From the Basement

July 1, 2010

“So… God wants me to be unemployed?”: On Trust, Belief, and Trust

Trust Him. Praise Him.

Those are the encouraging or, alternately,  infuriating, soul-wrenching answers I get when I ask God about his plans for my employment (I hope it’s not too much to assume that I’ll find work?). I have been home since March and graduated since May. It is almost the 1st of July, and I’m still in my mom’s basement. I think many recent grads are in the same boat.

In honor of the classic song “Count Your Blessings,” I’ll count my blessings first. My parents live less than an hour apart and both have opened their homes to me for as long as I need it. I live rent free and occasionally chip in for coffee or pizza with my graduation money. I have no expenses, notwithstanding the Student Loans of Doom that are looming over the horizon.

In short, I’m blessed. I originally wrote “save the whole unemployment bit,” but even with that, I’m still blessed.

And yet, over the last few months, I’ve gone through days where I did not seek him, whether out of spite or laziness it’s hard to say. And then, on the flip side, there are the days that are glorious and praise-full and awesomely productive. And then there are the screaming days. Today was a combination of awesome + screaming.

On days like these, when I go out on my porch and sob and cry and throw a temper tantrum that could rival a two-year-old, I forget that I’ve learned a lot. On days like these, I forget that all things work to the good of those who love him, mostly because I’m too busy thinking that God is planning to use my life as the sequel to Job.

(On days like these, I really hope that Job was a one-time thing and that God’s not planning to do that again.)

In the aftermath of the tears, several truths become apparent. Things I’ve learned over the last few months.

  1. I could do everything right by human standards and still not get hired if it’s not God’s will.
  2. I could do everything wrong by human standards and get hired if God wants me to work there.
  3. God may be keeping me from employment to let me focus on other things.
  4. His name is still Faithful and True.
  5. He is Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides.
  6. He is using this time to make me into the woman he wants me to be.

As my mom reminded me today, he sees how these months fit into the span of my life. He knows what I’ll be doing a year from now. He knows the names of my children. He knows the plans he has for me. I see what’s on the screen. He’s already directed the whole picture.

I want to be like the Proverbs 31 woman. In verse 25, it says, she is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. A righteous woman who seeks the Lord’s own heart – she laughs at the days to come. Others flee and cower, but she stands strong. Sans peur. No fear. After all, why should she fear? She knows that her God loves her, protects her, is for her, is not against her. She knows that there is nothing on this earth that can separate her from the extravagant, earth-shattering love of God.

God’s love is shattering. It’s such a revelation every time, and I so often feel shattered when faced with it. So painfully, acutely aware of the reasons I don’t deserve it. So ready with excuses of my humanity, of my proud refusal to believe that he means what he says. And yet he comes and scoops me up and holds me against his chest and murmurs in my ear that he loves me, and that he is enough – he is always enough.

I’ll be gone for the next two weeks visiting family and friends, and this evening, I was freaking out to my mom about how I don’t know what I’ll do about job searching for the next two weeks. Unreliable internet, etc. And she looked at me and said, take the time off! Enjoy the time away! I asked, what happens if the perfect job comes up and I don’t see it? And she looked at me, so loving, and asked if I really thought that God didn’t already have everything planned out and did I think I’d be going away for two weeks if he didn’t have everything under control?

And then I did that whole crying/wallowing thing.

And then something wonderful happened. God picked me up, put lyrics in my head that wouldn’t go away, and gave me the title to my next blog post. He uses writing to take me outside myself, to give perspective, to show his love – his shattering, wonderful love that has given me the gift of a two-week hiatus and more opportunities to lean on him and not on my own understanding.

To remind me that unemployment does not define me. That his plans are so much bigger.

Like sunlight burning at midnight

Making my life something so

Beautiful, beautiful

Mercy reaching to save me

All that I need

You are so

Beautiful, beautiful

– Francesca Battistelli, “Beautiful, Beautiful”

Link to video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbCfyZHSQbE

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April 16, 2010

Living On Purpose

Filed under: Choices,Faith,Uncategorized — jeannablue @ 2:34 am
Tags: , ,

I recently met up with a friend who chose a very different route in life than I did. When we were 18 years old, I went off to college, eager for independence. She got married and prepared to start a family. Four years later, we found ourselves laughing in a coffeeshop. She congratulated me on the end of my college career while she rocked the baby, and I shared part of my doughnut with her two-year-old.

It’s interesting to stop and take stock of where life takes us. I’ve been listening to a relationship series by Pastor Danny Silk (hence the quote in the last post), and he talks about how couples should move with purpose, with vision – that the problem with so many couples is that they outlast their destiny.

This question of destiny applies to individuals as well as couples. Are we moving in a direction with a decided heart? Is there a purpose driving us through life? Or are we just hopping from lily pad to lily pad, following a traditional path – college –> job –> marriage –> kids –> … then what?

It reminds me of a description I once read in a book about hustling pool. The author, Jennifer Crusie, talked about how some players could see nothing more than the ball that was in front of them, whereas a strategic player would position themselves based on where they wanted to be. They played based on the unseen rather than the seen, their envisioned outcome rather than the current reality. It comes as no surprise that the players with long-range vision hustle those without vision.

I don’t want to go through life reacting to the ball that’s in front of me, focusing on the current play rather than the game. While it’s true that you can make a car trip with your lights guiding you five feet at a time, what is it that gives you the motivation to keep driving? The knowledge of a destination. That sense of purpose makes all the difference in the world.

Sometimes, what you envision doesn’t work out the way you planned. But the thing is that it’s just one play in the game that is your life. The play didn’t work out, but the game’s still yours. Right now, in that place of “now what?”, I’m discovering a freedom I never thought possible. I’m asking questions I never asked before, trusting that even when I think the car is stalled, something is happening.

My friend is driving on the road she’s chosen – her girls are growing up in front of her every single day. Interestingly enough, she says that she still occasionally wonders, “What if I’d done it differently? How would my life look?” Some people can get stuck in that spiral for years, but the question in itself isn’t harmful. In fact, it can be useful. My friend asks this question and ultimately feels content with her life, grateful for the decisions she’s made and how they’ve led her to her lifelong dream.

While I’m not a proponent of living in fear or anticipation of the future, I don’t think it hurts to take a moment, slow down, and think about how our current actions are affecting the game. Are we playing to win, or are we just biding time, hoping that it ends before we get too hurt?

Are we living on purpose?

My friend and I are about as different as they come in regards to temperament and life choices. We’d both be miserable doing what the other is doing. But we want to encourage the other as they pursue their purpose, as they live out their vision. We were uniquely created by our awesome Creator for a purpose, and we both know that His plans are too big to shoehorn into a traditional “life path.” He’s got some awesome roads for every single one of us. Me. Her. And you.

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