August 16, 2015

To the Christian who is floundering.

It's been almost 2 months since I posted last, and literally SO MUCH has changed since the middle of June that I don't even know where to begin.  I can't just start writing again as if I'm picking up where I left off because I left off at somewhere completely different than I am now.  I'll explain a little:

You've probably noticed that I don't use this blog exclusively as a way to give updates on my life.  Usually I stick to my ~thoughts~ on various topics/books/etc. because honestly, my life/lifestyle isn't unique or interesting (in my opinion, haha).

But God has been working behind the scenes in my life so much this summer, and I wanted to share my story, because maybe there are people out there who need to be encouraged by what I've seen and can testify to: God is working behind the scenes in your life in ways you can't understand right now, but it will make sense when He reveals some of His plan to you, little by little.

As much as it feels like I'm going through something that no decent Christian ever has gone through in the history of EVER, in my heart I know there must be Christians like me.

At the end of May, my fourth semester in community college was over and I was working a few nights a week at an Italian restaurant and that was about all. I had big plans!  I applied to a bunch of library jobs to get my foot in the door towards library science (what I plan on going to graduate school for eventually).  I looked for ministries to get involved in.

But one by one, the rejections came in.  I put out a HUGE effort to do try new things or put myself on a path towards the future, but nothing came of anything I applied for or pursued.

On top of that, I was mooching rides off of my family to work because I didn't have my own car, so during the day, I didn't have much of a choice but to spend a LOT of time at home.

I felt one hundred percent the definition of stuck.  I was antsy for something to HAPPEN.  My day-to-day life wasn't challenging or exciting.  It was quiet and chill and boring, boring, boring.  I was so incredibly discontent and felt guilty - like I was failing to be a useful Christian.

I prayed for direction from God, for some kind of opportunity to crop up and get me out of this rut of not doing anything.  I put myself out there and interviewed for a few jobs, trusting God to make the right thing work, but still was being rejected.  I felt a little abandoned and very confused.  I was walking with God and had surrendered myself to His will, but nothing was happening.  Did He really not have anything for me to do?  Had He really just left me to my own devices?

Finally, a few weeks ago, I had a huge lightbulb moment during one of my devotions:

"Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called..." - 1 Corinthians 7:20

"'...let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,' declares the LORD."  - Jeremiah 9:24

"Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand." - John 13:7

It struck me suddenly that until I was called somewhere else, I was where God wanted me at that exact moment.  To realize that doing (seemingly) nothing could be a "calling" was a little bizarre, but the more I prayed about it and talked about it and read about it, it made sense.  I realized that this - right here, right now - was God's will.  I had surrendered my life to Him, and this was what He had planned for me: to hang around my house, working part time at a job I couldn't stand (but that I was grateful for having!).  An excerpt from my journal at that time (in purple, because I always use a purple pen):

Here's what I know: God isn't trying to confuse me.  But He has made my life in this moment very clear [...] In a small way this seems like a renewed sense of purpose: I've made the effort to change my path to something that more directly seems profitable to me, but God says that I am doing well for now here where I am. [...] My resolve is renewed to make the most of my days at home & nights at work: to follow my little routines, save my money, spend it too, tithe it, pray, fellowship, be creative, relax, whatever, you know?  I don't have to feel guilty for my simple little life.  I'm not called to be guilty...

I "learned the secret of being content" (Philippians 4:12) with my calling and became so much more joyful and purposeful.  God's plan had been revealed to me a little tiny bit and I threw myself into wholeheartedly serving God where I was by being a fantastic waitress and taking advantage of my time at home, rather than dreading going to work and complaining about boredom at home.

Maybe there was something going on through these experiences that would prepare me for something later, maybe not.  But it was nice, after a little bit of an existential crisis, to finally have peace.  I began to remember times before when I found out after the fact what was going on in the background, and had hope that something BIG was coming soon...  There is ALWAYS something going on in the background.  Sometimes big things.  Sometimes little things.  Sometimes a LOT of things.  God reveals what He's doing in HIS time.  I hope I'm not making anyone uncomfortable with these super personal journal entries, but here's part of a prayer I wrote later that week:

It's the hardest thing right now to just trust that I am where I am supposed to be - that you are here in my lil life and not somewhere I need to work towards in order to know you.  

You might know from previous posts that I struggle with "working towards" being a Better Christian or Closer to God.  I challenge you to just be and let God do.  Because God absolutely does.

I was happy, content, and peaceful with where God had me.  I enjoyed God's presence, put all my fears at His feet, and trusted Him.  I was not antsy.  I didn't feel guilty.  And all of a sudden things started happening.

First, beyond all reason, my Spanish skills (which I had ample time to practice with all my free time) started coming in handy.  Then, I finally saved enough money to buy my own used car and pay for insurance.  Then, totally out of the blue, I was offered a library job that I had absolutely NO qualifications to recommend me for.  I interviewed and gave it up to God to fill in the rest.  He saw fit to give me a job that I had prayed and prayed for, and I am still in shock that I was accepted for it.

In the space of four days, I had the independence of my own car, a fantastic new job dropped into my lap, and began to see the things I had messed around with at home were becoming useful.  If I sound like I'm bragging, well... I am.  ;)  I'm bragging not on my own accomplishments (obviously lolol), but on what an awesome God holds my life in His hands.  You can see that I am pretty useless on my own strength (as well as really pathetic...), so how cool is it that I can trust a God as mighty as this?

And now I am a witness and I want to tell you that you are NOT forgotten, floundering Christian.  God is doing things in your life.  Soon, you'll look back and see how all these crazy and confusing moments brought you to somewhere fantastic.  Walk with God and bloom where He has planted you.