During the last 8-ish years that I lived with my mom, I always knew exactly what gifts I would be receiving on Christmas morning. I knew because I unwrapped those gifts way before Christmas day. And then I would wrap them back. I could never wait until Christmas morning to know what those boxes held, and I would spend days perfecting my surprised face.

Side note to my mother who is probably reading this: I am sorry I was such an impatient punk. You rule. And you’re beautiful. And you’re perfect. 

One year I got a punching bag for Christmas (I carried a lot of anger as a child and I needed to let it out somehow), and I remember trying to shake the box to see what it was because it was so large. The weight of the box alone revealed what it was, but I still wanted to unwrap part of it just to make sure it was the punching bag that I asked for. Then on Christmas morning, I did the whole “Mom! Thank you soooo much!!” I think my mom believed I was completely surprised, or maybe she knew I was faking it because she knows how I am.

Now that I have moved out, I never know what my mother is getting me for Christmas. And I’m okay with that because I now love unexpected surprises.

Sometimes people ask questions that I don’t know the answers to. It would be nice to know the answers beforehand, kind of how I knew what my Christmas gifts were before December 25th.

“What exactly is it that you want to do?”
“And where do you want to be?”
“Are you going to move overseas or stay in The States?”

These are questions that I strongly disliked a couple years ago. I could never give people an accurate answer. It wasn’t because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. However, I have never known all of the details. Not having details used to be a disappointment to me, but I’m learning to appreciate the lack of details.

Being young and in full-time ministry, you get asked about your dreams, goals, and the vision for your life pretty often. It’s always THE topic when you meet peers at conferences, on mission trips, in small groups, etc.

I once heard someone overseas answer these questions confidently, as if God literally descended from heaven just to tell that individual what each day would look like and how their future will unfold. Their answers reminded me of how Christmas morning used to be for me.

I’ve also heard people at conferences stumble on their words, attempting to come up with an inspiring answer. It’s always painful to witness these people answer questions about their futures. Their answers remind me of what Christmas morning looks like for me now.

I’m not saying that God can’t speak clearly to you, nor am I saying that it’s alright to not carry any vision for your life. There is definitely a healthy balance when it comes to knowing all of the details. The balance is pretty simple. It’s contentment.

Recently, I have read Love Does by Bob Goff, where he talks about all the different ways God uses people. He never says that someone has literally heard the audible voice of God. Instead, he writes about the journeys and adventures that people go on as they are walking in obedience to God’s will. I think he words it beautifully as he talks about his personal life:

“I think God passes by me a lot, and it serves to show me the direction He’s going. We don’t always know where He’s headed or what to expect along the way. But I think direction is the point, the part, and the whole of it. He wants followers, not just onlookers or people taking notes. Plus, I think God knows that if I found out more than just the direction He was going, I’d probably try to beat Him there. And if He spoke to me with something audible, I’d probably mess it up and mishear Him.”

One of the many beautiful things about God is that he thoroughly knows each of us. He knows our thought process and how we receive things. I know that may be understood and seems simple. However, it’s not that simple because we complicate it from time to time.

Personally, I think God has kept many of the details from me because He knows I’ll  jump the gun as I figure things out. He knows that I have a spirit of spontaneity. He has seen me unwrap and rewrap Christmas gifts year after year.

God has definitely taught me patience since I moved away from home 4 years ago, and I think I will forever be learning about patience. I’ll never know everything there is to know about patience or God’s will for my life, but that’s what is so beautiful about walking with God!

Sure, I get to travel the world and love on people, and that’s what I long to do for the rest of my life. But that doesn’t mean I know exactly what my future holds. It only means I’m learning to trust the one who is leading me. For years, I battled with the frustration of not knowing what was next, but I am learning to take it all one day at a time.

God may have given you a peek at your gifts, but it’s in His perfect timing that you will be able to unwrap them and use them at full capacity.

So in the meantime, relax! Rest assured that your life is in the hands of a beautiful Artist who can make something so marvelous out of you and the gifts that He placed inside of you. Plus, you may have gifts that are still being developed as you go through life’s processes.

When Jesus invites us on an adventure, He shapes who we become with what happens along the way.” -Bob Goff, in Love Does


Korene Hankins

Korene is a missionary, a daughter, a dreamer, a friend, and a writer. She is a lover of Jesus, people, and traveling. Simplicity is what she reaches for, and fruitfulness is what she lives for. For 18 years, she lived in a small town in Mississippi, daydreaming of her future. In 2010, God interrupted her daydreams and called her to Memphis to live out her greatest desire to travel the world and love His people. Since Korene has said yes to God’s calling, she has encountered the most incredible people with the most incredible stories of how God has transformed their lives. And now, she have the opportunity to work for her church as an intercity and international missions coordinator.

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