The Obvious Decision

One of the most tangible times I have experienced God’s presence was during my second year of college. After another failure in learning French, followed by a series of stressful cultural situations, I sat down on the corner of the sidewalk. There, under the shadows of the Eiffel Tower, I curled up and wondered Was this the right decision?

When I first heard of a this college in Paris, I knew I had to apply. When acceptance and financial aide fell into place and when a trip during dreary February confirmed that I could imagine living in the city of lights for four years, the choice to move abroad seemed like a no-brainer.

Until it wasn’t. Until learning French didn’t come as easily as I’d hoped. Until the eight-hour time difference to call home to ask for advice seemed like an eternity. Until living all alone in a cute little studio at 19 made the idea of dorm rooms filled with instant community seem alluring.

So, there on the street, I felt lost and confused and questioning my easy decision. And then I felt something, a presence surround me. It was like I was enveloped in safety – I could physically feel something or someone hug me, right there on the dirty sidewalk. And, even though I still had a French failure to figure out and cultural mishaps awaited, I knew that I had made the right decision. That this was where I was meant to be, and that God would use these experiences. Maybe not for something grand, but for something.

I still don’t really know why I went to Paris – or stayed. Yes, it has shaped me and my worldview but looking at my life now, I could have easily gone to a college down the street from my parents. But, I didn’t. And I’m thankful for the resilience I learned, for the friends I made, and for the worldview I couldn’t learn from books. I hope to pass along that spirit of adventure and trust to my daughters. And, I’m thankful for that day when God reminded me that our decisions aren’t always easy but they are life-changing.

Do you have a choice that seemed obvious at the time but changed you unexpectedly?

Linked with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing. Today’s prompt was “decide.”


Published by

Annie Rim

Welcome! I live in Colorado with my family and have taught in the classroom, at an art museum, and now in the playroom. I reflect about life, faith, and books here on my blog.

13 thoughts on “The Obvious Decision”

  1. So many times Annie! Working with an inner city ministry in Memphis one summer, obvious, and changed my life! I didn’t have enough support for the summer, so I was planning to work part time. God’s plan was different and better…my car got broken into the first week, I almost went home, but several area churches took up special collections and I had enough money to pay for the repairs and didn’t have to work that summer. Sometimes strange the way God works, huh? Behind you at kate’s this week at the 44 spot

  2. Annie, I love learning this about you. I haven’t traveled outside the USA except for Canada. I’m over in the #7 spot this week.

  3. I absolutely loved reading this. Thank you. I’ve also had one of those ‘felt like a physical hug’ moments of God’s love and, wow, it’s something I’ll always remember, so very very real and so very very comforting it was. So glad I popped over to you: here’s to Mums teaching their daughters to be fierce and brave….Helen {A FMF friend}

      1. Hia Annie, very very late reply (was ill!)….here’s to raising fierce and brave daughters (although it’s mine who teaches *me* to be fierce and brave!)…Helen

  4. When I was getting ready to go to choose college I had a long term boyfriend at a large state college three hours away. I was sure I was supposed to go there. (i.e. I wanted to be near him and therefore told myself it would be great). Then I visited a small, private Christian college just an hour from home and felt certain it was the place for me. It wasn’t really where I wanted to be, but it felt right. (Two weeks later, said boyfriend and I broke up).
    In the beginning I was miserable being away from home and I had trouble making friends. My roommate and I didn’t hit it off and I ended up being forced to live with someone I barely knew my second semester. My college experience wasn’t typical. I got married (to my today husband) after two years, graduated a semester early. But a lot of good came out of it. I’ve never really been sorry. (Except I sometimes wish I’d spent a little less time studying and a little more time with clubs and extras. There was so much I was too intimidated to do in those days. I also wish I’d found a local church to connect with).
    I enjoyed reading your experience. I often question my choices, even when they felt like God’s leading at the time. I need to learn to listen more closely for his reassuring voice.

    1. I love how you listened to that small voice – and that it was such a great experience! I was such the “good student” in high school that in college, I allowed myself to have more fun. (Though I’ve never been the clubbing type…. But, more travel, less stress!) Thanks for sharing your story!

  5. Annie, I love that you stepped out to follow something you were excited about. I also love that God met you in the place when you wondered if you’d made the right decision. He has that way of reassuring us, doesn’t He? Your Paris experiences, no doubt, wove themselves into the fabric of who you are today. And it is beautiful. Have a good weekend, friend!

    1. I don’t know why I doubt that – God has a habit of reassuring me just when I’m at my lowest. I feel like I need to write these stories on a wall in my house or something… Enjoy your weekend, as well!

  6. I love hearing about people’s God moments and I’m glad you remember! The Israelites used to build altars/monuments to help them remember the times they experienced God’s presence or hand. Since we don’t do this, we often forget and it’s so important to remember! Thanks!

    1. Wouldn’t that be so cool? An alter of Ebenezer stones in our homes? What stories we would remember and tell to others! Hmmm. May have to think about that!

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