Summer of ’21: Chronicles of a Holding Pattern

I’d rather do something uncomfortable for a couple
of months than live in regret for the next 10 years. 

If you’ve ever been in an airplane that circled the airport before landing, you know the frustration of being in a holding pattern. Sometimes, it’s endless, you feel helpless, and no one seems to care that you’re locked in a flying tube making circles 10,000 feet about the earth.

Enter our summer of 2021. Or, more specifically, the last five months. In April, we sold our beautiful Colorado home and looked for a new home in nearly a dozen cities in three states. We were determined not to make a hasty decision that we might regret for the next decade. So we took our time….and lived in a few hotels this year.

Over the past few months, we’ve stored our furniture, lived in hotels, dog sat, and house sat for our kids in their homes, driven thousands of miles, flown for the first time since March 2020 and worked feverishly to re-establish some semblance of our pre-summer and pre-COVID routines.

Things don’t always go as planned. Often we find ourselves bumping into walls, stepping into potholes and detouring on roads we never knew existed. Ever been there, wondering what in the heck is going on?

That’s the time to take note and pay attention.

During this process in June, we had dinner in Nashville with some friends. We discussed some of these detours and potholes and how to pay attention to the things going on in our lives. If you’ve ever found yourself running into dead ends or going in circles, here’s what I can tell you from these experiences and that conversation.

First, don’t lose hope. No, you aren’t going crazy. Often, life involves rerouting or recalculating, but God hasn’t forgotten you, and your spiritual GPS hasn’t gone awry. If your GPS can recalculate or reroute your journey and still get you to where you’re going, don’t you think God can do the same? But even better? Think about that.

Where are the doors closing? We tend to want to push and keep knocking on the same doors without regard for what God is doing. Sure God tells us to keep knocking and seeking, but He doesn’t say we have to keep knocking where the doors aren’t opening. (Now, if He does tell you to keep knocking on a specific door, be a bulldog and keep on keepin’ on!) Be diligent, though. Keep knocking, keep seeking, but don’t limit your opportunities.

Where are the doors opening? Be aware of your surroundings. Listen to trusted (keyword: trusted) people in your life. There may be doors open already that you haven’t noticed while you’re door knocking and seeking in the other direction. Take inventory, or you could find yourself climbing the wrong wall as Mark Batterson suggests in Chasing the Lion: “We’re so busy climbing the ladder of success that we fail to realize it’s leaning against the wrong wall.”

Where is the activity? Somewhere something is happening. Somewhere, there is the right place with the right people, and it’s the right time. In fact, God is at work in the heavenlies on your behalf, and it will manifest in the natural very soon if it hasn’t already. And the activity may happen in a place you least expect.

What could you be missing in the process? Step back and look at the 5,000 or 10,000-foot view. For us, one thing we were missing is that we were determined to stay in Colorado. But when doors continued to close there, we finally took a step back and considered other areas (e.g. Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas etc.). And guess what, the doors opened in south Texas.

Listen and watch for the little things. Yes, God will send a prophet to you to give you direction. But there are people in your life who will say things — little things — that will be clues. Sometimes, it’s the people who aren’t connected in any way who will say essentially the same thing. Listen. Take note. Is it a coincidence? Probably not.

It’s one thing to know your calling, know your destiny and be a bulldog to reach those goals. It’s another thing entirely to be a bull in the china closet without the direction of God. Keep knocking. Keep seeking. Keep searching. Keep your eyes and ears open. And, above all, take note and pay attention.

After all, you’d rather be uncomfortable for a short season than live in regret for several seasons, right?

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