First, it was the date of publishing.
I remember telling friends and family in the fall of 2014, "The book will be out next summer!" What a huge miscalculation compared to the first winter of 2018.
Second, it was my future.
"If you think I'm going to go through another four years of college after high school, you must be mistaken," I'd tell everyone. Not only am I enrolled to a university for next semester, but I started taking college classes early. (Great opportunity. Not in the plan).
And just when I thought I had enough surprises, a third one came. This time, it was my city.
"The minute I turn eighteen, I'm moving to New York," I told my parents. And, yup! You guessed it. Instead, I'm staying home.
I gave my heart to Christ right before my freshman year of high school. Yet, even before then, I understood that God was radical. I knew the stories in the Bible where God would send people to places they didn't necessarily want to go (i.e., Abraham sent to a land he wasn't familiar with, Jonah to the city of Nineveh, etc.), and that's why I was excited for God to give me my assignment - my foreign land to do His will. However, though I prayed for the destination to be New York (or anywhere outside of my small city in Ohio, for that matter), I was really surprised to hear the big, great, adventurous God who's known for sending people to foreign places and calling people to do things they don't necessarily want to do tell me to stay home.
Certainly, this couldn't be God. He wouldn't ask me to do something so seemingly small, would He?
I remember getting so offended when others told me that moving to New York fresh out of high school wouldn't work. Like excuse me I serve a God who splits seas??? And raises people from the dead??? And I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me??? So yeah, I think I can handle it, thanks though!!!
But when I heard that tiny whisper from God, to stay in the city that I spent my whole high school career anxious to move out of, I was a little confused.
Four years of... "There's nothing to do here." "I can't wait to move out." "I hate this place." "As soon as I turn eighteen..." "I don't even think we're on the map." "When I move to New York, the first thing I'm going to do is..."
...and now the city, my home, that I've let myself hate, is the place where I am called to stay in a time such as this.
Ever since God told me to stay put, I thought, "God, aren't you the guy who told Abraham to go to an unknown place? Isn't that how You do it?" But lately, I've been thinking, what if my home is the unknown place? What if I have a job to do in this city before I can go to another one?
I expected Him to send me to a wild, foreign nation to get me out of my comfort zone, but I'm realizing how staying in my familiar city makes me the most uncomfortable.
Yes, I do have a feeling that if I prayed all the more for New York, God would let me go. But, I also feel that He would only be letting me go without training - sending me to an unknown place with incomplete missions in the place I do know. God isn't holding me back from a dream. He just wants me to fulfill the ones at home first. He's not opposed to my dream of moving to New York City. There's just still more to be done in my city.
So when I finally receive my diploma, when I end that chapter of my life, despite four years of planning otherwise, I will be staying home. And the more I plan for it, the more I see it as an answered prayer.
I always prayed to God that I would never have an office job. I see this as an opportunity to work from home.