I'm afraid of being left behind.
Before all of my pentecostal friends start thinking I suddenly believe in the rapture, let me clarify.
I'm a natural born leader and so I've become used to leading. Even in situations where I'm following, I always have the mindset that being a good leader also requires me to know how to be a good follower. And so I follow so that I can lead more effectively.
As a leader, I fear being left behind. I fear being in the places that don't seem to make sense because they are not how I imagined they should be.
I fear being the one who still is unsure what to do with my life.
I fear being the one who still is living the student life.
I fear being the one who still hasn't found someone special to share life with.
I fear being the one who is still so uncertain about so many things.
The have are certain areas in my life where I always thought that I would lead the way because I'm a leader and that's what we do. Instead, I feel like I've become the follower.
This is not the kind of following I would have chosen. It's uncomfortable. Sometimes the feelings it brings are enough to knock me out. Sometimes the frustration and discouragement this kind of following leaves me with attempts to push out every spark of hope.
It's in these moments that I find myself having really brutally honest conversations with God. It's in these moments that I question Him, I accuse Him of not knowing what's best, of not wanting good things for me. These are the moments where I tell God that the grass must be greener on the other side. I play the comparison game.
I scroll through my facebook feed and I see the pictures and the statuses. And without even realizing it at the time, I wage war against hope. I give into believing that God is not worthy of my trust because He has robbed me of being able to lead the way in the areas where I think I should be leading. And I buy into the lies that tell me that it's my fault that things are this way. And so I believe that I will always be left behind.
And this kind of thinking becomes like streams of poison in my life. Poison that corrodes all joy and trust and self-worth. It breaks down my ability to respond to hard things with courage and confidence. I become beaten before the fight even begins. Everything that doesn't go my way essentially becomes another arrow sent from heaven aimed straight at my heart. God no longer becomes my refuge and protector, He slowly becomes an enemy only out to get me and make me suffer.
I've believed these lies for too long. I've let these streams of poison kill too much joy. I've let myself believe that I am a victim of God's "not so great" plan for my life.
And the thing is....I've decided that it's time to fight.
It's time to fight against comparison.
Against believing that if your life doesn't look like you think it should, like the lives of those around you, that this must mean that you have been left behind.
It's time to see things in new light.
When I spend all of my time focusing on the things I don't have, I miss the things I do have. I miss the opportunities that I have the chance to live in. I miss the daily joy. And maybe the grass isn't actually greener on the other side. Perhaps it just looks that way in the pictures. Maybe all the things I'm experiencing right now are God's protection, they are His way of demonstrating just how much He loves me. When my hand is right up against my face, it's blurry, I can't tell that it's a hand. It's only when I move my hand away from my face that I get a new perspective and I start to understand what's really going on. I'm starting to think that this is actually the case for most of us.
We need to help each other out. We need more honesty, less pictures of the perfect life and more pictures of our messiness. I want to recognize that most of us haven't arrived yet and flaunting something that I've got that they don't have (yet) can actually be really hurtful.
My story is not being written exactly how I thought it would be. It's got a few different twists that I didn't plan on taking and the bumps never seem to be in the places I anticipated but isn't this the beauty of life? If my life would have turned out exactly as I planned it, the reality is that I think I would be bored. I would miss all of these people that I've gotten to meet, I'd miss the unique places I've gotten to visit, I wouldn't know the depth that longing and waiting creates in a person's soul. And I won't have the celebration that I'm going to have when some of the things I'm waiting to figure out actually happen. And as I write this, in a way I feel like these words are healing to my soul. They are words of restoration to the places that have become bitter and disappointed. And they are words that I have to keep fighting to speak. This battle is a daily one for me. It's the one I wake up with in the morning and go to bed with at night.
Choosing joy is just that, it's a choice. And it's one that I've failed to choose too often.
And I want to change.
So consider this my acknowledgment that I need to change. Because at my core I believe that God sees, and He knows all about it.
And that this moment, this hour, this day, this week, this month, this year,
this is not the end of the story.
And me, and you, and that person sitting across from you on the subway, we are not, nor have we ever been...