In my car, I scream an agonizing, terrifying wail. As I think back, I am surprised I did not crash on my way to work.
Life troubles are a pain but its the little things that drive me insane. I remember I quickly grabbed my keys, shoving my laptop in my book bag. I woke up late. Sleeping in was becoming a custom and I was not enthusiastic about fighting it. Hard not to when sleep feels so good and a dream is a quick getaway from life’s unperishable troubles. “Don’t slam the door when you leave,” my mother says from her bedroom.
Although my mom was being well mannered and gentle, the reminder registers as a nag in my brain. I quickly grow irritated.
I am 25 years old. I say to myself. I am a proud black woman, a college graduate, and a high school educator.
Yet every corner I turn I am not reaching the standards of someone’s measuring stick. I become frazzled realizing I can’t walk out the door looking like little Bow Wow. I don’t know what the heck to do with my hair—so I hide the catastrophe under a makeshift turban and hoops. Black culture says I am not pretty or thick enough. Next, older women do not believe I am ladylike enough. Or my mom consistently says, I have my father’s disposition, and as of the past two years I have learned this is not a pleasant compliment.
I rush out the door in a flurry. I do not want to be late for work.
In the car, I suddenly cannot remember if I closed the door softly.
Hence, the anguish and pent up scream as I drive towards the high school.
It’s hard being a young adult in this day and age. It’s even harder trying to be the Christian God called you to be, when you feel like you’re missing out on something. Contrary to popular belief, each generation encounters its own wave of problems specifically designated for their time. There are common issues each generation faces and shares, however each generation has varieties, a personality making them completely their own.
Each generation has similarities: there are wars, there are newly recognized ethnicities labeled the “terrorists” or there are nations considered the “enemy.” Not to mention the rise in technology either limits or expands social interaction amongst human beings. It’s like spaghetti. Everyone makes their spaghetti different, one of my friend’s makes her spaghetti spicier or my mother adds more garnishes to hers.
No matter whose pot we know it’s spaghetti and the variation depends upon the hands that made it.
So, when I examine my peer group, I cannot help but see how we’re bending over to overcome these generational complications. My generation, the millennial faces an assortment of problems. We were the generation told, instructed, and pushed to pursue an education. College was the place to be. College is the land of opportunity, the great equalizer, so the economically poor can reach their wealthy counterparts. Thousands of us, were bred in financially illiterate homes and were taken advantage of by a system enchaining us to a never ending cycle of student debt, one of the largest leading debts in America, inevitably affecting if or how we raise our families.
We’re also the most depressed generation. Millennials combat an era where the supply of jobs is at an all time low, the equivalent of having a college degree is the same as having a high school diploma. Jobs that were prophesized to be lucrative investments are becoming marginalized and minimized. Needless to say, the older generations are quick to blame my generation for not being hardworking enough, saying we’re quick to give up. Yet when you’re sold a dream practically spoon fed an idea at a young age, you base your whole entire hopes on it. Jobs and careers nowadays cannot support a family, very less an individual.
In addition, we’re a generation earning less money than our counterparts from the past. To sum up, I am not explaining these points to extract pity. Personally, I do not care what anyone thinks about my generation, because each group has suffered and created their own problems, no one is perfect. What I am saying is, there are some days, where I just want to quit. Being an adult is hard, and there are moments where I truly wish I did not become an educator, I have a large debt to payback and consistently meeting the needs of disrespectful, rambunctious children can be tiring.
It’s hard for me to be a Christian at a time where I see so many people my age, gaining wealth, by other means whether illegal or legal. I often think fondly of “what could’ve been?” I never expected life to be easy and I don’t think no deserves anything. I am a sinner saved by grace. We are all sinners it is by God’s grace and mercy, He sent His Son to save us from our sins. At the same time, this ideology battles daily against what I see and experience.
In any case all this complaining and moaning always ends up with me pointing the finger at God or becoming jumpy and edgy toward those around me. So this morning, as I set out writing this blog post, I had a choice: to whither in despair or learn the lesson the Holy Spirit desired to teach me.
“1 Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.”
God’s Word encourages believers to not worry, to not be afraid, to not grow concerned and consumed by the wicked actions of evil doers. If you focus on the world and on the wrong narrative, you become absorbed and angry at the atrocities happening in the world. Day in and day out, you peep at the measuring stick watching tragically how the world continuously falls short and hits at a lower target each day. Jesus promises us, modern day Christians we’re going to live in perilous and wicked times. Murders, rapes, kidnappings, corruption, police brutality, pollution, global warming these are signs testifying to Jesus’ coming. When we grow worried about the world we live in, we become overly protective and paranoid. This occurs after we iplaced our trust in the wrong thing. A fallen, imperfect sinful world is not a great faith holder. Anything broken is meant to fail and this explains why our relationship with God resembles a merry go round, rotating up and down.
