In high school I was a total science nerd. In my senior year I conducted a series of microbiological tests to determine the efficacy of mouthwash. (I know, super nerd!) I submitted my report at the state level and was invited to present a poster at the Science Symposium.
On the day of my presentation there wasn’t an empty seat in the college auditorium. I had no problem talking to the judges one on one, but public speaking I hadn’t mastered (and especially in front of that cute guy I met at lunch!)
Let’s just say the presentation didn’t go as planned. Sweat poured down my back, I fumbled over my words and I crashed and burned on the questions from the judges. It wasn’t my shining moment and I came in sixth. One spot away from the top five who would travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the national competition.
The weekend after the competition, I moped around and listened to my Alanis Morrissette and Cranberries CDs on repeat. But then on Sunday, my situation changed.
I got a phone call. “The fifth place contestant is unable to attend the national competition, so as the runner up you get to take his place. Please let us know if you are able to attend on May 13.”
Ahh teenagers. One minute my life is over and the next minute I’m screaming and jumping up and down. Thrilled and shocked and excited I accepted right away. Yes!
Once I hung up (and my heart rate went down) my brain started to think about May 13. Why does that sound familiar? Oh dang, that is the same day as the school musical … and I am the secondary lead in the play. Back to crying and agonizing. What do I do?
The next week at school was difficult. Everyone gave their opinion about what I should do, but no one asked me what I wanted to do. Teenage angst came out in full force. I was mad at everyone.
At the end of the day I went to Latin class. My teacher, Sr. Felicitas knew the situation, but she didn’t give her opinion one way or the other. She told me to just go to the chapel and pray. God would help me with the right decision.
So I did. I sat in that chapel crying and waiting to hear the voice of God telling me what to do. But I didn’t hear anything.
When mom picked me up from school I asked her how do we know what God wants us to do? Mom with her usual wise responses told me: “God doesn’t say (spoke in a booming voice) ROBYN GO TO NEW MEXICO! or ROBYN STAY FOR THE MUSICAL! He speaks to us through our desires and inclinations.”
Little did I know that the Holy Spirit was there speaking through my mom. Then for the first time, we talked about what I wanted to do and what I thought was right and fair.
When I got home I called up my mentor (Dr. Microbiologist) and told him that since I already committed to being in the musical I decided not to travel to New Mexico. I waited to hear his disappointed response, but he surprised me. “Robyn, with your responsibility you’ll make it to Albuquerque some day. New Mexico will always be there, but you won’t always have your senior high school play.”
I was so grateful for his response and I felt an overwhelming sense of peace.
God gives us our free will, but that doesn’t mean he leaves us stranded. There are many choices, big and small that we will face in our lives. But we don’t face them alone. Our good God wants us to know his will.
Remember to pay attention to those little messengers. The Holy Spirit is speaking. We just need to be quiet enough to hear Him.