I want to thank BEGINTOBELIEVE for sparking this post for me. It resonated so clearly in me that I found the desire to speak to this same topic myself. Please check out the original post for additional information!
If you read my last post, you know that my incessant whining about this current situation spurred my dear cousin to send me the book, You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero, is certainly not your typical Christian self-help book. The concepts the author speaks of provide a very different world view than my less world-view Episcopal theology teaches, but for those who, like me, have struggled with low self-esteem, it speaks to my soul and has provided many wonderful nuggets of wisdom for takeaway.
One of these key nuggets for me was the reminder that God created me to be me. This doesn’t mean that I was created to be someone that I am not right now but could be if I hold my tongue right and say just the right prayer at just the right time. It doesn’t mean that I was created by God to be one thing and I screwed it up by making the wrong decisions and now I’m being punished.
God created me to be who I am knowing the circumstances I would encounter and the choices I would make. Sure, I have certainly made bad decisions and have had to suffer the consequences of those decisions. I also certainly have things I need to learn, experiences I need to go through, and changes that will need to be made in my life, but these are all opportunities to continue becoming the person God created me to be.
Did you catch that?
I am now exactly who God knew I would be at this point in time. My job at this point is to continue to allow God to show me His will for me and to continue to trust His will is perfect for my life.
This is not an easy prospect. At this point in time, I am scared. I worry about making my rent, paying my bills and what I will do if those things cannot be accomplished. I think about the day that I was blessed enough to volunteer at Metro Caring and wonder if the next person to make an appointment for food and assistance there will need to be me. I cry out to God wondering what it is that I need to be doing differently and wishing this part of journey would be easier.
I know that my current burden is not the worst thing that anyone could imagine. There are so many of you who are probably struggling with things much more life and death I nature and I’m sure you can agree that the easy thing would be to return to that place of being “stuck”; to curl up on my couch and just quit trying. As a Christian, it is my job and joy (and yours) to remember that there are steps I can take to move forward and not get lost on my journey toward becoming more of who God wants me to be. But sometimes that very prospect is enough to cause the stuck feeling to start all over again. Where is the stinking “Start” button!?
I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I have found a few nuggets both in the above mentioned book and through other studies that might be helpful that I’d like to share:
- STOP: Realize that despite where we are now, what’s done is done. It doesn’t do any of us any good to spend our time playing the “if only” or “what if” game. Yes, it’s only human to wonder how things could have been but the sooner we can move past that and accept things as they are the better!
- MAKE ROOM: Get all of those emotions out of your heart and head and grieve the situation. Whatever the pain or struggle may be, cry, scream, rant and rave about it. Let it all out and make room for the good stuff to move in.
- MAKE CONNECTIONS: Spend time with people who encourage, love and support you. Much as we like to think we are self-sufficient and can do this all on our own, we need one another and the sooner we can remember that, the sooner we can get moving again.
- MAKE THE EFFORT: Make intentional efforts to get better. For me, I have reached out to people I know that can help me with the job hunt and can also just commiserate with me when the going is tough. Whatever it is you need – emotional support, training, spiritual direction or more practical assistance, take steps to help yourself.
- MAKE TIME TO LISTEN: Whether it’s to our peers who can give us direction about what may have gotten us here in the first place, the doctors or care staff that can provide direction in getting healthy, or that still small voice that we hear but sometimes ignore, listen and remember. God sends His message to us in many forms. Be diligent in listening and then prayerfully consider each message to make sure you have discerned what God intends for you.
- KNOW GOD IS WITH YOU: We are not alone in our struggles. Despite how it may feel, God does not abandon us in our times of struggle. He is with us and will give us the strength we need to walk the road we are on.
Getting and staying stuck steals our joy, robs us of your potential and deceives us into thinking that life won’t ever be any different than it is at this moment. But God didn’t create us to be stuck. He provides the way for us through all of our struggles and strife and provides His word for us as a reminder that He is there to help. This doesn’t mean that the struggle is going to end as soon as you read this or read these scriptures or tomorrow when you wake up. What is does mean is that God knows the pain each and every one of us would suffer, he weeps and aches with us, and most importantly, He provided a way through. Reach up and grab that life ring!
Philippians 1:6, 2, Philippians 2:13, Romans 8:28-30, Psalm 138:8, 1 Peter 5:10.