Have you ever wondered what other people think of the dreams you pursue, the job you work, and the life you live? Has it ever bothered you when other people are disappointed in the choices you make for your future?
When I first moved to Los Angeles to become an actor it was very difficult for friends and family to understand what motivated me and why I would take such a risk. It was during those years that I learned the difficult lesson that not everyone will understand the journey you’ve been called to live. And you know what? That’s OK. You will never fully understand their journey, either.
When making choices in our lives we must ask the difficult questions, such as:
“Why pursue this dream?”
“What is my motivation?”
“What do I hope to accomplish if I achieve my goals?”
“Am I alright being misunderstood?”
“Am I making wise decisions, or is this solely for momentary happiness?”
“Will I give myself grace if things don’t work out as I expect?”
When I returned to Charlotte in 2008, it was incredible how many people didn’t understand that decision, either! It was as if I couldn’t win! They had been my biggest fans when I was in Los Angeles, but the return to Charlotte appeared like a final defeat, leading them to disconnect. I let them down, or so it appeared.
The questions raged within my mind like a tornado in Kansas. What changed? Did I do something wrong? Did I let people down? Am I forever a failure?
“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
As an adventurer at heart I love this quote from Emerson…Such beauty and mystery. What if life is full of choices where we must walk alone? What if the path has yet to be paved? What if the trail is off the map?
We all will come to this point at some time in our lives where we will have to ask ourselves, “Is this really worth being alone and misunderstood?” Not every hope or dream will be achieved, but God often takes us on a journey to teach us, to mold us, and to make us even more dependent on His grace. The outcome isn’t always the end; often, it is the road (or lack thereof) to which we were destined.
Yet, I must warn you: don’t choose loneliness as a way of escape from vulnerability and honesty. That’s not the loneliness in discussion. I have mastered the art of self-destruction and victimization, to my own demise; trust me, that’s not a road worth taking.
And yet, there are many choices in life that will require you to move ahead without complete understanding or acceptance from those around you. Oddly enough, you may not even fully understand yourself. But God doesn’t give us a formula, our dreams aren’t created in a test tube, and our souls don’t long for mathematical rhythms of life.
We were made to wander with our Creator in the adventure of life as we journey towards the eternal.
In my single years I would often hear that a girl would not truly satisfy the inner longing for complete intimacy. Of course, my spiritual mind accepted this, while my humanity thought otherwise. Then I met the insanely captivating girl when she stepped into my coffee shop. We started dating, fell in love, and got married (In that order, in case you were wondering).
…But you know what? Much of my life is still spent alone, working, dreaming, doubting, choosing, hoping, praying, hurting, loving, breaking, and healing. I love my wife and much of our lives are lived walking together, but that is not true for every moment of every day. We still must be alone, making choices each day about who we will become.
God can often feel extremely far away, even as I continue to journey towards the future. But one thing I know after so many lonely days and nights: God is closer than we will ever imagine, even when He feels light years away. He was there in my tears in Chicago, in my heartache in St. Louis, in my broken dreams in Los Angeles, and in my shame in the return home. Even when friends and family were nowhere to be found, He was there, walking with me through each moment.
So, I guess that in the end, the pathway of solitude really isn’t solitary at all; it’s more like an invitation to the adventure leading to eternity.
Never. Truly. Alone.