Stumbling Through Life

I don’t know what I’m doing next, and that scares me. For a long time, I had my life planned out. I knew what was going to happen and where I was going to be. Now, none of that applies. It’s scary. There are so many options. I don’t know what scares me more – the abundance of options or the complete and utter lack of control. 

If I’m being honest with myself, my biggest issue is with the absence of control. My perfectionism stems from a need to have control. But the reality is that I don’t know what is yet to come. I can’t tell you what will happen next or where I will be in five years. I can’t even tell you where I will be in the next five minutes. I can give you an idea or a well educated guess, but none of that is for certain. Nothing about the future is. 

I base my life off of the what ifs. Not only does that hinder what I do today, it keeps me from moving forward in the grand scheme of things. I am terrified of the future. I will admit that. My past informs and still affects my present. I am not proud of some of the things I have done, but I am learning to own them. When I worry, I always leave out the most important figure in my equations. God. God is the one who has control, not me. That thought is both comforting and terrifying. 

I do not know what I am doing. I have ideas, things I think I would like to do. And if you ask me, I will gladly tell you about them. But do I know what I am doing? Nope. Not even close. I’m just stumbling around, trying to figure things out.

Thoughts vs Reality

The world is a terrifying place. I figured my life would be cut and dry. I’d get married, have kids, and then stay at home and run the house. That was the plan, and there was nothing wrong with it. But that isn’t what happened. And if you look back farther, I had different ambitions. I was going to be a famous piano player and travel the world. That was my goal in life at the age of 5. That isn’t what happened either.

What actually happened was much different that what I dreamed up as a child and then teenager. I went through high school for four years then graduated. I went through college for four years and then graduated. In that time, I loved and lost, experienced a natural disaster, traveled all over the world, was manipulated and abused, made friends with amazing people, had the privilege to learn from great teachers and professors, saw and experienced God work miracles, and went through many therapists.

I never expected some of the things that happened in my life, but all of it has had a hand in who I am today, why I am. It doesn’t define me however. Rather, it informs me. Whether that is wrong or right, good or bad, that is how it is.

Questions on an application

Not too long ago, I was filling out an application for an internship that asked what my Christian faith looks like and how I live it out. It took me a while to come up with an answer. I wanted to present myself in a positive light, but at the same time wanted to be truthful about where I’ve been and where I am now. After several days of struggling to answer this question, a night of insomnia and prayer produced this.

I talk with God. My goal is to listen to Him and obey. I don’t always get it right, and sometimes I outright ignore what He is trying to tell me. I’m not perfect, but God is. I love God, and I aim to serve Him with all that I am.

I have been a Christian for as long as I can remember. According to my mom, I accepted Christ at the age of two and a half. I grew up in the church as the daughter of two active members, my father being one of the elders of the church. It wasn’t until the age of seventeen that I developed a more personal relationship with Jesus when I attended TeenStreet, a Christian conference for teens in Germany put on by OM, also known as Operation Mobilization. It was there that I had a breakthrough in my faith, and, in many ways, it was a defining moment. I decided there that I wanted to give my life over to Christ to be a disciple. I wanted to do what God wanted me to do. It was there that the beginnings of my “listen and obey” foundation began.

During my four years of college, my faith has strengthened and grown. I developed strong friendships with other young adults who I have walked alongside for several years. We have encouraged each other, cried together, laughed together, prayed for one another, and studied the Bible together.

The all-women’s ministry choir I am a part of has been a large part of this growth. I have done life some of these women for three years, and others only a semester, but we have done our best to embody our sisterhood in Christ. We sing about God, His love, and work hard in order to perform our best so that God can use us as a tool of encouragement, love or hope for each other and our audiences.

My professors have questioned me, tested my faith, and pushed me to continue to grow in my faith. It is a common joke that Bible majors end up leaving with more questions than they came in with. If there is anything that I have learned from my classes, it is that Jesus is Lord and I don’t have the answers. It was a difficult lesson to learn, as I like to know the answers to things. However, after all of the theology, Bible and ministry classes, I have come to the conclusion that there are a handful of non-negotiable Truths and those are what I am going to hold onto. Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man. He was born to the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. On the third day, He rose again. He died for my sins, and I am free because of it.

The campus pastors at my university have walked alongside me these past few years and have been extremely encouraging. When I had given up hope, the campus pastors held onto that hope for me until I was able to hope for myself again. They stood by me when my life was in flames, and they rejoiced with me when the Lord performed miracles. They remind me of the good things the Lord has done for me when I get discouraged.

I listen to God. I pray. I go through phases of just how much I read my Bible, but I do read it. I read other books, theology based books and devotionals. When I don’t have words to say, I find a worship song that fits the situation and I sing it. Other times, I draw, paint or dance. I journal as a way to communicate with God. I am by no means a perfect person; I make mistakes. I said that in the first paragraph. I go through different seasons. I am human and therefore am bound to err. Even in all that, I am a sinner saved by grace who loves God with all of her heart and wants to please Him in all that she does.

(UPDATE: I did get an interview, but both those in charge of the program and I decided that ultimately I was not the best fit for their internship.)