Something about transitions always brings on an identity crisis. Who am I? Where am I from? And where do I belong?
You see, I’m a senior this year. I just started my last year of high school. Another huge transition is looming.
Part of me is ready to become independent. I’m excited. I’m eager for new experiences and friendships. But the other part of me is a scared of the unknown. Change is hard.
I’m realizing how much I love my MK world. Right here. Right now.
During a recent annual MK gathering, these feelings only intensified. I experienced beautiful connections, rich conversations, and true belonging. I relished these feelings, though, with an aching heart. These friends get me. They understand me. They know me. And I’m about to leave.
“These feelings are the same for all seniors,” non-MKs might say.
And up to a point, we do share the same feelings. But unlike non-MKs, this is a world I can never return to. Unlike non-MKs, I don’t know if I will ever see my childhood friends or delight in the many experiences that make up my MK lifestyle again.
With one airplane ride, I will lose the childhood world I’ve come to cherish.
As I’ve wrestled with this unsettling reality, God spoke to me in an unexpected way—through a movie called Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
The movie, based on a C.S. Lewis book, is the third in the series about four children who travel to the imaginary world Narnia. Here, they find true belonging, discover their destiny, and meet the ruler of this kingdom, the magnificent and wise lion, Aslan. Throughout the series, each child learns an important lesson. Eventually, they grow up and move on, but never forget the lessons Narnia and Aslan taught them.
I’ve watched the movie many times. But this time, I resonated with the characters in a way I never had before. Their sadness at leaving Narnia seemed to mirror my own sadness. Through a conversation with a dear friend of mine, I discovered something startling:
My MK world has become my Narnia.
I’ve learned how to have sweet fellowship with God (just like the characters in the movie did with Aslan) in my MK world. I’ve learned who He is here. I’ve learned what He’s like and how to meet with Him. I’ve connected with other teens just like me. Despite my changing surroundings, I have a home with my family. I fit in this world.
But I’ll be leaving this world soon. With this rapidly-approaching transition, my MK identity has begun to ask me the same old questions.
Who are you? Where are you from? Where do you belong?
And new questions like…
Who is God in my new life? How will I connect with Him?
At the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, one of the characters begins crying as she leaves Narnia to go back to her other world.
“Will we ever see you again?” she asks Aslan, who represents God.
“I am in your world,” said Aslan. But there, I have another Name. You must learn to know me by that Name. That was the very reason you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little while, you may know me better there.”
God has been whispering this into my heart for the past few weeks.
“I will be in your new world too,” He’s said. “But I’ll have another Name. You must learn to know me by that Name.”
I realized that the gift of my MK ‘Narnia’ was to experience God’s presence and power firsthand, and to learn how to connect with Him. Just like the characters in Voyage of the Dawn Treader, my purpose in knowing Him here is so that I can know Him better in my new world.
Of course there is sadness and hesitancy about leaving what I’ve grown to love: my current world and current experience of God. But I’m anticipating connecting with Him more deeply in a new place.