So, I haven’t written one of these in awhile. Aside from my post about Egypt, I’m pretty sure I haven’t posted once in the past like four or five months LOL. Part of it has been exhaustion and focusing on greater projects, some of it has been due to overcoming the lasting hurdles from arguably the worst summer of my whole life, and some of it has just been out of not knowing how to let people in, what all to let people into, and trying to sort through the mess of life with Jesus alone. I’ve been keeping a lot between just me and my Savior, partially because I’m still hurting and sorting, and partially because I feel like a phony letting you people into the good parts of wisdom before I’ve fully accepted them for myself. I love for these to be lessons that I have learned opposed to being knee-deep in the mess of them.
However, I’m starting to see that I may not be out of the mud for awhile and therefore I’m gonna let you people into my heart and what I’m learning and speak it as truth to you so that as I encourage you, I’ll also encourage myself. And this is just a forewarning that I am, in fact, doing okay even though I’m gonna let you into one of the darker things I’ve been struggling with. Jesus and my girlfriends are my teammates, with me each step of the way. And my goal is that I can encourage you with my vulnerability, and that letting you in will be good and messy and Jesus-honoring, which is really all that anyone can ask for from life and love this side of heaven.
So, truth be told, I’ve been struggling a lot with the idea of Jesus as my Provider. And this comes in many forms… it comes in waves of anxiety as I try again and again to make sense of my talents and gifts in a way that shows me what the heck I need to do with my life. It comes in anger as I question time after time if I’ll ever stop living paycheck to paycheck and finally feel established. It comes in the form of loneliness as I navigate living in Nashville without a solid church community, though I’ve been involved with the same church over the past two years and love it and can’t seem to find another church that I actually like that comes with better community. It comes as I look to the holidays and wonder what the heck the celebrations are gonna look like because my family is still weathering a storm that’s in some ways torn us apart, in other ways brought us together, but in almost every way brought us low.
And all of this makes me scared. I’m scared for the holidays. I’m scared for my future. I’m scared that I’m never going to figure out how to use my talents well. I’m scared that I’m going to be a disappointment to those that thought I would amount to someone great. I’m scared that I’ll never be a wife or mom, that I’ll never have a family of my own and that I’ll live my life alone, hundreds of miles away from the only family I have without any church community to surround me… and usually when I get to this point of thinking about all of this scary stuff I start to panic and cry. LOL SO FUN RIGHT.
“O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; for You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.” -Isaiah 25:1
Friends, instead of sitting in anxiety I’m really trying to sit in thankfulness, because this month is a month of thanksgiving. It’s a month that looks at all Jesus has done in full confidence that He can do it again. He will come through again. He will direct again. He will provide again because we serve a God of perfect faithfulness.
Because, unlike a lot of pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps-Americans would tell you, the cure for my anxiety isn’t filling up my to-do lists on how to conquer all of the things that scare me… a lot of the things that I long for can’t just be “chosen.” I can’t dream up the perfect man and place him in my life. I can’t wish together my dream job and plop it in my lap, though I do have my eyes peeled and my resume updated. A lot of the things I have anxiety about are things that I can’t control, and the only way to stop worrying about them is to trust in the goodness and kindness of my Father in heaven who is not only in control, but also cares for me and has a perfect track record for providing for me.
The antidote for the worry that leads me to tears is to look back on the faithfulness of my God and remember that He who started a good work in me will be the One that brings it to completion. He who gave me my talents will provide me the opportunities to be faithful. He who dreamed me up, knit me together in my mother’s womb, and knows each hair on my head will not leave me abandoned, hungry, and confused. He’s handpicked my battles to bring me closer to His heart, the same way He’s handpicked my future career and spouse and children (or the lack thereof and provision of some other deeply tucked dreams) to bring Him all the glory and all of the honor and all of the praise.
And He will have it. God is all about His glory. He won’t strip me of the opportunity to use my talents for the good and joy and glory of His Kingdom, though He will craft into my story seasons of waiting in order to build the character it takes to follow and rely on Jesus always. And this is true for you too.
His best interest is at heart for you. Your joy is on His mind, and not your temporary happiness… no, that’d be far too small! He’s interested in your eternal joy, joy that’s deeply rooted in who God is and the understanding of the bigger picture: that each and every thing we lack on earth points us to Him as the Provider, not because He gives us everything we could ever want or need, as if we worship the god of comfort, but because He, Himself, is the Provision we really need. He’s our friend that sticks closer than a brother when we lack community. He’s our 5-year plan when we sit in confusion. His promises and His Word are our security when our earthly jobs fail us and our families walk through the fire and our most precious relationships come to an end. He is a faithful Provider because all of our needs are met in Him alone.
Sweet friends, we’re free from worry because our God is in control and all that we could ever need. We can walk this earth with heads held high, in confidence that our God is able to do all that we could ask or imagine… and yet is also enough for us apart from any miracles He gives or doesn’t give. He is loving, He is kind, He is for you, and He is trustworthy. So let’s lay our tears and anxieties at His feet and learn the art of walking in trust with Him.
All my love,