One of my favorite metaphors for life and the Christian faith is that of a tapestry. Tapestries are unique in that they often look like artwork, telling a story through pictures, symbols, or designs. Look at the back of a tapestry, and all you can see is a mess. It looks like the loom went haywire, weaving in and out without any rhyme or reason. Some of the threads don’t even seem to connect, and you can’t see why they’re there in the first place. Other threads travel on forever. It certainly doesn’t look like a masterpiece.
Isn’t this how life often feels? We tend to try to connect all the dots, fitting our lives into one linear experience perfectly plotted by God. But that’s not really how God works. He allows us to make decisions for ourselves, to seek after Him while forming our own path. Sometimes our experiences and situations don’t teach us the most obvious lessons, and sometimes we don’t immediately see the fruits of those lessons. Sometimes what we go through is a consequence of our own actions, and sometimes it’s just life playing out in a broken, sinful world. Regardless, this journey of becoming that we’re all on doesn’t always make sense.
For me, this has been a frustrating experience. I’m a dreamer and a planner. I like things to fall into place where I think they belong. But God’s plan isn’t always so perfectly sorted out. As we see in the Bible, the gospel is messy; it turns people’s preconceptions and ideas on their heads. Jesus’s message and mission is simple, but yet, to so many, it made no sense and seemed to be completely counter-intuitive.
Part of God’s character, I would argue, is His mystery—His ability to surprise. It took me a long time to become comfortable with this. I like control; I like to know what’s going on. And throughout my journey of becoming, God has challenged those parts of me over and over again—challenged me to take risks, to seek adventure, to put my full trust in His goodness and love.
This journey of becoming has continuously pushed me to seek after who God really is. It has forced me to dive into adventure, to get outside of my own world, to be okay with not having all the answers. I’m not saying it’s always easy and that I always get it right, but I’m definitely on my way to having a faith that doesn’t depend on the circumstances around me and only relies on knowing Christ’s goodness and grace.
I think that especially when we’re in our 20s, we have this false idea that someday our lives will somehow finally come together—we’ll know where we’re going, who we are, what we want. But, I’ve been learning over and over that the journey to pursue Christ is not about making it to that point (because we probably never will). It’s about learning and growing and continuing to chase after God. And that journey looks a lot more like the back of a tapestry than a neat, nice line.
Life is messy. We meet people, do things, go through seasons that don’t seem to connect to anything else. We go through trials, have unmet expectations, and have journeys that we never thought we would have—like the threads on the back of a tapestry. The thing about a tapestry is that when you turn it over, you can see how the threads led to the design, how the colors fit together, how the pattern was woven to create a beautiful piece of art. By pursuing God, we will follow those threads regardless of where they might lead, and we won’t let broken dreams, unmet expectations, or fear stop us from living a life fulfilled by Christ alone. And in the end, we will see the other side of the tapestry, the beautiful story of God’s redemption that we chose to be a part of by following Him on this journey of becoming.