I’ve been wanting to write about my current stage in life because it feels intense and pivotal, but I find it difficult to express in words so this is my best effort. Honestly, my emotions are up and down daily, sometimes hourly or even from situation to situation. At times I feel extremely frustrated to the point of anger and can’t pin-point a single cause or trigger. It’s just life in general. I thought I’d be further along by now. But here I am; no husband, no kids, no boyfriend, no BMW, no 6-figure job, no jet-set lifestyle, no 10k followers on Instagram, nothing that resembles the world’s view of success. The frustration comes because I feel like I have all the tools in my toolbox but can’t seem to build. I look around at other people who seem to be doing more with less and at a younger age. I resigned from my previous job because I felt like God wanted me to. Trust me, I have no regrets about resigning but I thought surely something bigger and better would have come my way by now. This June marks 4 years since my resignation. Really I’m just tired of the struggle and I can’t see any relief on the horizon.
Another reason I was having trouble writing about this stage is that I try to have some positive inspirational conclusion to my posts but I don’t have one because my story isn’t over yet. Snow White is still asleep, Cinderella is still a peasant, <insert superhero’s name> hasn’t discovered his/her powers, and the water hasn’t turned to wine. My pastor recently preached a message that changed my perspective. She talked about how you don’t have to have this Hallmark ending to your story to tell it. Progress is still a testimony and telling it helps you persevere to the expected end. So here we are.
I also know that sometimes people just need a story they can identify with to know they are not alone. (One of the enemy’s tactics is isolation.) In my heart of hearts I know there will be a good positive conclusion to this season, even if I can’t see it yet. That’s the essence of faith; the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen [Hebrews 11:1]. If I could see it, it wouldn’t be faith. I’ve been reading “Crushing” by T.D. Jakes. This book is seriously speaking my life. Truth be told, I’m tired of this crushing stage and I want out. At the same time I know that what I truly want, my heart’s desire, is on the other side of the crushing and there’s no way around it. I must endure this “light affliction.”
My garage has become my place of solace. Judge not. I find it so peaceful to come home from work and just sit in my car in the garage in the pitch black silence (with the car off of course.) When I first started sitting there, with the garage door closed behind me and headlights off, it was so dark I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. That was fascinating to me. It’s not scary because I know I’m in a safe place. It’s my garage and no one has access to it but me. There’s no need to be afraid of the dark when you carry light. After a few months of this routine of relaxing in my garage, I realized that my eyes are adjusting to the darkness. Where I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face before, I can now make out the outline of the door and the paint cans on the shelf in front of me.
I realized this was a reflection of my life. I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel but my eyes are adjusting to my current darkness. I’m implementing what I’m learning about being a manager at work and actually seeing results and feeling more confident. I was inspired and convicted by a quote from Sarah Jakes Roberts, “I have a lot to learn but I also have the capacity to learn it.” That’s exactly how I feel about being a manager so I’m making the effort to learn. I’ve also upgraded my blog to a website and attached an online store. Resigned at 29 is now a brand. It’s still dark but I’m making out the outline of success while I’m here.
About a year or so ago, I heard an interview with the rapper Lecrae where he said something enlightening. His words seemed profound at the time but I didn’t truly grasp the magnitude of them until recently. He was commenting on a rough, crushing season of his life. He said he felt like he was drowning, but after some time it was like he grew gills. Out of Lecrae’s crushing came the album that’s been sustaining me in my crushing season, All Things Work Together. An album, a declaration, and a promise.
God allows trials to come into our lives not to harm us but to bring something out of us that we didn’t know we had. I’ve known that for years. I’m familiar with the book of James but reading it and living it are two very different experiences. It makes me think of Paul when he says that he’s learned to be content. I think Paul was talking about growing gills when you’re drowning, wings when you’re falling, or even pseudo night vision when life gets dark. Instead of changing the situation, sometimes God changes you. Even in dark seasons of life, if you get still and silent God can develop something in you that you didn’t know you had or were even capable of; like night vision or gills. I’m not saying I’m a superhero or anything, at least not yet, fingers crossed, but I do know that God can do some super things in some seemingly unnatural places.