My seven-year-old niece and I spent the day at an antiques market. She headed straight to a booth called the Paris Market, where she tried on a bunch of vintage hats.
She’s loved wearing hats, even from babyhood, but I’ve never been much of a hat-girl.
Except for a short phase when I was a teenager and wore a baseball cap everywhere as proof of my devotion to the Pittsburgh Pirates, which didn't do much for my blossoming femininity. During my college years I wore a red hat that made me feel like a princess since I had seen a photo of Princess Diana wearing something similar.
I still have the red hat. It sits on my dressmaker’s head atop my 1940s suitcase on display in my living room.
Baseball caps and princess hats are fun to try on, but sometimes I think about the hats I wear in my life's roles and relationships.
My responsibilities of being an aunt, sister, daughter, friend.
My professional positions of writer, communicator and colleague.
My spare time pursuits of reader, baker and decorator.
Some of these hats are bigger than I am and wearing them makes me feel kind of small.
God has been reminding me that contrary to what I might think, there isn’t just one wonderful, superb and exceptional way to fulfill all the roles and relationships he’s given me in my life.
Because I want to do things competently and confidently, I end up worrying about what I'm doing right or wrong and focusing too much on myself.
Just this week, once again I read the beautiful story in II Chronicles of King Jehoshaphat gathering the people of Israel for a battle and leading them in prayer.
“Lord, we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (II Chr. 20:12)
When I look beyond myself, I’m discovering that I’m an encourager, listener and supporter. And even though these might not be actual words, I'm also a persever-er, pray-er, hope-er.
I'm trying on a new hat too.
I've always wanted to learn how to cook. I want to cook real meals that could taste delicious, instead of my very limited repertoire of one pasta dish, salads and quiche.
So I've registered for a six-week beginner’s culinary course. It's way outside my comfort zone but I'm excited to try something new.
As I've arrived at the mid-point of my life, I wonder if God has something more for me. He's been stirring things up. Getting my attention.
As if he wants me to realize that there are new chapters of my life still to write and he invites me to join him as together, we write new passages.
A while ago, I started looking for God in the middle of my ordinary days. And I started seeing him. Everywhere. I saw him in the little details of my life and I watched him move a few mountains.
Over time, I noticed a subtle shift in how I was thinking about God and approaching the days of my life.
I wanted to be right beside him so I could hear what he was thinking about me. I found myself eager to do things that scared me, stretched me and opened my heart.
My life started quaking. Cracks appeared in the stony walls around my heart.
Uncertainty and possibility sparkled as I took a few risky footsteps of faith and began to hope.
I continue to be amazed at how perfectly this movement of my heart is tailored to me.
I am extremely slow to adapt to change. I consider and contemplate for a long time. Spontaneous will never be a word to describe me.
But God knows this about me.
I don’t think he’s bothered by it because so often he gives me just what I need.
He gives me considerable amounts of time to think and pray and wait on him.
So he can show me that even when my life feels stale and stationary, I can believe that God’s plans and purposes are still moving forward.
Following God is inexplicable and mysterious and strangely powerful and captivating.
Sometimes I want to tell him that I’ve waited here long enough and I’m ready to move on to the next place he has for me. But he seems to say, “Just trust me. When I’m ready to turn the page, I will.”
So I unpack my suitcase and hang up my hat for a while longer.
But I’m prayerfully going to be ready to move on ahead at the drop of a hat.
I'm linked up with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart and with Sarah Ann at Faith Along the Way. Will you join me there?