keep calm and travel on
You know that longing in your soul is real. The stirring of a desire coming out of nowhere or long buried you thought it died a natural death, making you restless until you do something about it- because you can't ignore it; because a lifeless life is no longer an option.
"I'm a firm believer in the power of change. But there's one thing I've learned: that the hardest part of moving forward is not looking back." -Sally to Felicity (Season 2, Episode 3)
Longings and stirrings. They force you to ask yourself difficult questions about who you are, what is most important to you, what it says about your faith or what you believe in and most often than not, they take you to long narrow roads without the safety of the familiar. They take you to paths that are unpopular and your first thought is, "This is crazy!"
I felt it the first time when I read a 'random' verse from the Book of Proverbs inside the DLSU campus about how it is always,always better to seek wisdom than gold and in that instant, my desire to go to law school came back like it never left me. I left graduate school and on the last day to submit my Letter of Intent to teach in the university for another year, the Spirit instead gave me courage to say boldly,I am going after my dream. I am not coming back.
It happened again inside a cab, months from getting a law degree, restless at the passage in Isaiah I read that morning. Restless because I knew there and then that I wasn't in law school to be rich which was my only goal really. Little did I know that God has a different agenda. He wanted me to be a lawyer to join him in His cause to "...stop doing wrong; do what is right. Seek justice. Encourage the oppressed. Plead for the widows. Defend the orphans."
And inside that cab, in the beautiful city of Baguio, I died to my selfish ambitions. And I knew I was undone.
Third time it came, I was walking along the hallways of Malcolm Hall bored to death from law review classes and my eyes lingered on the International Justice Mission's plain ad for a lawyer. If there was a time that I fell in love at first sight, it was at that moment. Not with a boy, but with a cause.
And I knew instantly my future legal career will be about something bigger than myself and my vanities.
After being in my 'dream job' for six years, I thought the stirrings and the longings will cease. After all, I have attained my career goal.
I was wrong.
God isn't done with my story yet. While transforming me to who I am now, He continues to work behind the scenes. Leading me to the next phase of my justice journey.
In one of my most memorable journals from my amazing time in law school, I remember boldly writing these words:
Go ahead Liw. Prayerfully step into the unknown future. God has promised to be there for you (Heb. 13:5). You can be sure “there’ll be something to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.”Eight years later, the anonymous poem from where it was based resonates:
When you come to the edge
Of all light you have known,
And are about to step off into darkness,
Faith is knowing there’ll be something to stand on,
Or you will be taught how to fly.
But I had to first examine the stirrings in my heart, the longing to do something else. Somewhere else. I had to confront it in light of who I have become, who people expected me to be and what God has taught me over the years about doing what is right, what is honorable and what gives Him pleasure as my sovereign gracious Father. After the long and mostly lonely confrontation, the desire set aside for over a year could no longer be denied.
Leading me to do the unthinkable.
Daniel said it best, "But the people that do know their God will be strong and shall do exploits." (11:32, KJV)
In a few weeks, I will be holding a new position that excited my heart the first time I read it. It felt like it was written just for me. And the fact that Nelson Mandela said this new organization I will be a part of matters not only because of the good it does but the evil it prevents makes it more attractive than any perks the new post bring. Now, I will never judge someone for falling in love more than once; it does happen.
But taking it means leaving all that I love as an IJM lawyer behind. And looking back is not an option.
Do I have the courage to risk it all again and stand at the edge?
To step off into the unknown?
Somehow, by a miracle of God's grace, I found myself with new wings.
Made out of a joyful hope and a faith deepened by many heartaches.
I am ready to fly.
"It is a sweet thing that we serve a dissatisfied God who has destinations in mind for us that we would never choose for ourselves. It really is a good thing that he will not be satisfied until he has gotten us exactly where he created us and re-created us to be. Most of us would have been satisfied to stay at home, and many of us would have quit the journey long before it was completed. But our heavenly Father won't give up until each one of his children has completed the journey.” Paul David Tripp, A Quest for More: Living for Something Bigger Than You