Esther Pavao
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

–Rudyard Kipling
Esther Pavao
I have reached a point in my life where I feel like I should know what I'm doing next. I want to know "what I want to be when I grow up" and I want to start working towards it now. There's just one problem with that. I don't know. While a lot of my friends already have their lives laid out and have started pursuing their dreams, I am still wondering what on earth I'm supposed to be doing here. Medical work makes me squeamish and I have no desire to be a doctor/nurse. I don't write music, just sing it, and so I don't think I'll be making a career of music.

Frankly, there's just nothing that I've stumbled across that "makes my heart beat faster" or I've dreamed of being since I was little. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a pirate, a naturalist (Steve Erwin was my ultimate hero when I was 12 and 13 before I realized I was actually kind of scared of crocodiles.), and the president of the United States. Since none of those options seem very likely, and I'm not particularly interested in them any more, (except the pirate, that'd be pretty cool) I don't have a lifelong dream.

And I have a confession, I'm not that great with kids. Babies, I can handle. Vesper's age I get along fine with. I tell them what to do, they listen, if they don't, I show them who's in charge and then we have fun together. No problem. Then they get to this age that I become totally clueless. I have no idea what kids think about and even how to talk to them. My friends laugh endlessly about this, but it's true. I honestly cannot remember what I thought about when I was like 5, 6, 7, up until I was about 12. Then I was a total tomboy until I hit puberty. I didn't even brush my hair if I could get away with it. All that to say that I doubt I'd be comfortable in a career with kids like running an orphanage or something.

My brother says I have no hope in a political career. He says I'm too emotional and can't stay calm when people fire me up. Possibly true, though my roommate is correct in saying that I couldn't handle all the arguing with people. I'm already naturally argumentative, she says, and don't need any encouragement in that area. Ouch...but she's right too.

I've been praying for an answer to this. I started feeling restless and discontent and feeling like there was something else. I don't want to spend the rest of my life working and cooking and wondering what else there is for me. It seems to me that I'd already know, despite my mom's indignant response that I am only 18 and have plenty of time to figure it out.

In answer to my prayers...

I was looking through my notebook that I keep with my bible yesterday, and found the notes that I took while I was in Mexico. I found a page that I didn't remember writing, though reading it, I faintly recalled looking up the verses. It was simple; it just said

Jason: Matthew 8:9
Nicole: Phillipians 4:11

Curious, I looked up the verses. Matt 8:9 was "For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." I remember writing that. I was thinking about the authority Jason has with the men in the village in Mexico. When he speaks, everyone listens. When he suggests something, there's no hesitation, just instant obedience. The men and women there love him and it's clear he has God's authority. I feel like he got that from his own obedience to God and what He had for him and his obedience to God is evident. The greatest leaders are the ones who have followed first.

Nicole's verse, Phillipians 4:11, was the one that hit me. It says simply, "I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in." It goes on to talk about in prosperity and in meager times, but the part I was referring to stops there. That is what I admire about Nicole, and Amy Carmichael and others like them. They have learned to be content in whatever circumstances God places them, even if it requires moving to Mexico away from everyone and everything you know to work, almost entirely alone, for what could very possibly become the rest of your life or being stuck in bed in pain and unable to walk for the remainder of your life.

I admire that because I know that I do not have that. I am unable to be content even though I have everything necessary to live, a job I like and job for income, a family who loves me, and food to eat. I have a roof over my head and clothes on my back. I have far more than most people in this world, and yet I am not content with my lot in life.

Partially, I think this is a good thing. I think it will drive me to serve and give of what I've been given. But the truth is, God put me where I am for a reason. I am here for something and if I spend all my time looking for the next thing, I will totally miss what God has for me here. Somehow, I have to learn to be happy where I am and trust that God is holding my future in His hands and will reveal it to me a step at a time.

One of my favorite songs is Step by Step by Rich Mullins because it's "step by step You'll lead me" not "You'll show me where I'm going." It says nothing about knowing God's plan, simply that "I will follow You all of my days." It doesn't specify "only if You show me where I'm going" just "I will follow."

That was a bit longer than expected. All that to say that I am constantly having to remind myself that the step God has me taking right now is to not step. To sit still and learn to be content here. And when the next step  comes, I'll take that one. I don't have to worry about my future, I'm taking it one step at a time.
Esther Pavao
Be what you would seem to be -- or, if you'd like it put more simply -- Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise. ~ Lewis Carroll