Monday, February 21, 2011

God Knows What

These days, I'm living the desert life.  I have the occasional pity party, when I wonder if I'll eventually become the forty-year-old cat lady who dotes on her nephews because she never got to have kids of her own.  But on days like today, I realize that I've been looking at things all wrong. Again. 

This is not a "be happy, even while you're lonely" post. Rather, I just felt overwhelmingly grateful to have a God who made me exactly who I am, living out the exact life I'm living today.  And I realized that, no matter what my life holds after today, I am always never the same.  I am ever-mystified and captivated by the God who weaves everything together so intricately.  The God who speaks through random conversations, books written by authors I'm not sure I even like, losing someone dear to my heart, even email subscriptions to cheesy women's devotionals.

The God of the Universe has opened my eyes to see that more and more people are going to think I am foolish as my heart and mind are transformed into the likeness of Christ.  I have always assumed that my life would get easier as I learned more about God, because He is good.  That's what they tell you in church, right?  Follow three steps (if the pastor is clever, they will all start with the same letter, or rhyme) and you will see the "blessings of God in your life."  Or maybe it's that God is your comforter and your protector, so if you just "trust in Him," no harm will come your way and you will never be lonely.  But when God's blessings don't look like blessings, and I feel the pangs of loneliness creeping in, does it mean that I'm doing it all wrong? Some people may consult their check-list and tell me yes.  It would be obvious that if I read my bible enough times a day, or pray enough, then God would give me peace. If I "give my problems to God" then I wouldn't struggle with them anymore.  But what about Paul's thorn in the flesh? What about Job?

It makes me think that I am wrongly motivated.  The "if, then" method of thinking is completely self-centered.  Brittany is the most important part of the equation and what happens to Brittany is the ultimate goal. I want peace. I need to pray until God gives it to me.  I want to get married. I need to pray until God either gives it to me or changes my heart to not want it anymore.  How has loving God turned into a list of formulas we use in hopes to get what we want out of life?  Maybe sorrow will teach me to be more like Christ.  Or maybe being completely overwhelmed with work and not knowing what to do will help me rely on God, which will make me more like Christ.  Jesus was about 30 and single (according to most scholars) and basically homeless (as in, roamed from town to town healing people and preaching) when he started His ministry, worked a normal job as a carpenter before that, and clashed with most of the leading religious people of His day.  Yet, I want a good, steady job pursuing my passion, a comfortable home, a reliable car, nice clothes, a husband to adopt a whole slew of children with, and zero adversity. And I want these things because that's what I've been taught to want.

This post turned out a little differently than I had hoped. All I really meant to say is that I started reading "Searching for God Knows What" by Donald Miller.  It's an incredible book, if you can follow his tangents.  If you've made it to the bottom of this, then you can.  I would pick it up asap because it suggests an entirely real way of approaching the Bible.  A way that is more truth than "if, thens."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Can I do this?

This is what I have asked myself all week.  Well, after I stopped asking what exactly my job IS.  That, I still haven't exactly figure out.  But the real question now, and only time will tell, is- can I do it?  I'm not entirely sure.

Can I be brave enough to go into some legitimately scary neighborhoods?
Can I handle working with people who may try to take advantage of the services I am there to provide, without judging them?
Can I take care of myself in a situation where I don't know what to do? 
Can I overcome my anxiety and work with complete strangers, in a town I'm unfamiliar with, not knowing really how to help?
Can I, a single white girl with no children and not many responsibilities, empathize with families who come from what seems like an entirely different world?  And will they like, or even respect, me?

All of these things and more, I'm almost entirely sure that I can't do on my own.  If I make it (another) week in this job, it will be because I have a God who gives me EXACTLY what I need, as I need it.  Because right now, I'm scared to death!  Scared for my own safety (not that I would put myself in a dangerous position purposefully) but especially scared of failing miserably.  But, my God is a God who provides, and He provided this job.  So I am confident that He will take care of me and will make something out of this. 

Next week will be WEEK 2- my first real week in the field.  And I have no idea what I'm doing.  Time to put my big girl pants on.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Rose-Tan and Rambling

   I was informed this morning that, according to my birthday, I should surround myself with the color rose-tan and that I should write.  And what better day to start writing again than today.  Today started easily, which, for any of you who know me personally, is a phenomenal improvement over the sluggish dragging of myself out of bed that generally occurs.  We'll call this my big victory for the day.

   Today is also the first day of the rest of my life, or it could be.  I started my new job.  And I think I'm going to love it.  The more they talked, the more they thought they would scare me away.  But I was soaking it all in quietly while my heart wanted to gush with excitement.  So.. details.  My caseload? 18 families, give or take.  Salary? You could argue it's low, but compared w/ what I've had in the past, I'll be living in extravagance!  What will I be doing?  Good question. I'm still figuring that out, but basically it looks like I get to help people learn how to help themselves out of life stresses and challenges that make parenting difficult. It's flexible, and I get to use who I am to help them reach their goals!  Plus, the girls in the office seem great upon first meeting and I'm looking forward to getting to know some of them better.

   I come home from the excitement of the day, only to find in my mailbox a long-awaited package from one of my dearest friends in the world.  And not only was there new book to read, but the most perfect letter.  Don't you love when someone knows exactly who you are and still thinks you're great? It was such an encouragement.  And it helped me to see that even as I struggle, God has been using me for good.  We can all be exactly who we are, right now, no matter our shortcomings.  Because we were created exactly as we are for the things that surround us this very moment.