When I was in my mid-teens, I remember someone telling me that a person can have "either intelligence or faith." It seemed a logical explanation -- an intelligent person can explain the workings of the universe using logic, and therefore faith is simply unnecessary. After that day, I never again put much thought into God.
That may be why, years later, I didn't realize it when God spoke to me. I was 20 years old and had just completed my sophomore year in college. I was living with my boyfriend and working as a graphic designer for a small company. At school I was enrolled in the Marketing program and I was considering a focus on Advertising. I thought I had my whole future figured out, if I could just set aside one nagging feeling. While I was making great grades, I felt a sense of longing. Something was wrong -- where was the challenge? Where was the drive? What was I doing with my life? Was this "it"?
I was lying on the sofa one evening, flipping channels on the TV when I turned to the Discovery channel. The special that was playing was about a pair of sisters from the UK who had the genetic disorder called harlequin ichthyosis, a painful condition where the skin grows too rapidly and must be treated with constant care. I was riveted -- these girls, despite having been dealt a tough hand, were persevering. They were real people in real pain, but with no help in sight.
I realized, in that moment, why my life felt so meaningless. Somewhere along the way, I had forgotten that this world is full of other people in need, people I could be helping! I had been raised in a household that praised my intelligence and constantly affirmed that I would be good at anything I put my mind to. Instead of helping others, I was expending all of my energy so that I could someday sell products I didn't care about to people I didn't know. After witnessing the lives of these girls, I knew that I could use those blessings in another way.
The very next day I called my parents and, apologetically, told them that I was starting over at college. I dropped out of the Marketing program and enrolled in Biology, a decision that set me back a full year in my coursework. There was no logic, no rationale that could explain how I knew it would work out, but I knew. In a sense, God spoke through those two girls, and I finally heard the message without even knowing who sent it.
Today, I think that moment marks the beginning of a path that God carved out just for me. Next time, I'll clean up the ends and explain how those few, perhaps disjointed memories blossom into a lifelong love for Christ and the woman I am today.
How does your journey begin? When you look back, do you see memories that look like signposts? Do you recognize moments in your life where you were turned away from Christ, and do you recognize where he righted you on your path?