Lately, I have been doing some soul-searching.

There were answers to my questions.

Not the answers I wanted, but definitely the answers I needed.

2×4’s are sometimes the most useful method to get the point across.


My friend Tonya and I sat on my balcony at 3AM, sipping tea and looking for meteors out in the sky and talking about life.

We often meet but we rarely get time when we can introspect and talk about deep things. I like those times.

“I think God is definitely working in my life right now…” I said. “It seems like He is using the circumstances in my life to get me depending on Him only.”

She looked at me.

“Well,” I wasn’t sure how to explain it because I am still trying to figure out the plan, but I tried, “unless I learn to be dependent on Him only, my dreams won’t come true.”

Right before that we talked about the future and families and boyfriends (that are, at the moment, nonexistent).

“At the moment, I guess the reason why I want a family is because I need to be needed.” A couple of books that I’ve read mentioned that need in passing, but for me it was like an arrow straight at me.

I look back and I realize it’s true.

I remember one time when I somehow got to be the camp director.

The camp was great, everyone enjoyed it and they told me I did a good job.

To be honest? That was the toughest camp for me.

Not because of the problems. There were almost none.

I disliked being a camp director because delegating jobs to others is not my thing.

My friend Fedya is great at managing people. He thrives when he gets to do it and he does it well.

I, on the other hand, kept asking the counselors “Can I help you somehow?” and in return got the cheery “Nah, we got it under control, thanks!”

They weren’t being mean. They really had everything under control.

But I was lost.

I had no idea what to do.

People were organized, the tasks were being done, the “mechanism” was working… and I was an odd wheel standing and observing.

I am an observer, but I don’t like observing from outside.

… Sometimes I ask God, “Why am I still here? Why can’t You take me to Your place?”

Every single time, I get the answer, “I need you here.”

It’s not an audible voice from Heaven. It’s not a hand writing on the wall. It’s… an understanding. It’s the best I can describe it.

“I need you here.”

And you know? Those words have a calming effect.

I do realize that God can do supernatural things – and I know that if I would refuse to do what He asks me to do, He would use someone else to reach His goal. Yet, for some reason, He prefers to stick to pretty natural things and beings. Guess it helps the entire free will idea.

A friend of mine, a former missionary to Ukraine, once told me on the phone, “You are needed there.”

It was a first day of my trip with a Work&Witness team, but for them a week has already passed. I was busy translating for another team when these guys came. On my only day off between the trips, I got into an argument with a guy who was responsible for the teams back in those days.

The argument hurt. Mostly because I considered that guy a friend who knew me and instead I basically felt stabbed in the back. And yet the very next day, we had to travel to that other team. 4-hour train ride, side by side, not speaking a word to each other – because, frankly, I didn’t know what to say (and I didn’t trust my voice).

The first day with the team was miserable. It was cold, I didn’t know anyone, the people there already knew each other, no one needed translation because they already were using the international language of signs…

“Cliff, can I go home? I am tired, I just came from working with another team, I had only one day off… There are several other interpreters here,” I begged in the evening when I called the missionary friend.

“You are needed there. Stay put.”

I hung up, feeling defeated.

The very next day was Sunday and I got to talk more with the team and made friends. By the end of the week when it was time for good byes, I was thankful I obeyed Cliff.

As I look back now, I see the beautiful tapestry of careful planning on God’s side – something I couldn’t see in the midst of the situation all those years ago.

“You are needed there.”

God has placed desires in my heart.

Yet, again, unless I trust Him completely (and not try to find a crutch on the side)… those desires will remain just desires.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow.

However, I am glad that I do know what the problem is.

There is only a little thing left:

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.

Proverbs 3:5-6, MSG

Trusting God, not myself.

Depending on God, not looking for someone strong to take care of me.

Knowing that I am here for a reason, not just for the heck of it.

And one day, I will once again look back and praise God for His guidance through the gloomy times.

(But, God, it’s so hard to break the people-pleasing addiction.)

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