Sunday, September 15, 2013

Not What I Will

Last week, I found myself struggling - struggling with being content in my new gap year life. I know, I know, just a couple weeks ago I made a post about how optimistic and excited I was about my decision. But, as many people know, happiness is fickle and optimism is often worked for.
My unhappiness began to set in when I talked to my best friends on the phone. Abbz called me from her bright new home in Pullman and had glorious tales to tell of promising new relationships and copious school spirit. Joyfully she described to me the incredible community she had found in her new home and the new friends that had blessed her life already. When I talked to our third musketeer, Autumn, the next day, she had similar tidings. Right away she had found a small group of very close friends and was living an adventure every day. She told me about the escapades they went on and the rubber band fights they had across the hallway. Now, don't get me wrong, I was overjoyed to hear about the success and happiness they were finding at college. As I listened to them, I felt the deep joy that you feel when you know that someone you love is thriving. But there was also a part of me that grew sad during these phone calls.
I began to feel lonely. Partly because these girls that I love so much are far away from me, but also partly because I knew that they were enjoying all these new friendships and I had none of that in my life. In addition, I contrasted their fun-filled new lives with my own. Not only are they living in close-knit communities, they are experiencing new things every day. They are entirely surrounded by places, people, and events just waiting to be explored. Fun knocks on their doors each morning and welcomes them to the new day. Whereas, I'm still at home, living in the world of status quo. I began to feel as if my life was turning into a monotonous routine of working and then sitting around my home in the evenings.
If that wasn't enough for me to try and get used to, my younger sister started high school at this same time. She's going to the same high school I went to and as a result is going to be spending time with lots of the same people (some of which are dear friends I left behind) and going to the same events that I did. I had the time of my life in high school. Those four years are literally the best of my life so far. Thus I am incredibly excited for her to start that same adventure, but again, I felt the pang of sadness knowing that I have no place there anymore. I can't go back to my home there.
All of this together began to race through my mind, planting seeds of discontent in my heart. Why did I have to be, in a sense, "left behind?" Why did I have to be stuck in one place, doing the same thing every day? Where were my adventures?
I'm so very lucky that I have a faithful God, because almost as quickly as I let myself fall into the trap of self-pity, he readjusted my focus.
At church on Sunday, my pastor preached about the time right before Jesus' death, where he went up on the mountain to pray. Jesus knew that he was about to be betrayed, beaten and crucified and he was afraid. Going up to the mountain, he threw himself on the ground before God and asked that, if it was possible, this trial would be taken away from him. But even as he made this request, he said to God,  "Yet not what I will, but what you will."
It was as if, with this sermon, God was throwing all of my ideas about my life back in my face and saying, "Who do you think you are?" And I was reminded: I am not my own. All of the discontent I had been feeling and the questioning that I'd been doing was irrelevant in the midst of this greater truth: I am HIS. Jesus had been placed in a situation where he had to endure pain and suffering. And yet he trusted in God's plan unfailingly. In fact, he rejoiced in his suffering because he knew that God was using it according to his perfect purposes.
And that purpose was my eternal salvation through Christ. Because of the trial Jesus had to endure, I am now living my life covered in his righteousness. Because of this fact, I know that God has a perfect plan for my life, just like he had for Jesus'. And if Jesus could rejoice in God's plan for him when it meant torture and death, I certainly should be able to find contentment in God's plan for me, even if it's not exactly what I think I want.
So what if I'm not living from thrill to thrill? So what if I'm not out experiencing new places and people? Even if I had to spend this whole year completely alone (which I'm not by the way; I'm still surrounded by lots of special people) and having to live with a boring schedule, I could rejoice because I would know that God was using my loneliness and boredom for a purpose.
Fortunately, I know I'm not going to have a bad year. Along with the fact that God has a great plan for me this year, I've been reminded that I have some responsibility to live my life to the fullest. Opportunities for adventure might not be lining themselves up before me, but that doesn't mean they're not out there. I can spend my time investing in the relationships that I have here at home and seeking chances to explore new things.And all the while, I can live with confidence, knowing that God can use me in a positive way in the life of every person I come in contact with, and every day that I'm living is an opportunity to reflect the grace that God has shown me to the world.
Contentment can be hard to maintain. Constantly, there are things in our lives that we wish were different or we let ourselves say, "if only it were this way, I would be happy." But herein lies the source of an unfailing contentment: trusting in God's plan for your life, no matter what. From this point on this year (and in the years to come) I am going to strive to seek God's plan for me before my own. For if I'm living my life for God, it's going to be a wonderful ride.

Romans 8:34-39: "Christ Jesus is the one who died - more than that, who was raised - who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution or famine or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, 'For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

#Heisfaithful #contentment #Iusedthewordcopious #ThugLife

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