God grew my trust muscles during a time of terrifying limited vision for my immediate future.
To me as an adult now, that sounds like an extremely overdramatic depiction of my situation then. But to me as a thirteen-year-old, entering a huge new high school–with no friends–was scary.
I was leaving a tiny Christian school with an eighth-grade graduating class of thirteen. I had known each student for years. Becoming a part of a public school of sixteen hundred unknown students was daunting.
It didn’t help that the only person I knew who was also going to my new school was a girl who had been the primary instigator of my seventh-grade bullying. Knowing she had spread lies about me for years did not give me confidence that she would not do the same in the new school. I longed for a good experience meeting people and making friends in a new environment.
My limited vision made me feel lonely and afraid.
Knowing God was with me was not the same as feeling confident. Hearing from parents that I would be fine did not take away the knot in my stomach.
Joshua 1: 8–“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” was a verse I claimed–though I certainly had no physical enemies to slay.
My parents prayed with me and for me in my fear.
I’m sure it helped that they believed I would be fine. But it also helped that they validated my fear by praying for me in it.
I have a vague memory that my mom also told me that I didn’t need to make friends with everyone on that day. And she encouraged me that many other people would be feeling much the same way I was.
She told me to try to find one person I could connect with. Then after school that day she asked me if I could tell her about one person I thought I might be able to be friends with. I could–I excitedly told her about many possibilities.
When God told Joshua to be strong and courageous, he wasn’t telling him he had to do all the work alone. God rarely tells us we need to do our work completely in solitude. He calls us to community.
Sometimes the work he calls us to is finding our community. At other times it’s finding other people who need the community that comes from walking with Jesus Christ together.
In that way God blessed me with two very different parents who each helped me see different parts of what God was calling me to.
My mom helped me in figuring out how to be open to people who were possibly feeling as alone and in need of a friend as I was. She helped me see them as potential friends rather than as threats.
My dad helped me see each new friend or even acquaintance as someone who might be yearning to know who Jesus Christ was. The great thing is that God doesn’t have limited vision. We can trust his vision.