What if I told you that God was calling you to pack up, leave everything and everyone you held dear and move to a completely foreign land?
Would you do it?
In 2016, I faced that challenge. To boldly go where I had never gone before. I transplanted myself to Bengaluru and embraced the adventure of a lifetime.
The details of my story are pretty incredible (even to me): 4 job offers in Mumbai at the time and only one panning out, coincidentally in Bengaluru – Mind you, I wasn’t even looking for jobs there; Moving to a city I’ve never visited; with a language I never heard before; being basically broke in December 2016 to then 3 months later, having enough (without taking loans or borrowing) to fund my transition and the deposit for my rented place. From having no accommodation (apart from 2 weeks of company provided stay) to bunking with a community member who openheartedly took me in and who coincidentally happened to work 10 minutes away from where I did.
Sounds incredible, doesn’t it? But that’s not even the important part.
When I look back at how sketchy things actually were, and yet how calm I was – not obsessing over every single detail or making dozens of lists like I usually do, I stop and wonder – How did it all fall into place? I had a sense that I was doing God’s will but how did I know what God wanted?
I’ve always had this notion that doing God’s will, involved some extreme sacrifice or mortification (giving up things I like, or that the worth of the sacrifice depended on how unhappy I felt while making it). There was this pivotal moment in my journey when I had to make the final choice between a really big (and perfect) MNC based in Mumbai, and this little start-up in Bengaluru, when I sensed the Lord say, ‘Go for the little thing’. Now let me clarify. God never forced or manipulated me into doing what he wanted. I always, always had Free Will. What I experienced was that He only revealed what His will was, when I surrendered mine to Him (He’s a gentleman that way). So there I was, at the crossroads, not really sure about doing what he wanted. Of course, I had my reasons but it was mostly because of ‘pride’. This MNC was been courting me for 3 years (and why should you give up on a dream you’ve dreamed of for so long, right?)
But then I had to make a choice: Did I trust God enough to go where ever he wanted to take me, even though I couldn’t see the road ahead?
My yes to that little start-up, and yes to trusting God opened up so many unexpected doors for me. What if I had said no to the start-up and chose a different path. Would God have worked in my life? Of course! But the thing is, my perspective was so microscopic, I wanted so little… just wanted a job change – and God wasn’t just some divine placement agent. He wanted to give me so much more! By surrendering to His will, I not only got a job but a big warm family in the community in Bengaluru, tons of life-long friends, a personality transplant and awesome neighbours. Things that I never knew I wanted, but God knew I needed.
A lot of people have asked me how I discerned it was God’s will guiding me and not my own desires/fear or imagination. I don’t have a formula (and this is not a ‘how to’ article – contact your formators for guidance on discernment). In fact, I was so desolate at that time, I just clung on to the rosary. I could pray nothing else. All I had was a desire to do what God wanted of me and Mama Mary guided me through those dark paths and helped me seek and understand the truth.
To me, (of course I only realised this later) discerning God’s will was less about the final goal or the final choice (Do I take this job? Do I move cities? Is this the ‘one thing’ that will fulfil all my dreams?) It was more about the journey – getting to know God better. It was about desiring his will, believing that he loves me and wants the best for me. It was about obeying Him, no matter where that took me – this journey took me to Bengaluru, then 6 months later, another one took me to a new career but both brought me closer to Him.
Ultimately, this was and is not about me. In spite of all I have witnessed, I still struggle to let go. I still fail and fall and forget to put Him first. See, I’m human. My commitment may waver. My enthusiasm may fail. But then I remember:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.