m calling it my rustic look,” I tell her.
As I wheel my cart toward her in the produce section, she stares at me and says, “Seriously? Aren’t you going to put on some lipstick?”
I tell her I am wearing lip gloss. It’s just so pale she can’t see it.
She rolls her eyes. “There’s one of our neighbors right there.” She waves toward the cucumbers. “And she already knows you’re my sister. Are you really going to look like that?”
I tell her I want to try out this new look until evidence proves it's not successful. But I have to wonder if I’m investigating the wrong kind of evidence. Instead of trying to unearth every clue to change myself to meet preconceived expectations, maybe some mysteries are just beyond my understanding.
Earlier this year when I felt as if I were wading into the unknown, God reminded me of this verse. Inviting me to catch a glimpse of what he was doing.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Is. 43:18-19
It’s a mystery to me how God creates in each of us our own unique passions and preferences. But when I accept and appreciate all that makes me who I am, then I am the best version of myself to offer to others. Single for now or single for good, this life story is the best life story for me.
It’s a mystery to me how God whispers to my heart. I don’t understand how he speaks so personally and individually to me, but he does. He never stops pursuing me.
It’s a mystery to me how, just when all hope seems gone, God is still there waiting for me. Just when I think something seems impossible, God does much more than I could ever think. Showing me that he’s been there all along, beckoning me to know him deeper, richer, fuller.
After the play, I asked my niece and nephew for the verdict -- what did they think about it? My nephew said he might like to be on stage someday. He said he wouldn't mind being a stage hand to carry props on and off the set, too.
They have their whole lives in front of them to be wonderstruck at the mysteries of God at work in them. But I’m still picking up clues for my story along the pathways of my life's journey.
My story matters. Your story matters. No matter how mysterious and unfathomable it is.
And when I can't explain or understand the mysteries of my life, I can trust and wait and hope, with faith and gratefulness.
For those are the things that unlock the mysteries of God.