My wife steps out from the shower and finds me in the other room doing sit-ups; an episode of The Office is playing on my computer propped up on the couch in front of me. I’ve got socks pulled up to my knees. She stands in the doorway, her hair still wet around the shoulders. The shirt she’s wearing belongs to me. I stop at the designated “sit” part of my exercise. She appears to be in shock. In all the time we have spent together, she has never seen me exert strenuous physical motion intended to improve my physic.
“What are YOU doing?” She points an accusatory finger at me like I’ve been caught staring too long at a Victoria’s Secret commercial.
“I’m exercising?” I throw some emphasis on the question mark and smile.
“Oh. I forgot to shave my other leg in the shower,” she says. She tells me this like she forgot to pick up milk on her way home. Steve Carrell makes a joke about being black. No one laughs.
Everything just seems a bit off. A moment of, “What exactly are we doing with our lives?” wedges its way between us.
We are sleeping in a half-finished basement in the backwoods of Oregon while trying to start a new life together. We’ve got a hotplate, a microwave, and a mini fridge; a shower that’s too small, and plenty of well water to drink. We can’t afford a puppy, but there’s a mouse with a striking resemblance to Speedy Gonzales in both color and speed living in our shoes. I could have sworn the other day he was wearing a sombrero.
There is a window. Which is nice. It looks straight out into the dark woods towering over us. At night, it’s the kind of window you expect to see the living dead pressing their decaying faces against the poorly insulated glass wondering how to eat you.
Seriously though. It’s cozy down here. I promise.
Also, I can’t be certain, but I think I’ve had at least two Bigfoot sightings.
After being homeless for 11 months and living on the road, trying to settle in to a domesticated life isn’t as easy as I thought.
I arrived in Portland – the center of Hipster Universe where the only social classes are divided into Christians, Anarchists, people with beards, and people without beards – thinking this is where God had called me to.
But now that I am here, I can’t quite be certain if it was God’s voice or my own delusional plans for my life that lead me here.
I kept thinking to myself, “Well, Donald Miller lives here and he’s a writer. I could live here too then.”
Only I’m not Donald Miller. I am Max Dubinsky.
So I can’t help but wonder, Is this where I am supposed to be?
When I hit the road back in March, I rarely prayed about where God wanted me to go next. I would simply go. Because as long as I was working with God, I knew He would work through me wherever I went.
If I had sat around praying all day for God to make it clear where He had wanted me next, I’d still be in LA right now planning the trip.
We can’t always sit around waiting for a green light from God. Sometimes we have to just go and have the faith that the light is going to be green by the time we reach the intersection. For faith is the vehicle which allows God to be God.
Yet every day that passes here in Portland I feel lost and blind. I find myself telling God that I want to work for Him. What does He want me to do and where does He want me to do it?
Sometimes these are the wrong questions.
My friend Joey said to me recently, “You have to know what you want and who you want to be. If God created you, then He created you for a specific calling.” Joey asked not what I wanted “to do” but what I wanted “to be.” “You’re a human being. So go BE and the rest will follow.”
Me? I want to write novels that take readers to extraordinary places and make them face themselves in the end.
I want to free men and women from the lie of pornography.
I want to be a loving husband.
I want to be a father.
I want to be a son and a brother.
I want to be generous.
I want to be a man after God’s own heart wherever I am.
I just want to be.
Moses asked the burning bush, “Who are you!?”
And God responded, “I am who I am.”
We are created in the likeness of the One who said, “I am who I am.”
Which means I am who I am too.
I am not what I do.
I am not my job.
I am not where I live.
I am not an ex porn addict.
I am not a recovering alcoholic.
I am not my mistakes.
I am not my emotions.
The question, “Is this where I am supposed to be?” is only half right.
Today I am supposed to be. The where is irrelevant.
I used to do what I thought God wanted me to do. Sacrifice everything, serve in the church, volunteer at every opportunity, read my Bible every morning, pray every night, give to the poor, and share my testimony. Yet I remained perpetually unhappy. Because I never knew who I was in all of that. And while all those things are good, they can be death if you’re doing them to become a better Christian instead of doing them to be yourself.
We must be who God created us to be before we can do what God is calling us to do.
Copyright © September 2011 || Make It MAD