I’m not sure about you but my life has not exactly gone according to my grand plan. I found a list from when I was in 6th grade that said “My Future.” I’ll summarize or you’ll stop reading after Johnathan Taylor Thomas is mentioned for the third time…
- 2 story house in the city
- Hot husband
- 2 kids, boy and girl
- Great Dane
- Red convertible
- Movie star
Bless it!!! I should start off and say a “thank you” to Jesus that half of that didn’t come true! First of all, I do not want to walk up and down stairs every day, I work too hard on my hair to have it all blown around in a convertible and I’m pretty sure the term movie star was retired when Britney Spears made a movie. (And yes, I owned Crossroads on DVD.)
I have to be honest, however, that the rest of that list still flames a pretty strong desire most days. If I am being totally vulnerable, that list has been updated to say: Be someone who makes a difference in others’ lives, marry a bearded man who loves Jesus, raise kids (any kids), and have a home. If you are like me, saying these things out loud can be scary and maybe even a twinge of the word failure echoes in my mind. I feel like the world is screaming at us as women or men to live our best life, be happy, do you, never settle... All of those are really great on coffee mugs and bumper stickers but they carry false hope and make no sense for real life.
Real talk -- life isn’t always the trendy, cool, filtered Insta-story or FB post we share.
Sometimes life is grey. That is what I call the unplanned, unknown, unwanted and undetermined areas of life. It’s like we enter the address for our plans, and we are stuck on a repeated “Re-routing”… “Re-routing”… The grey area is the place that I feel like 99.9% of the time Jesus calls me to live. And that is the key -- He calls us to LIVE IN THE GREY. Not to wallow, whine or worry. He works in the grey areas of our lives. He molds us, shapes us and prepares us. Our faith is multiplied in the grey areas. We must trust God more in these places than the secure, fluffy and safe places of our lives. Grey areas shatter the false reality that we control anything. Living an abundant life in unknown circumstances can feel like stepping onto a bridge that is still being built. It is risky, the destination is unknown and the reward is unannounced.
Clearly, my life didn’t unfold the way my 6th grade self dreamed it up, but it is still unfolding. I have sweet, incredible friends that are in grey areas also—single, divorced, new career late in life, challenging children, financial issues, fertility struggles—none of these things were in their plans either. And I am not going to pretend that I have all the answers or even a clue as to what you may be going through. Here is what I do know, you must keep living your life. Not your best life, or happiest life... just LIVE your life. Every day, live in the grey. Embark on the day that unfolds before you, share love, show kindness and keep moving forward. Just don’t stop living, don’t run away and remember that retreating never gets you to a new place.
You have an incredible story and it is still unfolding. Live in the grey now because it will allow you to experience the color!
Lee Jane Walker lives in Paris, Texas and leads a non-profit ministry as the area director for Young Life. Currently she is building a small farmhouse in the country for herself and her pup, Milo. She has lived a lot of lives in past careers such as an L.A. casting coordinator and musical theatre actress. She loves extra toasted Cheezits, always wears big earrings and is working on a stand-up routine based on her dating life! Follow Lee Jane at @staygreylj.