Updated: Feb 2
What, when, where, and who are all defined, outlined by one word: why. It's the blueprint we perhaps subconsciously lay out, the context our lives are built around. To put it in the words of a four-year-old I nannied, "What does it do?"
She asked it about everything: shoes, chicken nuggets, pool floats, you name it.
It sounds silly, but I think she was onto something.
"What are three reasons you love Michael?" one of my mentors Heather Sanbrock asked.
"He listens well," I said, "and knows when and how to give advice; his relationship with God and continual growth and maturity; the way he challenges me and makes me better; how he makes me genuinely happy; and of course I'm madly attracted to him. Sorry, that was more than three, wasn't it?"
Heather laughed. "It's ok," she said. "Those are good reasons. Most young girls I've asked don't have a real answer to that question."
Besides the fact God's constantly confirming this relationship is where I need to be, my "why" for dating Michael Ferrante is not a question.
He's not my savior, but he is my safe place, protective but not possessive, patient but not passive. He's not perfect, but he's perfect for me.
Why am I telling you this?
Fifteen-year-old me was frazzled when dad asked me why I was head over heels for my first love-interest (before Michael).
I frustratedly told him I didn't know.
I told him that wasn't the point.
I told him that didn't matter because I just loved him.
Now I know. Not knowing "why" (fill in the blank with anything of remote importance) can be detrimental, especially when things get rough.
"Why am I married to you?" some wives questions seven years down the married-life road. Because there's no central wherefore, giving up on what was "love" is the mealy fruit falling into their harvest basket, the dissatisfying soft apple they sink their teeth into.
I don't have any business talking about divorce because I haven't been there, and I pray I never am.
"Where there is no vision, the people perish," Proverbs 29:18's author writes. "But he that keeps the law, happy is he."
The Greek word for "vision" can be translated as revelation and is used in the context of getting direction for individuals, leaders, the nation of Israel, from God (cool, right?).
God's dream for us, His prewritten plot, can be unpredictably difficult and surprisingly sweet when we run with what He says to us on a moment-to-moment basis. Hundreds of years later, Paul tells us,
"Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." ~ 1 Corinthians 10:31
In other words, everything is meant to be worship. So, is what we're doing glorifying God?
Why do you hang out with those people? Why do you eat like that? Why do you drink so, much, coffee? (That last one was for me.) And is it pointing to Heaven or living on an earth-bound level?
I'm transferring to an out-of-state university come this fall. It was between Regent University, five hours out, and Oral Roberts University, way across the country. The one 24 hours away (plus stops) has not just a music minor; it has a worship minor.
Why is that so important? Because even though my major is creative writing with a publishing certificate, worship is my heartbeat.
Kid me would play games of pretend and sing spontaneous songs to Jesus on the swings because He was (and will always be) my best friend, the only one I knew would never leave.
Putting mood-matching melodies to what I wanted to say to God is my way of connecting with Him; it's how I find intimacy with Jesus. Music is the most vulnerable, raw place I can go. There, I am fully myself. I've found if I'm not engaging with God in my music, it has no real worth—not to me anyway. And if it has no value to me, who's to say it will be good for anyone else?
Not to rant, but is it just me or have you noticed a widespread "why" famine in our generation eating at our end-results like termites tearing down an old treehouse: slowly and invisibly until it's collapsing from the inside out.
Because someone else is, because (insert arbitrary idea open to subjective, personal definition like love), or because your parents did/said so is not good enough. And because you want to or feel like it isn't either. Feelings and desires fluctuate like the weather in Wilmington, North Carolina: humidly sun-bathed one second, dark and down-pouring the next.
Gabby is inspiringly bold and sure-footed, confident, founded in the Father's heart for her, and most of our conversations lead to deep, enriching places.
A month ago, she moved to Germany to be a live-in nanny. I'm so excited for her and sad to be without her in the country for a whole year, but I know this is exactly what she needs to be doing. Why? Because I trust her ability to hear God, her conviction to follow Him anywhere He leads.
That's her reason for embarking on her adventure.
That's my reason for moving twenty hours from home at twenty years old.
Paul said this addressing the Athenians:
'And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him. Yet He is actually not far from each one of us, for "'In Him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, "'For we are indeed His offspring.'' ~ Acts 17:26-28
And His promise is that when we seek the kingdom first, everything else will fall into place; it will be added to us. He's a good Father. He takes care of His kids.
When our why is relationship, when our why is His love, when our why is Him, in the long run, we will never be let down because Love never fails. He never fails.