One year later, learning the same lessons
Nothing has changed in a year.
I am nearly 27, I am unmarried, I am childless (see what I just did there?) and I’m waiting for something big to happen. Again.
I worked at a great place the whole school year. I had the opportunity to get another job at the same place this coming year, but at the last minute, dates changed. I already had flights booked to go on a mission trip, which meant I missed out on interview windows entirely. No, they didn’t do Skype or phone interviews. No, I didn’t consider staying home from my trip. No, I didn’t know if I would have a job when I got back. Yes, I was concerned about how I would pay the bills.
I could have written those same words last summer. (Oh wait! I did!) Nothing changed. All in one swoop, I fell back to exactly where I was at this time last year. I’m learning the same lessons. I’m going through the same trials. I’m asking all the same questions. I’m experiencing the same disappointment, worry, and frustration. It all feels the same.
I’m experiencing the same disappointment, worry, and frustration. It all feels the same.
Or so it would seem.
This year has been one for the books (or the blog posts, in this case). In the midst of my doubt and frustration, God came through in ways I could never have dreamed up on my own. I can look back and see how every disappointment, failure, and wrong turn was woven together and perfectly orchestrated to put me in exactly the right place I needed to be. I just had no idea I needed to be there.
I was placed in a school and a Kindergarten class with high needs. I was placed in the lives of many people who were grieving deeply. I was placed in a job situation that was exceptionally unpredictable. I kept things moving. I was flexible. I was calm. I was a good listener. I offered lots of hugs. I did all of the things I’m good at doing.
I can look back and see all the things I experienced and learned this year. None of it was my doing; I know that for sure. Yet, I’m in the midst of a season filled with frustration. I have already learned these lessons, God! Can we move forward, here? Do we really have to do this all over again?
Well, yes. We do.
God doesn’t teach you a lesson and then move on when you learn it. He keeps teaching you. He keeps refining you. He is never finished with you.
God doesn’t teach you a lesson and then move on when you learn it.
When I was younger I’d think, “So when I’m through this rough patch, THIS is when it’ll start fitting together. It’ll get easier.” I thought something was wrong with me because this whole “following Jesus” thing didn’t magically fall into place.
Then I learned that no one ever said it was going to be easy. And I’m still learning that, over and over. I’m a little stubborn, apparently.
God knows me deeply. He knows what makes me stumble. He knows the areas in which I need to grow. He’s not going to abandon me in the midst of a tough situation. He’s going to lead me through — however difficult it might feel — and carry on working and healing and refining my heart.
He’s going to break my stubbornness, even if it hurts (it will). That’s a promise He has made. He’s going to make all things work together for my good. If I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that I have no idea what my “good” looks like.
Outwardly it looks like I haven’t made much progress. But my heart is a little more whole than it was last September. I’m a little more refined. I’m a little less stubborn. I’m a teeny bit more like Jesus.
I’m still frustrated. I can almost guarantee that I’ll slip into pity party mode at times, but I can deal with it knowing that it will fit together in ways that are too complex for me to see right now. I can rest easy knowing that God is waiting to turn this mess into another really fantastic story. I can learn the same lessons knowing it will yield different results. I can surrender my frustrations because I know there is someone who knows what my “good” looks like better than I do.
Photo (Flickr CC) by Alejandro Giacometti.