The Question

When I was hanging out with Ellen in Tallahassee on Saturday, she posed the following question to me:

"So what do you want to do with your life, Nate?"

Having learned to give direct answers in my Expert Witness Training last July, I responded:

"I don't know."

Ellen wasn't the first person to ask me that question, and she won't be the last. I ask it myself almost everyday. I don't have an answer yet.

A little over four years ago, I had what I've called a crisis of faith, where I wrestled honestly with Christianity and asked tough questions along the lines of "Is this really true?" The answer was "Yes, and though the arguments for the Christian faith are strong, the reason I believe is that I experienced the love of God through Jesus Christ." Faith is less a matter of the head than a matter of the heart. I'm convinced this is true for everyone, no matter what they believe (or, in the case of Sam Harris, don't believe).

The four years since have been the best of my life so far. In the fall of 2002, three of my best friends - Eric, Jeff, and Kelly - moved back to Austin after lengthly absences. At that same time, my church moved to its current location at 45th and Red River (taking the name "Red River Church") and began a fruitful partnership with Hope Chapel in the Hope Student Life (HSL) college fellowship. Through serving in the leadership of HSL, I watched dozens of good kids grow into men and women who will do much to advance the kingdom of God, and I've seen a lot of growth in myself too. Professionally, I achieved the goal I set for myself coming out of school by becoming registered as a professional engineer in the state of Texas, and I have a job that I describe as "being a lot like Texas Country Reporter, except that when I travel around Texas, I design power lines." Oh, and Texas won a national championship in football, winning the most exciting college football game ever. God is good...

...and He calls us to move from glory to glory. I stepped off of staff at HSL prior to this fall (The time was right), and I'm praying about what the next step in my life is. Here are a few ideas I've had (and I would welcome more in the comments below...):

1) Stay at LCRA, and enter the Baylor Executive MBA Program (This is the fashionable thing for engineers in my position to do, and I dig the Baylor program a lot).

2) Travel around the United States for a month (perhaps on an old BMW motorcycle), going to diverse communities of faith around the country and writing about it.

3) Lead a small group at Red River for people in "the wasteland of their 20's", a community where we can share meals, pray for and share with one another, and welcome non-believers to dine with us (as Jesus did).

4) Move to a city in another part of the country to go to graduate school in City Planning (Ellen thought Ithaca, NY and Cornell would be a good place, but I'm guessing it's cold there.), or to take a job as a consultant engineer (another trend among those around me).

5) Move to Russia and take a role discipling young Christians and working to help start and maintain transitional homes for orphans coming out of orphanages (It's definitely cold in Russia).

6) Become a homeless drifter (my old standby).

That's just a sampling - there are literally thousands of things I can do with my life that would benefit the world and challenge me. My goal is to narrow my focus and find a few things I can commit to doing for the next 10 to 20 years of my life.

My first gut feeling is that I will leave Austin for a few years. I love Austin as much as any man can love his city, but I also know that "the next step" will likely take me elsewhere. When most of my dinner conversations are some variation on "Austin is the greatest place in the world because...", it might be time to go somewhere else for awhile.

My second gut feeling is that there is one thing I do know I want in this next phase of my life: a wife and family. I do not want a wife so badly that I would settle for someone I don't love or rush into something rashly, and I don't want to grasp for something (or someone) that is not the will of God for me. That said, the greatest grace that God has granted me is my ability to love others, and I feel like I'm made to have a family.

So there it is. I appreciate your prayers and wisdom in this. Godspeed.


At 1:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe after you live a little bit in NYC and then move to Russia you'll grow to like the snow and the wind and -25C outside for 4months and wont change it for anything in the world :) - natasha


Post a Comment

<< Home