I work in front of a music-stand-turned-standing-desk (I don’t like sitting) in my father’s sunny home office. The irony that Jason Gray has spent the past 3 minutes and 47 seconds insisting that “Nothing is wasted…” isn’t lost on me. That assertion speaks to questions painfully relevant at the moment.
I’ve now completed a second week under the roof of my ever-generous-and-accommodating parents after arriving back in Illinois for Thanksgiving. The whirlwind of my life during the preceding six weeks (Moody employment suffering a premature end, housing in Chicago being terminated, and then leaving for a month-long adventure to the east coast and back), and the preceding two months (arriving back in Chicago from abroad, deciding to coach again at Moody, and jumping back into the swing of a basketball season), and the preceding six months before that (Moody season ending, and leaving for Europe with unclear future ahead) have tumbled to a screeching halt.
I have about as much idea of what will come next as anyone. And, having reached the end of any more plan, hours seem to freeze in place. Each day elongates the span of days that came before. The calm has been unsettling, vexing, infuriating.
If this was a movie or some novel, I might enjoy this hanging, jarring interruption — or at least appreciate it as a plot device. Living it, and not being able to fast-forward or read ahead, I have been less than appreciative.
Every day I strive — reaching out to new contacts, follow up with contacts others have provided me, chasing down new ideas and leads, applying to new jobs. I partake in conference calls, fill out applications, send emails (yeah; me and my emails), surf Craigslist (you know it; me and my Craigslist), scour job sites… I am an inch away (or perhaps just the necessary budget) from taking out mass advertising. And I feel that for every inquiry I send out I receive two no’s or “We’ve found a better fit…”‘s or “Now’s not the time…”‘s. I feel like I can’t even get a job at a local warehouse. (I’m not exaggerating — I’ve already gotten a no from a warehouse.)
Whispers of My Own
I’ll be honest about the thoughts and feelings I’ve been experiencing. I hope one day this story may help others in similar situations. I have experienced a great deal of pure, radiating, red-hot anger towards God over the past few weeks. At my most agitated, my thought stream could be delivered dramatically along any or all of the following summations:
Why, God, would You take my entire life situation away (job and purpose*, housing, even my car) if You didn’t have anywhere in particular for me to go instead?
Why, God, have the last four and a half years since I graduated panned out this way (always feeling stuck in a less-than-optimal and temporary situation)?
God, am I totally wrong in pursuing what I am pursuing? Am I looking in exactly the wrong direction? Is that why nothing is falling into place? Why have I had these crazy experiences and myriad opportunities to coach basketball if that’s not the direction I’m supposed to go?
What door haven’t I knocked on that I have clearly neglected or not thought of yet?
Why don’t You believe in me? Is the fact that I am not able to find my next job because You don’t need me anywhere?
Why won’t you give me a place where I can be accomplishing something (for You of course)?
Will You show me whatever it is that I’m supposed to be learning so that I can get back to doing what I want to do and not feeling like I’m sitting around and worthless?
What am I missing, God?
These thoughts tumble relentlessly, constantly, ebbing away for a few more optimistic hours here and then increasing their tumult there. I could wax further on their content and vitality but that would get tedious. I think you get the idea.
Whispers of His
In all my tantrum-throwing and hot outbursts at God over the past few weeks, I think some of my steam has given way to the post-rage stupor and exhaustion that finally lets the sane party insert a quiet response. Conciliating themes have reached my ears in quiet musings, reasoned reflection, hazy revelation, or through sermons or wise words.
Lauren, What are you so anxious to prove?
Why do you continue to be blinded by a lust for value or purpose through any other means than pleasing Me?
When will you let go of the idol of accomplishment and position?
In all my discontent, how easily do I forget that God created me, gave me everything, lavished undeserved blessing on my life, and invited me to not only accept something as beautiful as the Gospel but to take part in its overarching story and share it with others?
What IS my purpose on this earth? To glorify God. And I have the opportunity to glorify God just as completely while doing dishes at my parents’ house as I would in a grand office, on a plane, or in a massive arena.
Meanwhile, the only clear-ish word I’ve heard in weeks: “Trust My timing.”
Here goes nothing. Nowhere to go but forward. Nothing to do but to learn how to humbly glorify God in the midst of striving and to wait for His leading.