It’s that time of year again (it’s still January, right?), when we all look at our lives and get real about where we’re at. The gyms are filling up and the amount of sugar being consumed is going down. Last year, I decided that I wasn’t going to look at all the bad habits I needed to change, but rather would look at my good qualities and do what I could with them. I don’t know if that was a better way to go or not, because it’s always harder to think of our own good qualities (unless you have narcissistic tendencies). In fact, we did an exercise in one of my Bible studies, where we had to go around the room and name one good thing about someone else, one thing we’d like to change about ourselves, and one positive thing we see in ourselves already. The first two were easy and we went around the room in under 3 minutes. The last one took us about 15 minutes for everyone to say something. I don’t know if it’s a learned skill in our culture, that we can’t say nice things about ourselves. Maybe we think we look like we’re bragging or something. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to see good things in yourself, as long as they don’t keep you from examining areas where you need a little more work.
Anyway, I would say overall, the good outweighed the bad this past year. There were days when I woke up and wondered how it was that I was so blessed. There were days when I had to drag my butt out of bed. But lately, I’ve been feeling just a little bit off. For a while, I thought I was just in a bad mood or hormonal. I would look at things in my life and just feel… dissatisfied. Maybe someone would look at my situation and just say “first world problems” and roll their eyes. For a long time I thought I was just being ungrateful or uppity. Sometimes I would just tell myself that I was being tested by God, and that it would all go away if I just stuck it out… but I don’t think that’s what’s happening anymore… I think I just don’t fit into my life anymore.
That sounds weird, but I don’t know how else to describe it. I can fake a smile and pretend like I’m enjoying myself in the same surroundings with the same people I’ve known for years, but not for very long, and not without going home and nearly having a break down. Even when I’m with my family, I feel like I’m somehow on the outside. Not that I’m being excluded… just that I don’t really fit there anymore, either. I don’t understand how I can feel like this, even with my own family… but I do.
I think that because I made the decision to change my heart this year, rather than my habits or my body I outgrew the life that I had been living. The past 5 years have been a huge leap in my spiritual growth. I went from a crawl to a full-on sprint in my walk with God in a very short amount of time, and for the most part have kept that pace. I don’t feel like I’m tired… I just feel like I’m not going anywhere. Like I’m wasting time and energy on something that doesn’t change.
Nothing ever changes.
But I need more.
If God has promised me a hope and a future, and has plans for me beyond just plugging holes in the sinking ship I feel my life is becoming… I need more.
So how am I going to fix it?
I don’t know… but maybe I don’t need to know.
Stick with me.
When Abraham was still Abram, God called him to “go to the place I will show you (Gen 12:1).” God gave him such a big promise, to make him the father of many nations, if he would just start walking. I like this story for two reasons. 1: It reminds me that I don’t have to fully understand what God is doing in order to be fully obedient. And 2. that God reveals Himself when we are actively walking with Him, not standing around looking around for something to happen. Maybe I’m completely missing what He’s trying to show me… Maybe I feel like I’m walking in circles because a wall like the one around Jericho needs to come down around my heart. Maybe I’m on lap six, and I’ve just got one more to go before something happens… until I’m no longer a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.
Ultimately, that’s what it means to have hope, to believe that what you are doing today will make a difference tomorrow. As Christians, we talk a lot about faith, but not so much about hope. I think sometimes we think if we have hope for something down the line, it means that we don’t have faith for today… but in 1 Corinthians 13:12-13 the Bible says, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
So whether you are hoping to fit into a new, smaller pair of jeans, or you’re like me, and trying to figure out where the heck you fit into your life anymore… don’t lose hope. Keep walking (both figuratively and on the treadmill). Lap 6 might be where you get tired, but Lap 7 is where God hands you the victory.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. –Galatians 6:9