My life now.
When you started your formation journey at age 19, you had no idea that’s what you were doing. All you knew was that you suddenly saw things — about yourself, the world around you, and even God — you couldn’t see before and that the vista of your whole world was changing.
You had blow-your-mind, whoa-dang moments about all this for quite a while. And you often felt like the ground was being pulled out from underneath your feet. You had no idea what you were doing, and you didn’t have any guidebooks or teachers to help you.
But you were also quite stubborn and stuck to what you knew: that you needed to walk this path.
I’m proud of you for that stubbornness.
What you didn’t know then was that it would take so long. This is one reason your stubbornness was a good thing. It took you two years into the journey to find Jesus. It took another four years beyond that to really settle into your sense of belovedness. It took you nearly a decade to forgive some things.
If you knew it would take so long, would you still have walked the path? We’ll never know, and it doesn’t really matter. Because you did walk the path. And now you wouldn’t trade it for anything.
That’s another thing you didn’t know then. You didn’t know that “yes” you uttered would lead to what would become the most precious thing in your life. Now you wouldn’t change the journey for anything. Wrapped up inside the whole of it — the difficult truths, the healing moments, the growth, and of course Jesus — is everything you are today.
You didn’t know it would change your life. Because of that journey you took, you began to care about other people’s journeys. You wanted them to experience grace and belovedness too. You wanted them to meet the Jesus you’d met. You wanted them to take the formation journey, even though it’s one of the most messy, complicated things a person can try to do. You wanted to walk beside them while they struck out on the path.
And so you eventually left your full-time job as an editor — the work you thought was the end-all, be-all of a career life when you were 19 years old! — in order to be trained to do this work responsibly and well. You took four formal years to get trained, and you’re still equipping yourself every day. You eventually started this website as an invitation and a safe place to begin. You now write and teach and offer spiritual direction, undergirded by a life of prayer; these things are your vocation.
The formation journey that you didn’t even know was a formation journey at the time you began it changed your whole entire future.
Right now, you’re facing some hard truths and revisiting the process again. And more than anything, I want to remind you about what I just said about your formation journey having become the most precious thing in your life. I want you to remember that. Because right now, you can’t imagine ever feeling that way about what you’re walking through.
You will. Someday you will hold it close, just like you hold all the other parts of this journey close, and say you can’t imagine life without it.