This has been the most ambiguous season of my life thus far. Not even in just one area, but in several. I knew this season would be a bit…up in the air, but I had no idea that I’d be so confused for so long. I thought I was going to walk into 2019 and have everything figured out by the end of January, but God said naw sway, I have a few things to teach you before I start allowing the pieces to fall into place. Even while typing this post right now, I’m waiting on God to reveal what He’s doing because there are still things that I just do not have the answer to. Not having that control and ability to plan my future like I normally would has been rough to say the least. I’m constantly somewhere between excited and disappointed. Analyzing every idea and every decision, trying to discern if I’m making the right move. Talk about anxiety provoking. And just when I think I figured it out, a door closes and I realize I still have it all wrong. They say trust the process, but this season is showing me that faith isn’t really faith until you have to walk forward on a path you can’t even see. Blind faith I suppose. Although I don’t have my life sorted out yet, here are a few lessons that this season has been teaching me about what to do when you don’t know what to do:
Seek Him like you never have before. Back in December, while goal setting for the new year, I decided my focus was going to be to make more room for God. I knew I was about to enter a season of transition, and the last time I went through a major transition, I really struggled. This time around, I refused to be that down again, so I vowed to seek God with all my heart instead. Seek Him more than I ever have and involve Him in everything I set out to do. While I haven’t been nearly as down, I have experienced anxiety, frustration, confusion, irritability, moodiness and a host of other emotions. Despite it all, knowing that He has everything already planned out brings me comfort. Knowing that my life is in His hands brings me peace even on the harder days. Understanding that I’m supposed to trust Him even when I don’t understand what He’s doing settles my anxious heart.
Here’s a great example of how this has looked in my present season: I’m currently in search of a full-time position. There was a position I wanted and thought might be mine. So much had happened with this particular position that led me to wonder if this was the one God wanted for me. I had prayed that if it was for me, I’d get it and if not, that God would close the door. In fact, at church one night, one of the pastors prayed that exact prayer over me. The very next day I got the email that I didn’t get it. After reading the email, I immediately got up from my desk and walked to my quiet place on campus where I commune with God often. My feelings were hurt, but even with tears in my eyes I was able to stand in His presence and say “thank you”. I don’t want what isn’t mine. I only want His will for my life, and the only way to know what He wants for me is by spending time with Him and seeking His guidance.
Be present. I wrote about this briefly in the post My Future is a Distraction. One thing I’ve been doing to remain centered is asking myself “what can I do today“? I don’t know what’s to come and I can’t go back to change what has already happened. All I can do is be present. Instead of trying to figure out what God is doing, He just wants me to rest in Him and accomplish what He needs me to accomplish today! I wake up anxious some days and as soon as I realize my thoughts are getting the best of me, I stop and remind myself that “tomorrow has enough worries of its own” (Matthew 6:34). Also, worrying about what’s to come doesn’t solve anything! I can’t see the future and stressing over it does not bring about the answers any faster!!!! I’m just wasting energy at that point. This strategy has worked wonders in my life the past few months, especially with regards to anxiety.
Appreciate the closed doors, too. Not getting that position was not the only “no” I’ve gotten this year, but I know that God’s “no’s” are for my protection. I now only want what has my name on it! I want the man that loves me and has been praying for me. I want the career that is perfect for my temperament and suits my interests. I want the new place that has everything on my mental checklist. I want what’s MINE! That position I didn’t get wasn’t mine. That other position I almost applied to but didn’t because of a hesitation in my spirit – it’s for someone else. The seemingly perfect condo that I was denied for, twice, would have been a poor financial decision for me and the others involved. Sometimes you don’t realize why until afterwards, but be grateful for the no’s too, especially if you’ve been including God in your decisions. He closed the door for a reason. Trust that.
Endure. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I don’t know if that quote is biblical, but the Bible definitely expresses a similar sentiment. Much of our growth happens when we are challenged, uncomfortable, or struggling in some way. How we handle those situations says so much about our character. We have to view our difficulties as teaching moments. What is the lesson in it? These situations often are not fun, but we have the potential to come out on the other side of them stronger and better than we were before. This season I’m in isn’t my worst, but it also isn’t my favorite. Nonetheless, I’m learning so much about myself and what it means to truly trust God. I haven’t been making a ton of “big” moves, but I’m proud of my personal growth. Press on. These are growing pains you’re feeling. Know that you won’t be in this place forever.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1: 2-4
Don’t force it. I’ve been more cautious these days. What am I trying to force vs what is God telling me to do? I’ve actually been struggling with this one because I’m not always confident in when I’m hearing from Him. The last thing I want to do is get myself into something I was never supposed to be in. I try to not make rash decisions and with every choice I make, I pray about it first, hoping He provides clarity. But sometimes it is hard to know if I’m doing the right thing. I’m still seeking wisdom in this area, but what I have learned is to not force things to happen. There’s a difference between working hard for something and trying to force it happen. Again, what is meant for you is for you. If it is supposed to happen, it will. And if you keep forcing what isn’t meant to be, you’ll end up even worse off than you were to begin with. Stop trying to bypass those “Do Not Enter” signs. Trust the no’s and wait for what’s yours.
Don’t press pause. Did yall know that stress and anxiety can lead to procrastination? I haven’t written a post since the first week of February. I also completely stopped studying for my licensing exam. Why? Because I’ve been so mentally consumed with trying to figure my life out that some of the things I was supposed to be doing right now were pushed to the wayside. We do this often in life. “Now isn’t the right time.” “I’ll start tomorrow.” “I want to wait until I get this or that taken care of.” But is it really not the right time or are you procrastinating? Did you put your life on pause because you can’t handle it right now or are you making excuses like me? Have I been busy and a little overwhelmed some days? Yes. Should I let that keep me from my craft or furthering my professionalism? Not at all. In fact, now that I think about it, how can I sit around expecting more when I’m not even doing what I’m supposed to be doing with what I already have? I want to further my career, but put studying for my license on hold. This goes back to the point about being present. What can I do right now!?
Also, tomorrow is not promised. What did you put off until tomorrow that you truthfully could do today? What chance are you waiting to take? What opportunity are you waiting to pursue? What goal are you not working towards because “now isn’t a good time”? Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it really isn’t time, but be honest with yourself. Our days are numbered and we don’t have time to waste. I don’t know what’s to come, but I can’t stop my life while I wait for the pieces to fall into place. There will never be a time when everything is perfect. I’m not saying run ahead of God’s timing, but don’t center your life around what may or may not happen. You’re holding yourself back. I’m guilty of this, but I’m learning.
Last but not least, Trust the process. I know, I know, you hear this all the time. But it’s true that everything you’re facing today is a part of a bigger picture. We may not understand why things are happening the way they are and we may not be able to see it yet, but God has a purpose for each of us. Our circumstances don’t always make sense, but be reminded that He has sight beyond what we can see. Picture this: wherever you are, just take a look at your surroundings. What all can you see from where you’re standing? Now think about God. He is everywhere all the time. He can see your past and your future. He can see down the street and around the corner when all you can see is what is in your line of sight.
It can be really easy to start worrying and trying to take matters into your own hands, but in seasons when you just don’t know what to do or where to go, it is so important that you trust His leading. He is moving behind the scenes on your behalf. Be encouraged and wait on Him with a glad heart. In due time, it will all start to make sense. He is on your side.