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« Seeing Stars | Main | Is God there in the midst of our suffering? »

August 09, 2007

Blog-a-Book: Overriding Autopilot

Cockpit2 I’m at the end of autopilot, as Jen Marshall would put it. Marshall gives a great illustration of what life is like before and after college. Up until graduation, every child, teen, and adult is on autopilot. She says:

Many of us grew up thinking [a home, kids, car, house, suburban lifestyle] would all come along as a matter of course. Those were the days of autopilot. Forward motion didn’t require much thought or deliberation; third grade propelled to fourth grade, fourth to fifth, and so on. Each fall brought new school clothes and lunchboxes, and every so often a new addition to the routine, like basketball or French or a new kid in class. Entering high school was a major milestone, but it only reset the clock for another four years. After that it’s fairly easy to coast through the next several years on autopilot. The course is well defined, and decisions come along on an established timetable: choose a college, choose a major, get a job (or go to grad school).

So as I sit here typing this, I can’t help but realize that I am at the very end of autopilot as I know it. I graduated from college, am finishing up my internship, and then voila, REAL WORLD, BABY! No one prepared me for this feeling, for these experiences, for real life (to be as cliché as possible)!

What happens next is completely unknown. And what frustrates many women in this situation is knowing that they have to face these uncertainties alone, with no life partner in tow, with no lover who automatically shows up in their automatic worlds of autopilot to whisk them away to happily ever after. No, the uncertainties are many, and the insecurities that come with it are dense. I use this word because sometimes they’re so overwhelming you don’t know what to do with them and can’t define them all.

This might just be me, but sometimes my mind gets so muddled that I don’t know what to think. I want to be hopeful, because I know God has the best for me in mind, but at the same time, I’m just depressed because nothing is the way I thought it would be by this time. I think a woman realizes, It’s not as easy as it looked when I was a child. She finds herself excited for the future but also wonders what’s to become of her.

This is when we must not give up! This is the time when our lives begin to really be changed, transformed, and the directions in which we’re headed become more defined and real. We become more confident in who we are and what we want to do.

Autopilot is good for a time, but it can’t go on forever or we’ll eventually run out of gas and crash! This is when we need to get in the cockpit and make some decisions for ourselves; autopilot can no longer handle these twists and turns.

Marshall says, “We . . . find out that God’s work doesn’t have us all on the same route. We learn to discern God’s guidance and develop a compass for life. We grow in understanding of what it means to walk with God.”

This is the time when we grow the most. I’m realizing this more and more as I get closer and closer to being confronted face to face with the real world and the fact that I haven’t yet achieved some of the things I thought I would by this point in my life. But just because of that, I can’t let myself get discouraged … this is the time to be strong and certain of the path that God has set before me, and I want to encourage you to do the same.

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