Hello all – it’s been a while since I’ve written on here. Probably in part due to the wild feedback I got from my satire post on guy/girl interactions at my alma mater and another thing about gender in the church. It’s one of those of, um, duh, I’m posting things publicly and some people will not like what I say, but something strange does happen when you don’t have to look someone in the eye to tell them you disagree with what they said. When you put it in a comment box, you can sound colder, more powerful. I know because I’ve hid in comment boxes before, and for no really beautiful reason other than anger. So, all that to say, I’m coming out of hiding.
Well, I haven’t been hiding because of trolls, completely. I have a problem called Goldilocks Disorder* (*not a real thing) where I like everything to be juuuust right. Not perfect. Just my version of perfect. And it does quite a destructive number on me. I quit my job a while back and had been looking for work for about a month and a half, which felt like forrreeeverrrr. If this is news to you, it’s because I put a lot of stock and identity into having a job, and didn’t want to tell you I was unemployed, again, because my pride is so delicate of a monster it shrieks to even see me type this. One of the biggest lies in my life is that I am only worth my output, what I create. When I am not contributing (working at a nonprofit, writing a story, helping friends) I am less pleasing to God. Isn’t that awful?
The disappointing second thing about Goldilocks is knowing that this is not the first time I’ve had this epiphany. This is like the 128th time. I don’t know if I was sold a myth from evangelical pop culture or from my high-achieving Christian college, or if this is something I invented in my head: somehow I believed that the whole “I make all things new” thing meant that I would not have to disappointingly run into old hangups or problems once I had gotten the basic gist of them. That by now we would have moved on from the career idol thing to something else more interesting. That my journal entries from two years ago and today would not look so identical. That the God who is refining me would have a more diverse arsenal of tools than the same old problems. However, the spiritual life, I’m coming to realize, is much more repetitive than I had originally bargained for. And here’s the thing: maybe I want to start trusting the God who teaches me “seventy times seven” forgiveness and “give us this day our daily bread” prayers. A God who isn’t finished with me.
I didn’t get there on my own. Hellllll naw. Left to my own devices, I wail and wallow about not having a job as if it’s my job. No, it takes old friends on the phone, new Greensboro friends and their hugs and kindness, a great book by Emily Freeman, and a lot of listening to my Jesus Jams playlist to get there. Over the past month or so of avoiding my fear (Will I be okay? Where will I go if I can’t find work? What if this is forever? What do others think of me?) by traveling around, journaling, volunteering, pursuing new friendships – all good things, by the way — I’ve really worn myself thin. It is exhausting to try to prove yourself to a God who already took care of the proving thing for you. Back to the repetitive thing, it’s annoying to see myself working for worth, as if it will work this time, because it freaking NEVER HAS BEFORE. I always end up blubbering in Jesus’s arms as he comforts me with his infinite grace and gentleness. We always get there. It should stop surprising me, you know?
I ended up crying with a friend about all of this, after they had told me to stop trying so hard. Nothing like sniveling on your steering wheel with a person who is choosing not to laugh at you. There’s grace for job offers and rejections, and grace for Netflix pajama days and interview days. I asked God to help me believe that, and went to bed without the very real and physical weight on my chest that had been there since I moved to Greensboro. Oh heights of irony – a job offer was in my inbox the next morning. Not like trusting in the grace of Jesus is magic, like, POOF JOB NOW THAT YOU TRUST ME. As if God conditionally withholds good things from me. I don’t buy that. But that grace has been unlocked for me, and I am giddy to dip into it, jump into it, splash around in it Singin’ In The Rain style. An unlimited source of freedom and peace, given freely to me by a God who created both the stars and me. That’s powerful.
Will I be back here, wondering and fearing the same things next time I don’t have a job, or something else in my life is uncertain, and certainly out of my control? I guarantee it. Repeat, refine, repeat. But will this powerful grace still be there? You bet. I cannot boast in anything – no gifts, no power, no wisdom – but I will boast in Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection.
Til next time, friends.