“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” Steve Jobs
“You have to trust in something…” Wow, this one has been tough for me. There have been so many times when I felt like I didn’t have anything– no dots, no destiny, no karma, no nothing. In these times I’ve felt alone and both angry at God and doubting God at the same time. Weird to think I could hold that there couldn’t be a God and be angry with God at the same time. Things don’t always line up and make sense in my world. I couldn’t understand how there could be a loving God with my life in so much hurt, loss, and destruction. How could a God let my brother die? How could a God let me be raped? I had more questions than answers and didn’t see how any of this could be anything but suffering and pain. I didn’t see any dots or any plan in this at all. My trust was at an all time low.
This was my experience of trying to connect the dots looking forward. It didn’t make sense and I couldn’t see the dots many times. Since I couldn’t see it, I assumed it didn’t exist. I concluded that I must be alone and forsaken. I must have done something bad to disappoint God and fall out of His favor. I must have ruined it, ruined my life. So on some level, I did believe in God and could see Him working and granting favor in other people’s life, just not in mine.
A few days ago I had a profound experience of looking backwards. With this perspective I could see dots along my life path and I could see them beautifully connect. I was astounded. God had been with me all along. God was planting seeds and working in my life in profound ways. I was never alone and never out of His favor. I was overwhelmed with the love I experienced in this moment. I saw my life on a greater plane than I had ever witnessed. I felt the presence of God and felt overwhelming love and joy fill up all my cells. I also felt such loving for myself. I think I saw myself how God must see me, as perfect and capable of anything. Words just seem to fall short to do this justice.
In that moment the dots lit up all through my life. Fascinating how I experienced them in the moment.
1. A speaker came to our middle school and spoke about losing his best friend one night after binge drinking. He shared his guilt about his part in his friend’s death and sang the song, “I Can See Clearly Now.” He shared a message of forgiveness and dedicating his life to helping others not make a similar mistake. I was mesmerized by his talk and had the thought, “I want to do this. I want to have a story and want to use it to help others.” Yet, the very next thought was, “I can’t do this.” I shut the idea down and didn’t think of it again for 20 years.
2. I watched the movie, “Up Close and Personal” when I was in college. Michelle Pfeiffer is a young reporter who wants to make it big. She has huge dreams but doesn’t see how to make them happen. She meets Robert Redford who plays a seasoned reporter. They fall in love and he helps her make her dreams come true. I watched this movie over and over and over again. Something drew me to it in a huge way. My first thought, “I want a love like this.” Second thought, “I’m not good enough. I’ll never have a love like that.” I put the movie away and forgot about it.
3. In my 30s I felt incredibly lost. I was grasping at anything to find meaning, purpose, and direction in my life. I was desperate for a dot and couldn’t see anything. I prayed and prayed for direction and didn’t see it. I decided to make a career change and went back to school. I started a second undergrad degree in Athletic Training. Something spoke to me about it. First thought, “Fitness is important and I want this to be a big part of my life.” Second thought, “Who am I kidding? I’ll never finish this.” I promptly quit and went back to what was comfortable and familiar.
While these events felt very important as they were occurring, I quickly dismissed them with self-doubt and disbelief. Then I forgot all about it. Many years later, fast forwarding to today, an wonderful man came into my life. He quickly found a way into my heart and I knew there was something special about him. I was sitting in my car talking to him on the phone the other day when all the dots aligned. He called excited to share an “a ha” moment. He said he kept feeling like he wanted to write a book and do motivational speaking but it never quite fit. Suddenly it occurred to him that he had helped many other people in his life onto the stage and to find their voice. This was his gift. He said, “It all makes sense to me now, this is what I want to do for you.” In that moment I could see it. I could see the seed planted in middle school with the speaker. I could see the seed of a very important relationship in my life in the movie I watched over and over again. I could see the call for athletic training. He happens to be a personal trainer and a way we connect is in the gym working out together. I know mind, body, and spirit all work together and this relationship just connected all three, and three profound “dots” in my life.
God was never far away. I could never have connected the dots looking forward, but wow are they clear looking back. My willingness, perseverance, grit, and deep trust that there was something more in all of this made it possible for me to now see a glimpse of what God has for me in my life. This is just a glimpse and I’m astounded. I didn’t know such love was possible. I believed in it, but didn’t know it. Not until today. As my favorite teachers often say, “Experience turns faith into knowing.”
The journey requires faith, or trust, or whatever. “You have to trust in something,” as Steve Jobs so well articulated. Embrace the things that speak to your heart. Maybe it’s a book, or a movie, or a quote, or someone in your life. You’re attracted to it for a reason. This is a dot. Where have you dismissed your dots as impossible, not important, or frivolous? Where could you hold on to trust a little tighter? If you’re feeling lost and without guidance or direction, you certainly are not alone. Hold on, the ride isn’t over. There are dots, no doubt, and they do connect. You just have to trust the ride… and trust me, it’s so worth it! You are so worth it.