One time, while I was on the other side of the world, one of my friends informed me that she and a couple other people had decided they were going to call me Paulina. Apparently, my life reminded them of Paul in some ways. I laughed. Paulina is a funny name. But I also laughed because I felt awkward… I am so unworthy of being compared to PAUL!!! That dude wrote like half the Bible! (slight exaggeration) I’m not like him!
But then I remembered, Paul was pretty unworthy too! And the whole deal with him was – he was a man who did terrible things and then he had an encounter with Jesus and was filled with the Holy Spirit and everything changed. He began living a life directed by and dependent on the Holy Spirit. That’s why his life was so amazing and so beautiful. That’s even why his life was really really zig-zaggy (moving from one place to another) and didn’t necessarily always “make sense.”
And HELLO! That’s my story too! That should be the story of ALL followers of Jesus. Right? Maybe that’s part of our problem these days. We think Paul was the exception – an example that we can’t possibly ever live up to. But what if that’s not the way God intended it? What if He really wants us all to be Pauls (or Paulinas)?
Honestly, and humbly… I relate to Paul these days more than I ever have before. I read this the other day:
When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though a door was opened to for me in the Lord, my spirit was not at rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia.
2 Corinthians 2:12-13
As I read it, I thought… Wow. That’s it. That speaks to why and how I left Asia. Doors were open. But my spirit was not at rest. It’s hard to explain. It doesn’t always make sense – even to me. I miss my friends. So very much. In so many ways, I didn’t want to leave them. And that little podunk town in Asia will forever be one of my “homes” and people there will forever by my family. But, I’ve been learning so much – and they were a part of that process – and I think I did there what I was supposed to do there. And I learned there what I needed to learn there. And now, I don’t know what it’s all going to look like but I do know – in my spirit – that He’s preparing me for something else and it was time to “take leave.” For me, it’s not my brother Titus. I don’t know anyone named Titus. For me, it’s needing to spend some time in another of my place… another “home”… for a season of intentional learning and seeking and doing. And it’s people I haven’t met yet in places/a place I probably haven’t been yet… but someday… maybe.
So maybe I’m a little more like Paul than I thought? And maybe that idea shouldn’t make me feel so uncomfortable?