What are you doing right now?
Are you working?
How are you doing?
These are a few of the all too familiar questions I’ve been asked recently. I’ve become aware that people do not know what has gone on in my life the last few months. Honestly, my people-pleasing personality would rather nobody know how I’ve been lately, but honesty and vulnerability are so vital.
A while back, not long after graduation, I asked God to break my heart for what breaks his. I knew that was a serious prayer, but I didn’t realize how weighty that request truly was. Over the last few months I’ve gotten a glimpse, and I quickly learned that is a dangerous prayer to pray.
God answered my prayer and made me more vulnerable, emotional and raw than I have ever been. I have learned so much about ministry, communication and the lack of control I have. I have struggled with depression and anxiety to a degree that I haven’t felt since 14-year-old me faced a harsh home life and subsequent divorce. I have learned much about myself and how I don’t have it together (at all).
Most importantly, I learned that I don’t have the power to fix things, including myself. I have felt the weight of things that are far out of my control. Dealing with this been a very VERY difficult thing for this type-A-my-calendar-is-perfectly-color-coded-and-I-can-solve-all-the-problems organizer to learn. I have seen how small I am, and how I really must lean on God for everything.
Needless to say, my pride and longing to succeed have continuously taken beatings. When I felt called to step away from my job nearly three months ago, I began to feel more insecure than ever before. Me, the overachiever, stepping away from a job, moving back in with my mother and being unemployed? Cue the dramatic screams!
In all seriousness, stepping off my pedestal and away from my job was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I am still terribly insecure, because I have always found a large piece of my identity in the quality of my work and in what job I hold. God is taking my idols from me. It hurts, but I asked for it, and I know He will use it for His good. Still, easier said than acted upon.
Thankfully, God has never left me during tis hard season. In fact, He has been so SO gracious as to show me glimpses of His grace through those around me. I am grateful for glimpses of His unconditional love that have come through my mom being my personal therapist and opening her door to me, my friends’ prayers and encouraging words, my sister making me junk food, people allowing me to couch surf, and an incredible guy who holds my hand during anxiety attacks and meltdowns. Without these people, I don’t know how I would have made it to this point. God gives us what we need to make it through difficult seasons, and what incredible support he has given me.
So what now?
I’m currently on the job hunt, searching for jobs far and wide anywhere in the Southeast. The application and interviewing process is humbling, nerve wracking and not fun. Needless to say, my anxiety has not helped the affair. Even though I beat myself up about being a wreck, I know God always uses broken people (thanks RUF@UGA) and He has a perfect plan.
While I apply for jobs, I write feature articles on unconventional topics for local publications and do desk work for my mom. They are not glamorous positions, and I have been very humbled through them. After putting my pride aside, I have become grateful that God has provided ways for me to make money and build my portfolio.
My anxiety is still at an all-time worse. All too often I have difficulty breathing, sleeping and finding energy. However, God has used this time to draw me closer to him. I have spent significantly more time in the Word and in prayer as I have felt I had nothing else. I’ve been convicted of how I am so intentional only because I’m in a dark place, but I’m praying that my new habits will stick for years to come. I recently bought a new Bible, and began finding new ways to be more intentional with my bible reading and studying (if you are curious about #illustratedfaith as seen above, let’s talk about it! It’s amazing!). I haven’t made any concrete New Year’s resolutions, but I do plan on digging further into the Bible more than in any year past.
The latter half of 2015 has been the most difficult season of my adult life. However, I am excited to see what 2016 has in store. I have much to look forward to, including finding a new job, moving to a new place, strengthening relationships with old friends, meeting new friends, and becoming stronger because of the past few months.
“Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave it with regret? There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
– C.S. Lewis