Events of the week has placed me firmly outside my comfort zone, which, oddly enough, serves as another comfort zone for me. Not that I'm anything in the neighborhood of comfortable, nor will I be for the foreseeable future. Crisis, however, is my natural state in many regards, calling forth ways of being, thinking, and doing that lie dormant much of the time. Perhaps that's one of the reasons writing feels more necessary and natural now, too.
Crisis also calls on faith in a different way. Not that there haven't been plenty of reasons to cry out to, depend on, and hope in God in recent months, but when those reasons are more directly personal, so is my faith (or my need for faith, because God knows I don't always have it, and don't always exercise what I do have). Put another way, God knows how to speak to me in the midst of my self-involvement, even when I'm not sure how to listen (or if I want to). My steps are at best stumbling, but the rougher terrain changes the very nature of walking at all.
I've also been present in different ways than I might have otherwise been, appreciating relationships and possibilities I simply might not have noticed in the same light previously. That's a gift regardless of the circumstance in which it has come, and where I find myself will probably continue to push me in that direction, sometimes beyond my comfort. I'm going to need people to see me in ways that they might not now and may never have. That's something I always want (don't we all?), but rarely try to force—it feels better to be sought and discovered than to draw attention to myself, but sometimes one must do the latter.
Being more "in" some of those relationships is going to be riskier for barlow_girl and me than it would be in different circumstances. There are burdens we can't share with most, for their own sakes, and it's been a while since that's been such a significant part of being with others for me. Withholding feels weird sometimes, and we have to remain aware that it's really, without a doubt for the best, and not at all born of self-protection. It's for their sake far more than for ours, and any cost that incurs for us is something we have to trust God to repay. Many relationships, even more casual ones, will have more on the line than we're used to—there's more to lose, for all parties. Stewardship of that matters, and being less present because of our fears probably isn't faithful.
So forward we go, not on the path we'd have chosen, but on the one we're on. That's what following looks like sometimes, and we have to trust that our Shepherd is sovereign and good, because that's the truth.