For the first time in almost a year I thought of how I got to this place in my life. It has been 15months since I started pursuing God with everything I am; just to find that He has been pursuing me my whole life. Back then I was standing at the beginning of a bright and promising career in Dentistry with an unparalleled ambition to make a difference. I was going to conquer the world, alone, one smile at a time! Now, many months later, I find myself on the other side of the world, hardly recognizing that person.
I traded my white coat for a Global Challenge jacket, thinking that after a few months I would just reverse the transaction and get a full refund on my life. This changes nothing. The 20year plan is still in motion but just on hold for a year. But then I started making more trades. At first it was small things that seemed similar: latex gloves for work gloves, mirrors and syringes for note books and blogs, veggies for starch, individual patients for crowds and my car for the privilege of walking. I was still excited, feeling that this new humble season will make me appreciate my luxuries more once I get them back…With the emphasis on WHEN I get them back. If only the trading stopped there…
Sometimes a gamble costs more than you anticipate and you find yourself going all in, giving up the things you worked really hard for, with the hope that it will pay off in the end. So I too went all in: trading not only the salary but also the title, the personal space, the free time and eventually the free will. What did I get for these precious possessions that I have cherished for so long? I got the mandate to lay down my life and ‘die to self’. But I was all in and couldn’t turn back now. So I persevered, still under the illusion that at some point I could go back to how things were… ‘This was just temporary’.
But time reveals all. Now I know there is no going back. There never was. The day I ‘said yes’ to God and He opened my eyes, it was all over. I was all in with that simple ‘yes’ without even knowing it. But He knew and He was patiently waiting for me to surrender and make one last trade: my dreams and plans for His.
On paper I am still the same person: a qualified dentist with some questionable career choices who wants to help people and maybe have a family one day. But in my heart and mind the difference is immeasurable. I am no longer ‘Dr Ambition’. I don’t find my identity in being impressive or smart or important or relevant or needed. I no longer want to conquer the world and make a name for myself. Instead I want my life to lift His name up high. What does that look like? I don’t know yet. For now it is serving tea to refugees and listening to their stories. Yesterday it was planting tomatoes and weeding a garden. Tomorrow it might be teaching music to orphans or wiping the tears off a widow’s cheek. Maybe it means never getting married, never having children or never having a steady income. It will probably only be clear after looking back again in a few years’ time. All I know is that it’s going to be wild, and great and full of Him. Living for Him is an adventure. I cannot be satisfied with anything less. If He gives me a white coat again someday, I will wear it with grace and humility but it will not be the same as before. Some changes cannot be undone…
So here I am, living with only this ambition: to know Him and make Him known. Walking where He leads, in His plans and trusting in Him to carry me through life. There is no going back, and who would want to? I have Him and that is all the assurance I need.
Sometimes you just have to stand still, look back and thank God for the journey.