I spent a little time looking up jobs online tonight. Mostly jobs related to college ministry, young adult ministry, small groups, discipleship and spiritual formation. I had to stop after awhile because I just felt so discouraged.
I’m not a man.
I didn’t get an M.Div (Why? I don’t know. I probably should have. I didn’t know I should have at the time).
I remember that I look like I’m 16 and hence am often not taken seriously by strangers.
I’m scrolling through these job descriptions and feel my heart sinking after I read each one. Because they sound so fantastic (can you believe people get paid to do those kind of things?) and because I feel so underqualified.
And then I start hearing the familiar words. No one is ever going to hire you. You’ve missed the mark again- you shouldn’t have gone to seminary. You wasted your time. God doesn’t want to use you. Those kind of jobs are for people who are smarter and more clever than you. You would totally flop if you were ever hired to do something like that. It’s probably better just to give up on that idea.
It was then that I recognized that the voice wasn’t from God. God doesn’t beat down His children. He doesn’t dose out spoonfuls of shame. He doesn’t open doors only to mock us for walking through them.
He has a plan and purpose for our lives. He guides and directs those who are earnestly seeking Him. He provides for His children (this one is one of the hardest for me to believe at the moment). He sometimes works in mysterious ways. He doesn’t call someone to something only to leave them once they start down the path of obedience.
These are the kind of truths I’m holding onto these days. Sometimes they sound so cliche to my aching heart, but I know the alternative will destroy me.
Some people make life look so easy, don’t they? Things unfold for them so smoothly. They seem to never have to cling to God, but are always dancing around His feet, joyfully and peacefully accepting His love, relaxing in His promises. For me, I spend my time ignoring Him, running away from Him, sitting quietly next to Him, throwing temper tantrums, sulking, clinging to Him for dear life, begging Him to help me not “miss it”. Sometimes my relationship with God seems anything but easy. But tonight I just cling and pray and hope, even when I don’t feel like clinging and praying and hoping.
Honestly, I always feel like I’m at the wrong place at the wrong time. I often believe that there is someone else out there living the life that I was supposed to live. I frequently second guess my decisions and scrutinize my choices, trying to figure out where I/we went wrong. I fear that I’ll get to heaven and God will play me footage of the life I would have lived if I would have made the “right” choices.
But, I recognize the battle going on, and I keep on clinging. Asking Him to use me. To make a place for me, even if I’ve made bad choices. To offer gallons of grace to me, helping me to better hear His voice, even if I’m not always sure that I hear anything at all.
I pray that He helps me to remain authentic and hopeful. If God chooses to never use me in the ways that I dream of, I pray for peace and contentment.
What are the lies that you struggle against believing?
What promises do you find yourself desperately clinging to?