I have been torn about the title and tagline on my blog for a while now. I have been considering changing it from “Seeking and Stumbling” to something like “Finding my Way.” “Seeking and Stumbling” seems to imply that there is only one perfect way to follow God and that many times I fail. “Finding my Way” implies that each way is individual and our God is big enough and personal enough for that. My way may not be your way, and that is okay.
“Seeking and Stumbling” represents my previous way of thinking and being as I struggled to find that one perfect way (see my first blog post). Perhaps now I have a different perspective. My path is my own as designed by God. Each path is our own to wrestle, debate, and follow. Others can travel with me for a while, even a lifetime, but my way with God is my own, as your way with God is your own. We, as the body of Christ, have gotten in trouble when we try to define one way or even a few ways. Then, when one cannot follow the prescribed path because it does not align with God’s will for them, it creates distance from others and distance from God. It seems like something out of C.S. Lewis’s book, The Screwtape Letters, where the enemy has devised a system to ensure that we all fall into disarray.
I think we can do better. We can celebrate millions of ways to follow God. We can believe in a diverse, abundant, and creative God. We can celebrate and honor where we have been, we can be grateful for where we are now, and we can be excited about where we are going.
Autumn is a season of letting go. The trees drop their leaves and the flowers fade, but only to create room for what is next. With God, there is always more to come. There is always another season, another chapter, for evermore.
Sometimes that means creating a new way. That is the entire story of Jesus. God created a new way for us to know God. God opened the way for those outside Israel’s religion to be a part of it too. We can trust that God keeps opening doors and creating new pathways to know, follow, and love God. God loves each of us around the globe personally and intimately. We can trust that this loving and faithful God will help us each find our way. God can help us create new ways and even invite others on the journey as well. To quote the popular bracelet, “God is big enough.” God is abundant and loving and faithful. Abundantly more….
When I first started my blog in 2016, I purchased the domain for my name, marissaneil.com. I wasn’t ready to use it then but I had an inkling that it may turn into more than a blog someday. I had what felt like a divine nudge to dream about it and plan for it. Until then I have been using seekingandstumbling.com. Though I still do not know exactly where it is all going, I feel the nudge to start using my name as the domain, like authors and artists do. I don’t know that I am either, but the nudge is strong. It feels vulnerable in good and bad ways. I have always been vulnerable in my writing, but I could always hide behind an anonymous blog. Now there is no hiding, it’s just me.
On WordPress, there is an option for customization of your “Site Identity” where you choose a title, a photo, and a tagline. I don’t know about you but that is a lot of pressure, to present your “identity” in a snapshot and a few words. I have played around with using my name as the title and my artwork as the photo, but having my name in bold letters is a struggle for me and having my artwork on display is a bit uncomfortable. And there is also the tagline. I have considered keeping “Seeking and Stumbling,” since it is familiar. It is what got me here, yet, it no longer fits. It’s like wearing a coat that is too small. I can’t move or breath in the way I feel called to. I feel called to express myself and share my life and my faith in a new way.
Guess what? That is allowed. Sometimes we get stuck or held back by what is comfortable or what is familiar. That can be safe space, yet sometimes we are invited beyond that, through that space to something else, something more. It is like growing pains. It is uncomfortable for a while but it is growth. And becoming. I am still growing. I am still becoming. I am finding my way.
The concept of seeking and stumbling has been a part of my way. But framing all of my explorations, detours, and U-turns as stumbling no longer fits. Those are just a part of my way. That is how I seek, that is how I connect with God, with others, and with myself. That is my way.
How are you finding your way, your individual path with God?
I’d love to hear about it.
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.~ Isaiah 43:19
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. ~ Psalm 119:105
I was invited to write a poem of instruction. Maybe some words of wisdom to my older self. Something I want to remind myself later to remember. Maybe on how to be a pilgrim or an artist or a creative or a monk, or how to be a writer or a contemplative…
I am not sure I know…
Mary Oliver says “Pay attention” so see, hear, feel, taste, touch, perceive go slow so you don’t miss anything
Record, she says “Tell about it” God tells me to proclaim and witness though I am not sure what that means share, I guess
Perceive the sun setting the dimming light feel it, see it, taste it What does a sunset taste like?
Be open to both new and old
Pack lightly trust that the journey will provide yet always bring pen and paper
Bring friends and meet friends and also leave friends sometimes not everyone can go where you need to go
Wonder wonder day and night
And then follow be an adventurer the labels don’t matter go where the wonder takes you
Take your faith with you not as tether but as a light
Remember remember what you know and be willing to add to that stockpile of inner wisdom
You will be afraid go anyway find a way to go anyway you can be afraid at home or you can be afraid on the adventure of a lifetime pick the latter
Eat good food whenever you can
Be willing to cry and acknowledge that you will probably stub your toe a few times along the way no worries keep going
Don’t always look outside yourself look inside too sometimes what you are looking for is already there
Be willing to lighten the load as necessary somethings will be too heavy to carry it is okay to just drop them and let them lie
Be kind and loving to yourself you have never been here before show grace accept grace
And have fun be silly laugh and then laugh some more even when people are watching who knows they may laugh with you and how wonderful is that.