It’s been a both and day. Those words keep popping up for me. I was thinking through several situations this morning and they were echoing in my ears. During a skype conference, there they were. In conversations following, yes, both and came up again.
The phrase by itself sounds weird. Both. And. Wait. What? It’s more the response to the question “Will it either be this or that?” Either/Or. One or the other. This pathway or that one. No, I’m choosing Both/And.
I feel like a lot of situations in my life have been the Either/Or type. You can do this or you can do that. You can have this or have that. It’s lead to a myopic view of situations. Sort of like a divergent path. I can choose this path, which will lead one direction that is good, but is it the best? I can choose the other path, which is also good, however it may lead a totally different direction.
Often in my life I felt like I wanted the better path, but didn’t have the tools to get there. I saw the destination at the end of the path, and that I could take a few steps now, but then part of the path was missing or really narrow. I would usually not take this one because it was scary. And overwhelming. It was Either/Or. I would usually choose the first path. Sometimes still overwhelming and scary, but it was the direction of the momentum. Or the direction that outside influences had on me.
So as I’ve approached my life the last several years I’ve envisioned the Either/Or path. I actually see a Y shaped path. One side has been my job and family. Not an easy path by any means. It’s meant nurturing children on my own, fighting for their health and education, and seeing that I am there for them. It’s also meant working a lot of hours to provide for them. The other side of the Y has been the path I have not travelled. It’s a path of big dreams and goals; following the calling God has placed on my life including writing, teaching, speaking and ministry in a much larger context.
Until this point I have felt like it’s an Either/Or. And really, the second path didn’t seem like an option at all. I think that has created a great deal of tension and anxiety for me. Feeling called one direction, knowing my responsibilities, and having a heart for both. I’ve sat in prayer for many hours over this and wrestled with God at times. Feeling pulled, burdened, diverged in my soul.
During a recent time of prayer however, God revealed in a mighty way it is Both/And. He took the Y shape that I imagined and closed the gap, making one straight path. It’s not an Either/Or with Him, it’s a Both/And in HIS timing. I can be a mother in local ministry AND be faithful to His grander calling. I can do both. So it’s time to quit walking on a singular, narrow Either/Or path. His path is big enough for Both/And. With His strength I’m ready to walk on the Both/And path.