Do you believe everything happens for a reason? We say it ALL THE TIME, but do you actually believe it?
I asked this question on Instagram and Facebook the other day, and I’d say the *overall* sentiment is that, yes, everything does happen for a reason.
Which means, my thoughts might be met with a little resistance, but you get them anyway.
In the simplest of terms, I think everything happens for a reason. I just don’t think the reason is always divine or from God (and that’s how I generally interpret people to mean the phrase). Many times, I think the reason is our own free will…which I believe God gives us, but doesn’t control.
It feels really good to say “everything happens for a reason” when we make a questionable choice or when the universe aligns in a way that doesn’t immediately feel how we want.
I also think there is a difference between allowing things to happen and making things happen. If we believe God makes people die for a reason…or makes people sick or unemployed or abused or in pain for a reason, then it makes sense so many people question Him. And if we believe He makes ALL the beauty happen too, on His own, then it makes sense we compare or feel inferior or don’t trust ourselves sometimes.
What if…instead of “everything happens for a reason,” it’s “God brings reason to everything that happens?” Now, He is the solution instead of the problem. The whole narrative shifts. Life is no longer a predestined path, but roads we’re constantly laying. With God. A course on which we are responsible for our choices, but still dependent on Him to steer our thinking or make meaning of our joy and pain. Instead of focusing on a single outcome, we free ourselves to trust in His power. And our own. To accept our circumstances and lean on Him, rather than constantly asking WHY.
Maybe it’s not about WHY. Maybe it’s about HOW. How will these circumstances be used to wield a rich future?
ALL MY ROADS deeply explores this idea. For a tangible story about “God bringing reason to everything that happens,” make sure to check it out!
Writing my first novel, sharing the words and process with all of you, querying agents for potential representation…it’s been a lot like I imagine it would feel to…
lose my virginity,
to a guy I’ve drooled over…for years,
who has no idea I exist,
all while being recorded,
naked, awkward, fresh, inexperienced,
only to send the video to sex experts for their opinion.
(Plus about 10 retakes of said video after input from trusted friends in an attempt to get it perfect.)
Butterflies and heart throbs because I’m finally “doing it.”
Dizziness and warmth because I’m aligned with a story, with my passion, with the characters, with myself.
Tension and tingles because, “What if I’m not who everyone thought I was? What if I’m too dark or wild or loud or intense or passionate? Will I be accepted?”
Expansion and contraction because maybe I’ll be seen as self-serving, but if I don’t go for it, if I’m not vulnerable, I’ll miss the climax…the view from the pinnacle.
Deep breaths and laughing shivers because, “oh my gosh, I just put my most unfiltered self out there,” and it’s a rush like I’ve never felt.
This experience, which is only just beginning, has healed and stretched and freed and isolated and expanded and pushed and exposed and demanded of me. It’s the creative outlet I’ve craved, the personal growth I never knew I needed, and the restoration of faith and trust I’ve hoped would be mine.
Sometimes, the only way to make something happen is to do it scared.
Social media is a highlight reel. You know it. I know it. People say it all the time. But sometimes, we need another reminder, and this morning I feel moved.
I am humbled daily by the “behind the scenes” stories I know exist.
In addition to the smiles, confidence, humor, well-typed captions, and beauty WE ALL consume and create, there also exists…
…month after month of praying for a positive pregnancy test, only to feel that gut punch of disappointment when only one line shows up.
…chronic, debilitating illness. The kind that not only overtakes your body and renders it incapable of daily function, but that seeps into relationships and threatens their vivacity as well.
…pregnancy loss and the painful, bloody, hormonal, emotional journey back to centered after losing something that existed solely within a mother’s body.
…the agony of divorce or separation. The tearful conversations. The weight and grief of a chosen, seemingly controllable loss. The mental see-saw of doubt and trust, hope and fear.
…the loss of a job or vocation, and therefore a re-examination of purpose, identity, and aptitude. A good-bye to comfort and security amid times that are anything but.
…mental illness, defeating family dynamics, attachment to impossible outcomes, death of loved ones, scary diagnoses, responsibilities that feel too heavy, crippling fear, private ugly tears, analysis paralysis, regret and shame, self-hatred, anger, parental guilt, secrets, lies, and…gosh, I’m only scratching the surface.
Any of these resonate? A real human’s face comes to mind for every single one of these.
There is beauty in our mutual fragility, even when we keep it hidden.
I believe the smiles we see here are genuine. Joy can exist in torment. But I know they’re only part of our stories, and that’s worth acknowledging.
“So go ahead now. Ask Me anything. Anything. I will contrive to bring you the answer. The whole universe will I use to do this. So be on the lookout…The words to the next song you hear. The information in the next article you read. The storyline of the next movie you watch. The chance utterance of the next person you meet. Or the whisper of the next river, the next ocean, the next breeze that caresses your ear – all these devices are Mine; all these avenues are open to Me. I will speak to you if you will listen. I will come to you if you will invite Me. I will show you then that I have always been there. All ways.” -Neale Donald Walsch in CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD, BOOK 1
Sometimes I lose sight of the Universe’s belonging to God. Of His divine desire and ability to communicate with us through everything in our world.
I’ve prayed many a prayer for “signs” – billboards on which God would lead me down a particular path. Only to realize he’d been planting guideposts at every twist and turn, just not in the way I expected.
“But what if that’s not what He intended me to interpret? What if that sign was meant for someone else?” The voice of doubt spoke loudly.
And then something clicked. I don’t know when or remember how, but I realized…the way I interpret the Universe is the message I’m meant to receive. We’re always complicating things that aren’t actually complicated. God isn’t a gameplayer. He knows exactly how we’ll interpret his communication. If I responded to my environment a tenth as much as I doubt my ability to make meaning of it…hot damn. My trust muscle would be bulging!
This week was about keeping promises to myself, trusting my intuition, playing big, and breathing. Lots of breathing.
I’m almost always ready to come home from a trip, no matter how long. This morning, I’m hungry for the sound of waves crashing onto the rocky Lake Michigan shore. The beauty in our state is truly something to behold.
I was talking on Instagram the other day and mentioned my long-time wish that all of life’s moments could have music…a soundtrack…playing in the background. If there was a job where I got to assign music to every life moment, I’d be ALL OVER IT. So much of my writing inspiration comes from music. My brain works in song. I probably got it from my Grama, who had a hymn to address every life scenario. Hymns aren’t always (or even usually) the music I’m thinking of, but maybe you get my gist. Anyway, a number of people DMed me saying they had similar wishes, so I’m thinking it isn’t just me. What about you? Have you wished this too?
There’s something about the undulations in pitch and rhythm, the fullness of instruments in harmony, that intensify every emotion. It’s as though our feelings are validated when we watch a movie and the music SOUNDS like our insides FEEL. And sometimes, the music tells us WHAT to feel.
I guess this is why I’m an author. I want to create a space to feel everything I desire. I don’t mean the exact scenarios…I mean the internal sensations. Fear, suffering, empathy, compassion, lust, validation, anger, anxious, content, challenged…everything.