Shirin McArthur

prayerful pondering

More Firsts in This Unfolding Journey

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How many of you were certain of what you wanted to be, and do, when you grew up? How many of you ended up following that road? How many of you have had absolutely no surprising changes along the journey of life?

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I would bet that everyone has experienced a number of unexpected twists and turns on the road of life. For myself, if you had told me five years ago that I would be happily self-employed today, I would have rolled my eyes and laughed. I was so caught in a tattered web of my own making, unwilling to see possibilities or trust in God’s providence…. I can now look back on that child (who was in her mid-forties!) and have some sense of compassion for her fears and her pain…but also with some sadness for what she probably missed by living afraid for so many years. There is no doubt that I learned and grew—and God can transform all of our choices in the crucible of Love—but I do wonder….

And part of the result of that wondering is that I keep taking risks. I took two more this week. First, I submitted a bunch of poems to my first poetry contest. This is a big step because it is the first time I have, in essence, put my work up against that of others. Most of the reason I did it was because I’m curious. I’ve had some positive feedback from workshop leaders and friends, but this is taking my poetry to a newer level. So I’ll see what happens….

The other thing I’ve done is to commit to a second blog post every week—for the blog Ordinary Mystic. (I came across this blog when Alana Levandoski and James Finley collaborated on a new contemplative folk album called Sanctuary, which is powerful…one refrain has become my newest “anytime” prayer). I reached out to Ordinary Mystic about possibly posting some of my poetry and got instead an invitation to consider posting on contemplative preparations for my Holy Land trip. That invitation really took hold of my heart and wouldn’t let go, so this past week I said yes. As of this writing, we’re still working out the details, but I will keep you posted. It’s an awesome new step on my journey, a step that I wouldn’t have taken if I wasn’t much more willing to take risks than I once was—when I thought I knew what I would be when I grew up!

When in your life have the surprising twists and turns revealed riches far beyond what you could possibly have imagined? Have those gifts emboldened you to take further risks along the way?

Are there assumptions you might still be holding about your path that might be keeping you from seeing God’s invitations along the way?

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