God’s Word encourages His children to place our trust in God. God has a flawless, impeccable record. Never has God broken a promise or will He. He is incapable of being anything but perfect. The Bible says to not, “be envious of those who do wrong,” I am absolutely guilty of being envious. Envious means to covet and desire after what someone has. To desire something or someone so acutely, our obsession over God becomes a lust for something else. Envy is a subtle or obvious way of telling God what He has blessed us with is certainly not enough and He does not have the power to supply our needs. Envy minimizes the blessings in our lives and creates ingratitude within our hearts.
I am guilty of comparing my portion to others. The saying comparison is a thief of joy—is very accurate. Envy makes us think all of what we see on social media, what we hear in conversations, and read is completely the true story. Small day-to-day interactions are tiny windows into people’s lives, very few of us reveal our inner nature to strangers or people. Envy places our attention from what we have to what we do not have. When we’re habitually looking at our season half empty, then we shut down any opportunity for Jesus Christ to fill the emptiness.
We eliminate any experiences of personal growth and a stronger relationship with God. Put your eyes back on who matters! It does not matter if you’re circumstances are abysmal, wonderful, stagnant, or calm–life is perfectly imperfect. Not a single human being has it all together and the Bible encourages us to “not grow envious” of those who attain wealth or status by doing wrong. The Lord God is just. He is never partial. While the world operates on a distorted sense of justice, God’s justice or moral righteous never wavers or breaks.
Most importantly, the Word of God says that for the wicked, the sinners, “…will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.” This is the final doorway for all man. Rich, poor, fat, ugly, young and old, death is a gate we all must pass. In the meantime, should we really waste our attention on seeking the attention of people whose opinions of us do not define our identity? Should we seek jobs only for what they put in our pockets? Lessons can be relearned. Wisdom can be taught. What is invaluable is time. Time, the seconds we waste doing frivolous things, should create an urgency in spirits to get right with God.
He is eternal.
And the only thing God will be concerned about when we stand before Him is did any of our actions on Earth have eternal effects.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
An antidote for an envious heart is thankfulness. An envious heart often forgets the good things God has performed. It is easier to disregard God’s miracles and daily blessings when a person is fixating on someone else’s life. On the other hand, a thankful heart generates a joyful spirit that endures all hardship. Thankfulness directs our attention, our focus back to the Lord God. Through the eye glasses of gratitude, we glorify God, praising Him in both word and deed for the works of His hands and overwhelming presence.
The Bible does not say we give thanks in circumstances we only like or circumstances we deem worthy of our praise. The Bible says give thanks in all circumstances, in good, bad and not so good circumstances. We’re commanded. Ordered to give thanks, because a thankful attitude changes and transforms the spirit.
To give thanks to God recognizes He is in control. We cannot pick and choose our lives. God already has a hand of cards for each us. What we must do is play the hand the best way we know how, gaining more than losing. These circumstances we’re in are designed specifically to challenge us. If we give in and stop fighting the good fight, then we’re doomed to keep going in circles hitting the same obstacles over and over. What thankfulness does is keep our attention focused on the Lord God, when we see and remember how great, how mighty, and all powerful God is. Our afflictions do not grow smaller what happens is the plight pales in comparison to God’s glory.
Furthermore, God orchestrates every component of our lives. While tragedy and inconvenience surprises us, the Lord God is never taken back. He never has to quickly think of a scheme or seek help to resolve the problem. God is the solution. He is the master composer. God has written the piece called our lives and it is our duty to be thankful in each circumstance, in each new piece being revealed to us, we must play our part necessary. For in the grand scheme of things, our music should sound lovely only to one pair of ears—His. It is in Christ Jesus we’ve become children of God. And as His dearly loved children God has designed life to challenge us, to increase our dependency upon Him, and to give Him glory.
Know this Beloved, the creation of your life is not about you, but it does not mean God is not thinking about you. He loves you, deeply and unconditionally. The difficulties you’re facing will not last forever but in whatever season you are in:
Learn what needs to be learned.
Change what needs to be changed.
Grow in Christ Jesus.
Copyright © 2018 by A Meeting at the Well