I don’t know where to start and I am hestitate to start writing because I know this deep introspection is going to hurt but it is necessary.
This past week, began the common 21 day fast for many Christian churches in the month of February. I knew this fast was approaching and after the events of 2019, I knew in my heart I desperately needed to get my life back in order. Especially, my spiritual life. In so many areas of my life I felt growth but this growth was always held back by weeds like sin, self destructive habits, and specific circumstances (we will dive into later).
The chose my and each day presenting its own challenges: the resilience to love difficult people and students at the work place; respecting different walks of life; showing patience and kindness and forgiveness to parents and students if given the chance they would spit on you; being joyful and grateful because your Heavenly Father loves with an everlasting love.
Each day, Jesus encourages me to walk closer, hold Him tighter and to release more and more ground to Him. Where there is less of me and more of Him. As I’ve also noticed is the fast steadily moving up the uncomfortable ladder, wading into deeper and swampy lands in my soul and spirit.
But it seems like confusion, dynsfunction, and pain and hurt all hit a single point yesterday while I was driving around with a close friend in downtown Detroit searching for a place to eat.
I have known this person for at least nine to ten years and as of lately I told her about the gravest and latest trials in my life. From me, choosing to not reconnect with my friends this year, my failing mental health, my hostile work environment and the feeling of being perpetually stuck in my situation, like I can’t move or make the advancements in life I wanted to.
So, interestingly enough, as I was breaking down my bills to my friend (she’s also done some accounting) she pops a question to me: “How much do you make?”
I told her the answer and the list of bills I pay while living with my parents and she says to me, “You have more than enough to live on your own. You are not stuck. If I can make this amount of money work, to get a house and be on my own then you have more than enough.”
Ouch. I was completely and utterly silent. My friend was absolutely right and there was nothing I could say about that. I think I knew for a long time I could have moved out by now, but the issue is one singular word: comfort.
I want to be comfortable, living with my parents I can buy and own what I want and when I want. Writing this now, I cannot help but feel cringey and slightly ashamed and embarrassed. I know a lot of cultures live together to lower the cost and the young adults living at home do not complain, because their desire is stay at home and build generational wealth. However, for someone constantly professing and saying, I want to leave and want my freedom. I have done a wonderful job of blaming and assigning accountability to everyone else and everything else but me.
I say I want freedom, a house, a new car. But do I really tho…? Do I really want those things?
My close friend’s blunt truth was absolutely right. I thought for a couple of minutes and actually analyzed what ate up most of my money besides student loans and it was my tendency to buy, buy, buy anything and everything I wanted instead of investing it properly into the right places.
Makeup, books are my two vices. Why? To buy things is my way of trying to gain control of my disappointing life and sometimes for us younger people, it is hard to rectify what I know with what I wanted and facing the truth of my circumstances. Reality hits hard after years of being told if I do this, then I can be this.
And its not the fact that I am lazy–I have had a steady teaching job, since I left college and my parents have not paid a single bill of mine, but the house I am staying at is their’s.
So I am sitting there wondering with my friend how have I accepted this delusion? I self deluded myself and psyched myself out.
Because it is easier to believe I am than making the right, internal changes within myself.
It is easier for me to miscontrue all of God’s sovereignty and His power over every event of my life and to push total blame on Him and blame circumstances than to use the wisdom of heaven and see what changes I can make, what can I contribute and change instead of complaining.
What can I do to make my situation better and gain the independence God wants me to make?
- If I say I want to house, then I need to save. Save. Save.
- If I say I want to overcome my depression, I need to make psychatric appointments regularly and enjoy the talents I have.
- If I say I want a flourishing Christian blog, then I post regularly, not just on my good days.
Looking at reality, now I realize so much of my circumstances is as much as God’s doing and as much as my own choices. I am here in my pink room with four walls because of the choices I made and what God has orchestrated.
My friend lamented and observed a little further, resting her chin on her hand, “Tory, it is almost like you are hestitating, like you’re scared.”
I looked at her quickly. “I am not scared.” Am’ I?
Was I scared to move? To try something new? Was I worried? Oh aboslutely, for this whole year I been feeling an exisential crisis, even as a Christian many of us wonder why am ‘ I here what is my purpose, Lord?
I been stressing out and worrying and still fighting over wanting people’s approval of my life and the world’s approval of my success as an educator. That has been a long running problem for me intenally, like worrying about my status and how visions of who I think I am matching up to my success in society’s eye.
Thanks be to God, this toxic and self centered view on success and self worth and fear of people’s opinions about me never escaped God’s eye. God never forgets us and He sees the battles I am fighting and wants me to look to Him and His view about me, only. He is teaching me the measure of success I need to make is the success that matters to me and His plans for my future will bring me fulfillment.
The truth is I want to be comfortable because I am scared. I don’t want to fail. I don’t want to feel ashamed because I am not following the young, millenial narrative arc like most of my peers. I hated failing and not suceeding in high school was never an option, which is why I worked so hard and long.
At the same time, using wisdom I have to evaluate what is in my control and what is not. I have to be honest with myself and ask: do I really like teaching? I have a Secondary Education and English degree. I have other talents avaliable as well.
Since, God has given me the freedom to make my circumstances better, I need to stop complaining, start saving, and just do it.
The first is the pay increase I experienced from leaving one school and going to another was not worth it. This school and the amount of disrespect I receive daily is not worth it.
Second, I need to decide if I am going to continue in education or will I venture into a new career.
Third, if I stay in education I need to find a new school immediately. If I chose to leave education I am asking the Holy Spirit to guide me to a new field where my other talents collide with my other passions.
Next I have to absorb this principle:
It is okay to fail, you will fail, but persevering makes all the difference.
I have not had tasted failure like this before or, encountered such a massive roadblock, or confusion like this before and it is okay to see the ugliness of myself. God is not surprised by it or disappointed. He has forseen this and He continues to be the committed Shepherd I’ve always loved Him to be!
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