Delayed Milestones, Idolatry, and Trusting Without Borders

Earlier last month I visited the doctor’s clinic because I was not feeling well. It’s a stone’s throw away from where I live so walking was not a problem. The doctor has been my siblings’ and mine attending physician since we were infants (aside from another doctor who gave us our vaccinations). Naturally, most of my medical records are in the clinic’s archives. While waiting for my turn in the doctor’s office, I asked the secretary if I could take a look at them. I started from the recent ones then went my way up to my first ever doctor’s appointment as a baby. Some of the dates listed I recalled, and there are some dates not listed but I recall being sick (I might have gone to a different doctor). But there were two records that stood out. There were two doctor’s notes attached at the end. Both of the papers were already yellowing or browning. I tried my best to read what was written. I was surprised. The notes were written by a different doctor addressed to my doctor. The contents say that I have delayed milestones and that I might have had mild dystonia. I asked my mother about this and confirmed that as a baby, I started walking late. Actually, I was only able to start walking properly after sessions from a therapist. Apparently, mild dystonia means my leg muscles were not working right. It is treatable since I walk in a normal fashion and even took up ballet in my childhood. Although quite startling, it’s not the mild dystonia that stuck with me. It’s the phrase “delayed milestones”.

From early on, I’ve had delayed milestones. In context, it means physical milestones as to the growth and development of a child. Somehow, twenty years later, “delayed milestones” has a different meaning.

I was supposed to graduate from university this semester. However, I could not finish my thesis in time for the deadline. One could actually argue that I could still try and finish my thesis and say that there’s still the possibility of participating in the graduation ceremonies. Possible, yes. But do I want to? I’d get to that later.

Ever since the beginning of the school year I’ve been declaring that I’d be graduating by the end of the second semester. There had been many challenges but by God’s grace, I’d overcome them. To me, my thesis was just another piece of cake I could eat in one opening of my mouth, a puddle I could easily skip over. I thought, “God got me out of other impossibilities, what’s this one to fuss about?” The first semester had come and gone I was too proud. I had the sense of entitlement that God’s got my back. I hadn’t thought whether if it’s actually what God wants for me. By the start of the second semester, I was already having thoughts of the possibility of delaying my graduation.

There are so many factors leading to my delay. Obviously, God has other plans. Another delayed milestone. It doesn’t mean that I’m not excellent enough. It just means that I need to take a step back and breathe.

My head was in places. The image of me graduating in spite of just technically “winging” my thesis has become, hard to admit, an idol. With that mindset, I was relying on my abilities. To me, it was I who was great.Unintentionally, I wasn’t giving God enough credit.

Months passed from the beginning of the crucial semester. I had the choice to try to pursue and try to put my heart to it, or just accept defeat and graduate later than I projected. I decided to let go. There’s no use in trying to put my heart into something I’m dreading. I need a break and start again from somewhere. That was my back-up plan. It turns out, my plan B was God’s real plan after all. I was too stubborn to realize or to admit it.

I read somewhere that we should be careful with what we sing in praise and worship. I recall that the article was pertaining to Hillsong’s “Oceans”. (Read it here: Stop Singing Oceans). In the song, the bridge goes

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me” “Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, that my faith would be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior”

One should not sing that song if he or she is not prepared, or if his or her idea of trusting God without borders is actually up until someone’s comfort zone. Nope. Trust without borders. Only God knows whether wherever He wants to lead you is inside or out of your comfort zone (most of the time, out). Right now, I am out of one of my borders, my comfort zones. It was in my comfort zone that I planned to graduate on time, take a few months off, then pursue whichever work I’d set my heart upon.

It was in my comfort zone where I made a short term timetable on what I should be doing. But because of a single event, everything has changed. I’ve been jarred from my schedule. It’s one of my pet peeves. Yet, who am I to complain to God? Right now, I could sing Oceans wholeheartedly and without hesitation. No buts, no what ifs, no what abouts. It’s just me and God. Although I know the minor steps I should take, the major ones are subject to what or where God directs me to. My trust is without borders.

Someday soon, I’d use this photo as my display photo on my social media accounts. I’d post it on instagram. But for now, it’ll be here to serve as a reminder of the greater things to come.

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