Sometimes you think and pray and write pros and cons lists and worry and wring your hands and then finally make a decision. Other times, opportunities are thrown at you and you raise a hand to catch it instinctively, like when your kid throws a ball at your head, before thinking about it at all. Then you turn the opportunity over in your hand. Was this really a good idea? What do you really know about this opportunity? But you caught it and it feels right in your hands. And maybe it’s scary or new or different but it’s yours now.
A few weeks ago, I received a strange curve ball. A friend who homeschools and who is part of the homeschool co-op on post asked me to teach a creative writing class for the middle school and high school students. Then she added an older elementary age class to the request. I asked a few key details, but I caught the opportunity quickly. My heart leapt in my chest and I knew it was already mine. At first, I was nervous about the younger kids, but I remembered it was fourth grade when I decided I was going to be a writer. Maybe I could help light that fire inside somebody else. I said yes to both.
I spend a lot of time sorting myself out, making schedules, and plans. (Which is especially silly because the Army tells us what to do all the time.) On my own, I often get bogged down with all the possibilities. I become paralyzed trying to make big decisions. It’s always the opportunities that people throw at me that have the biggest impact, that open doors I didn’t even know were there.
When we lived in Stockdale, I was working out at a Curves gym and the owner said she was looking for a Zumba instructor. She said, “I’ll even pay for someone’s training. I just really want someone to teach Zumba here.” I said, “I’ll do it.” I had never been to a Zumba class but I’d seen the infomercials and it looked fun. I taught Zumba and Zumba Gold for a year. It was a small thing, but it gave me purpose when I was lost.
I talked myself out of doing roller derby. Then I met one of the trainers at an FRG event. I was still explaining to her why I wasn’t really a roller derby person. “I’ll see you Sunday,” she said because she knew I was coming. She threw the opportunity squarely at my chest and I caught it with both hands. It belonged to me already. I had to go.
I’m facilitating a book study for Protestant Women of the Chapel called “The Pursuit of God” by A. W. Tozer. I knew nothing about this book, but the title drew me in. I picked it up off the table, glanced at the back, and said I would lead that study. The vice president of spiritual life told me she’d been praying for the right person to lead that study since it was more difficult. She said I was the right person to lead it. I simply felt drawn to it. It called out to me and I caught it.
Sometimes we try to dodge opportunities that are thrown at us. We duck. We hide. Not everything is for us. There are times we’re overwhelmed or over-extended and there are seasons we need to rest. Sometimes the opportunity belongs to somebody else. But I’ve learned that the times when I catch something thrown directly at me without hesitation, it’s because it’s mine. Even, if it’s something I never would have imagined myself doing. When something deep inside of me recognizes the opportunity as something that will make me more whole, that will bring me closer to who I am becoming or closer to God, it calls out to me and I catch it easily. Without overthinking, without worrying.
Usually I am assured that it’s the right decision by the lightness I feel. Lots of normal things feel plodding and hard to me. Going to the post office can be the most complicated, difficult task if I’m dragging both kids with me. Looking at the list of things I need to accomplish can feel impossible. So when a new responsibility, a new thing feels light and I glow just thinking about it, I know it’s right. This one is mine.
I’ve read, “Don’t ask God to guide your footsteps if you’re not willing to move your feet.” Don’t ignore the opportunities, ideas, and people that are thrown your way. They might be God telling you to move your feet in a new direction. The ones you catch without thinking about it? Those are yours. Walk around with your arms outstretched wide. Who knows what you’ll catch. You might find yourself teaching homeschooled students about creative writing, even though you don’t home school your own kids. You might find yourself doing something you never imagined but that, at the same time, makes all the sense in the world.