By Katie Warner
I’m at one of those interesting phases in my life where I feel like I’m constantly at a crossroads and more often that not I am woefully unprepared for the decisions that lay ahead. It’s analogous to these reoccurring dreams I often have where I find myself in a situation; for example, I’m the lead singer of a band. All of a sudden I’m standing on a stage facing thousands of people and I realize, that (1) I don’t know how to sing, (2) I don’t know the lyrics to any of the songs I’m supposed to sing, and (3) I have no shoes.
This is kind of how real life hits me some days and I have to say it’s mildly disconcerting.
My mind, as of late, is a constant whir of questions as I challenge myself to think about what I want to do in the next year, who I want to be in five years, what I would like my career to look like and how all of my personal ambitions fit into that.
I recently came across a quote that said,
“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
As I reflected on the readings this week, this quote surfaced again in my mind. Jesus begins with one word, “Beloved.”
Boom. Mic drop. There it is. The truth--even though I can’t always recognize it--is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in His eyes. I am God’s beloved.
One of my favorite spiritual authors, Henri Nouwen, wrote intensely on this subject. He has a whole book dedicated to this singular notion, that we are all chosen as God’s Beloved (It’s called “Life of the Beloved,” I highly recommend it). I have this nasty habit, you see, of making comparisons between the state of my life right now with that of those around me. I can tell you from experience that this is rarely ever a positive or productive use of time.
I used to think I had a pretty good idea of who I was and who I was being called to be.
After spending a year in a developing country, living a life of purpose and in service to those at the peripheries of society, I thought the trajectory of my life would flow from there. Yet when that year ended I was left with more questions than answers, particularly regarding my calling and future goals. This left plenty of room for me to look around at where everyone else was headed and make comparisons.
It’s why Jesus’ words strike me so poignantly, He says, “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and sojourners to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against the soul.” It’s these reminders that bring me back to the “main thing,” my purpose for being here; to gently push aside and silence the voices that question my gifts and to trust the voice that calls me His Beloved.
There is a true joy in this discovery
and in recognizing that no idea, course, book, trip, job, country, relationship or worldly desire will fulfill my deepest desire and that grasping for fulfillment in these will only leave me restless and never fully satisfied.
Nouwen talks about how this awareness of our truth of being the chosen ones, allows us a deep desire to reveal to others their own chosenness. Instead of making us feel that we are better or more valuable than others,
our awareness opens our eyes to the chosenness of others and we recognize that there is a place for everyone in God’s eyes.
So with resolve, I wake up each morning with the reminder that I am the Beloved and that this belief brings me purpose, a mighty purpose at that. Being human and complicated, it’s still natural for me to look ahead to one or five years in the future, but rather than create worry I allow myself to dream, follow my curiosities, hold my goals loosely and keep the main thing in mind.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Her LinkedIn profile would tell you she’s a “Passionate professional and effective communicator with an interest in contributing to marketing, communications and project management for a mission-driven organization”… But that’s just what she says to impress future employers. Katie is your average 24 year old, wanderlusty, caffeine-dependent life form. She enjoys handwritten thank you cards, thrift stores, journaling, traveling, serving and she challenges herself with yoga and running. Her faith is central to everything she does. She was first introduced to the Living Person in 2013 when Jurell forced her to sign up for a half-marathon, and she’s been grateful ever since.