Have you ever heard of the musical Dear Evan Hansen? It won Best Musical in the 2017 Tony Awards. And let me tell you, it’s super good.
The first song in Act 1 is titled, “Anybody have a map?” and it focuses on the relationships between two different mothers and their sons. One is single mom Heidi Hansen, who constantly works as a nurse by day, and as a paralegal student by night, and desperately attempts to connect with her son, Evan, only to discover they lack any shared interests. The second mother is Cynthia Murphy, a wealthy woman who works hard at home and work while simultaneously struggles to be the glue keeping her family together, knowing that it is inevitably falling apart.
The struggle to try and connect with others is the central theme of this song, and basically the focal point of the whole musical, but that’s not the point of this post. I’m not a mother who can’t connect with her son, or a mother trying to keep her family glued together.
But, what I am is a twenty-something millennial who is struggling with identity post college.
The first chorus resonates with me so well:
Does anybody have a map?
Anybody maybe happen to know how the hell to do this?
I don’t know if you can tell
But this is me just pretending to know
So where’s the map?
I need a clue
‘Cause the scary truth is
I’m flyin’ blind
I’m making this up as I go
Goodness, these lyrics speak VOLUMES! Have you ever felt that way? Post-grad life, deciding how you want your life to unfold, who you want to be, but not knowing where to start or how to handle it?
As a twenty-something trying to figure out what to do with her life, I’m down a road of unfamiliarity. In the mirror, I’ve become someone I don’t know. I like to think that I have everything handled, planned to perfection, but seriously, I’m kind of like Heidi right now. There are moments where I’m in desperate need of a map. Not knowing how my life is going is something I do not like.
The lyrics, “I don’t know if you can tell, but this is me just pretending to know” and “the scary truth is, I’m flying’ blind, and I’m making this up as I go” is literally me right now. There are days where I make my life out to be something more than what it really is. I’d like to assume the “put-togetherness” that somehow comes attached to my Christianity. But there are days where it is rough, where I am just making it up, holding my breath, taking it one step at a time.
I mean, before college, I had this whole idea of what I wanted to do, what age I’d be married, how many kids I’d have, how many dogs I’d own (haha), all that fun stuff. But, funny thing about planning, LIFE happens. And there isn’t always a guarantee of life going accordingly.
Some days I get discouraged that my plans/goals/dreams aren’t being met, and other days I am in disbelief, unsure how I could ever create things so extravagant. Fortunately for me, Jesus has been the constant that has kept me steady. Pulled a fast one on you, didn’t I?
It may sound super cliche; Jesus being my “map”, but it brings me so much comfort. You know the verse Jeremiah 29:11, the one you’d find in a lot of yearbooks with students who have Christian parents? It’s a great verse, but I have another verse that I love that is also applicable to my current situation perfectly:
“TRUST and WAIT for what is still UNSEEN.” Romans 8:24
I see it this way: we can plan, do everything in our power to make life go the way we want to, but ultimately, the Lord has already planned everything (just ask Jeremiah). But it’s Paul’s words that ushers us to patiently trust and wait, hoping that whatever the Lord has in store is what’s best for us. Because if we knew, the point of hope and trust would be worthless.
And at times, Paul’s words may not be the encouraging phrase I’d want to hear in the moment, but in the end, it does bring comfort. Because even when I think that my life is falling apart, and even when my impatience may get the better of me, the trusting and the waiting doesn’t get overlooked.
The Lord knows the plans He has for me, and ultimately it’ll be for my own good.
So that map that I need, the map that we all need, is not gonna be found in some life manual, or map book (does that even exist?) but rather in the Word.
And, if you haven’t listened to Dear Evan Hansen, I highly encourage you to do so! It’s so freaking good!