October 3rd 2020
“The glory of God is man fully alive.” John Eldridge-Wild at Heart
As the leaves turn vibrant colors, I find myself standing at a crossroad.
I’m not talking about a railroad crossing on a dirt road in the backwoods of Montana. I’m talking about a major life-changing decision that leaves me in deep thought for weeks. I question if I have what it takes to make this decision on my own. I question if I have what it takes at all. I question if this is like every other great adventure presented and turns out to be me choosing fear, dropping all hope of a different life, and returning to Familiar.
I want this time to be different.
I so desperately want this time to be different.
I want to find my courage, recklessly abandon my need for other people’s approval and run wildly after the desires of my own heart. The desires that have been burning deep down since childhood. I don’t want to be irresponsible or ridiculous in my decision making. I do have children who rely on me, but I fear if I do not choose my heart over everything else this time, I could be in danger of losing it forever.
I fear that I have been overly responsible for too long. I have also placed other people’s opinions before my own. I know that putting others before me is a good thing, to a point. Sometimes, I justify choosing others over my own heart as being unselfish and sacrificial. I fear that I have allowed this to keep me stuck in the same rut year after year.
It is time to allow my deepest heart’s desires to have their way.
I am not talking about abandoning all responsibilities and jumping on the back of a stranger’s Harley.
Though some days it’s tempting this would be irrational. I’m talking about something different here.
I am talking about loosing the chains of fear that have kept the holy calling in my deepest heart bound and unproductive for far too long.
These crossroads determine if I will choose Familiar (comfort without conflict) or if I will choose the desires that were placed in me as a child.
I could stay in a place that I have always been, doing the same things that I have always done, expecting a different result,
I could pack up my house, load up my children, rent a U-Haul, and move us across the United States.
There, I know that I would be able to hear my heart take a deep breath and sing once again.
After coming home from an unexpected trip to Missoula, I decided to make a pros and cons list. I sat on my couch yesterday, wrapped in a cozy blanket, sipping my warm coffee examining every aspect of this decision.
I wondered if it would actually happen.
I sank farther into the middle of my overstuffed couch as the tree across the street caught my eye. I looked out of my living room window marveling at the vibrant yellow shades the old growth had turned this last week. It was nice to be home listening to my children talking with their friends in the other rooms of our house. I wondered how long this would be our home. I got excited and scared simultaneously thinking of a new season, more opportunities, a clean slate, new schools, different church, and a whole new life.
I thought about washing off the dust of yesterday and diving into the refreshing waters of tomorrow.
I resonated that the beauty of new beginning awaited us.
My excitement always tends to turn to fear as I think about how I am the only parent trying to protect and take care of my children. When I think of this aspect in a new place, most of the time, this is when I throw in the towel and stay in Familiar.
I worry about my children but I have to remember that ‘single mother or not my Heavenly Father is my ultimate protector and provider’. It is then I start to feel a little bit more at peace and the dreaming and planning continue.
Fall is in the air. For some reason, it is always this time of year that changes take place in my life. Yesterday morning I pulled into a Starbucks to get my usual hazelnut coffee and a seasonal piece of pumpkin bread and noticed a sign which read “Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.”
I smiled and thought about some of the things that I have had to let go of throughout the years.
The season of Autumn for me is about the Winds of Change.
In the changing colors, I am reminded to allow the old things to illuminate in all of their glory, fall to the ground, and be blown away by the harsh North Wind. Then and only then can the promise of spring time be known.
It was nice having a little breather and driving the three and a half hours home from Missoula alone yesterday. I could think, pray, and ponder the future. My mother stayed the night with my two youngest children so I could take my middle daughter back to Missoula. On the drive back, I realized that I had placed everyone else’s comfort above my own. I had put everyone else’s feelings, ideas, and fears regarding my future above my own choices. I realized that I was so afraid of disappointing a select few that I had made my decisions around their opinions.
I also determined that this was no longer going to be the case.
I’ve heard it to be said that opportunities are like a fares wheel. They come and go, and you have to be brave enough to jump off of the solid ground and grab a hold of that ride. You have to be fearless enough take hold of that opportunity as it comes by. Some of those opportunities come back around and some do not.
I think of maple trees and pumpkin patches. I think of the vision collage that I made over eleven years ago. I’m reminded of the picture of an old book store that I recently realized was in a town an hour away from where the Lord is calling me. I found out that all of the pictures on my collage are from around the same place.
I’ve heard that New England in the Fall is breathtaking.
I’ve waited for over eleven years to see if that could be true. This month one of my daughters, a friend, and I will board a train, travel east, and see if New England is as beautiful in the Fall as I’ve heard it to be.
I will also see what awaits me there.
I wonder, “what exactly is it going to take to get me out of my comfort zone and living the life I dreamt of as a little girl?”
I am talking about digging deep and remembering those childhood hopes and dreams and moving towards the direction of them manifesting.
I can no longer allow others to convince me that my heart is childish and foolish. I will no longer suppress my deepest desires.
I was born for greatness. I was born for such a time as this. I have an epic role to play in this end-time legendary battle. I refuse to back down or allow others to cheat me out of this calling that so heavily lays upon my life.
I was not born for mediocracy.
I was born to change the world. I have always known this.
Some of you were also born for greatness, and we betray our own hearts when we allow them to gasp for air when we have the power to free them, to feed them.
We hold the pen to our destinies, yet on most occasions, if you’re like me, we have allowed others to write our stories.
I have decided that I will no longer allow others to dictate the story of my life.
I have one life to live and I will live it to the fullest.
I will no longer allow other people’s guilt trips or fears to stop me from doing what I know I desperately need to do.
I cannot. It is too costly.
There is a fierce battle with my name on it that only I can win.
There is a fierce battle with your name on it that only you can win.
Allowing other people’s opinions of us to steer our lives is not only dangerous but downright treason against our divine purpose.
We need to take back control of our lives and our destinies.
There is a great calling in all of our deepest hearts. The question is, will we chose to answer that calling?
I want to teach my children to be fearless and grab ahold of those opportunities when they present themselves. I want to show my children what a life sold out to God looks like. I want to teach them what great faith is like even if, sometimes we fall flat on our faces. I want to encourage them to never oppress the desires that have been placed in their hearts. Who knows that if one day they will be called upon to change the world.
God give me the courage to step out of Familiar and grab ahold of this great opportunity. Help me to fulfill the desires that You have placed in me and ride this ride to its fullest.
I pray that I would show my children, by example how to live a life fully alive.
All my love,
Angela B. Bowland