My stomach is in knots as I type because of the immensity of this post. I don't know what I'm going to say but I guess I'll just let my fingers and my heart do the talking.
I've wondered for the past few weeks if there is such a thing as a "quarter-life crisis". You know, like a "mid-life crisis". At 25-years old, I'm just one year into a career (three years if you count the two years as an intern) that I thought was my dream career and I'm beginning to second guess myself. It's not that I don't LOVE my job. I really do. Four years ago, I couldn't have imagined doing anything else. It's been my dream to be able to immerse my love of sports and writing into a job in which I have continuous interaction with people on whom I may have an immediate effect. (Of course, it would be more of a dream if I were in NYC working for the Knicks escorting the likes of David Lee and Stephon Marbury from one interview to another and being bfries with Kelly Ripa and Whitney Port. But dreams are dreams, right?)
However, for the past few months, I'm become what some may call "burnt out". I've even used this term several times myself. But it seems like this burnout is on overload and I don't think it's something that just a few weeks of rest can cure. I mean, I've had two solid weeks off from work, and I'm finding myself reluctant to return to my job.
I feel, as a 25-year old single gal, although I live in a great city and am surrounded by great people, my job has kept me from doing many things that a 25-year old single gal should be doing. Let's face it, I'm not old but I'm not a young 'un anymore either. I feel like my job has swallowed up all time and ability that I have had to live the life of a 25-year old. Some may be saying "that's just the way it goes," but I beg to differ. (I'm realizing more and more why so many people, especially women, have gotten out of this profession at such a young age.)
I'm a social person. I've had my season of not being so social but when it comes down to it, I'd rather be surrounded with friends than be alone. In my almost three years of being in Birmingham, I've only been able to cultivate relationships with my roommate and the people I see at work because frankly, those are the only people I see on a regular basis. I have friends from church but I'm only able to see them at church or at small group because I'm ALWAYS working when they decide to do fun things.
I desire to be more involved in my church, sing in the choir, serve in different ministries, etc., but with a job that has me working from 9-5, and later most days, five days a week, and then has me working on Saturdays AND Sundays, I'm just not really sure I'm the right person for this career. My Sundays are special to me. Always have been. Not that every other day of the week isn't spent with the LORD, it is, but Sunday is my one day that I can really immerse myself in God and really sit back and look at what he is doing in my life. With the changes in athletic conferences at work, most of my weekend responsibilites fall on Saturdays and Sundays. I worked four straight months this past fall, with MAYBE one weekend off. That is not conducive to my need to be plugged into a spiritual resource on a regular basis.
And then there the "boy problem." I have not (and have tried, contrary to popular belief) met very many quality nice guys who possess the same beliefs that I do here. It seems that the ones I do find are either attached in a long-term or more permanent way (i.e. marriage), weirdos, fakers or just not the right guy for me. There seems to be a drought of man-ness here in The 'Ham and it's not working for me.
Anyway, I feel like this has become a complaint post and that is totally not what this was meant to be.
The core of this feeling of change stems from the fact that I've been feeling for a while now that I was made for more. I feel like I have much more to give and I could do so much more with what God has given me.
My prayer for a long time has been Psalms 37:4 which says, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." I used to think that the more I tried to please God and know him better, the better my chances would be that God would make my dreams come true. Over time, I've realized that I was very wrong on several accounts.
First of all, God's pleasure in me is not based on my performance for him so I can stop busting my butt to work for his approval. Instead, his pleasure in me is based solely on what Christ has done for me and is doing in me. My desires once were something else, but I have come to realize that the more I've sought God, the more the desires of my heart have been transformed into His desires for me.
The good news is that I have finally decided to admit all of this. But there's one problem. Where do I go from here? What do I do?
Do I quit my job and get a new one? What kind of job? Do I actually want to be a writer? Or a photographer? Is God calling me to ministry or missions? What if he wants me to teach? I can't teach! Remember that one time that I had to lead Wednesday night bible study for the youth when I was in college? Crash-and-burn does not even begin to describe it.
Do I stay in Birmingham? Do I move away? Go back home? Move to Athens with Bethany? Somewhere else?
I know God has given me talents but I still struggle with what I think are inadequacies. Just when I think, "Hey, I can do that," doubt creeps in and uncertainties take over and I find myself wondering what my purpose really is.
So basically, what I need from you is some major prayer. Pray with me that God will ease my fears and show me that he is bigger than my doubts and lead me where he wants me to go. Ask God to tune my heart and my ears to what he wants me to do, to be sensative to what he is saying to me.
My new prayer is this: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)
I've got to trust that he knows what is good for me, what is right for me and he sees the things that I can't.
Being a musical person, I relate to songs, of course. I had a song all picked out to go along with this post but I think God had a small hand in my procrastination to blog about this today. Our sermon series for the past month and half has been a walk through Galatians and knowing fully the grace and love and freedom that comes in Christ. Today's message was entitled "Free to Run", based on Galatians 3:26-4:7. At the surface this doesn't seem like it would have much to do with what I'm dealing with right now. But the topic shifted, or seemed to shift for me, to dealing with inadequecies. Then this song was played: "Free" by Ginny Owens.
I've listened to this song millions of times but the lyrics spoke straight to my heart like never before.
"Turning mole hills into mountains, making big deals out of small ones, bearing gifts as if they're burdens, this is how it's been..."
I realized I'm making more of this than I should be. My mantra has been that God is in control, right? Start believing it. He's much bigger than all my fears.
"Fear of coming out of my shell, too many things I can't do too well, afraid I'll try real hard and I'll fail, this is how it's been..."
I'm totally not good enough. I suck at teaching. I don't know enough to be in ministry. I've never really led someone to salvation in Jesus Christ. How can I be a missionary?
"Until the day you pounded on my heart's door, and you shouted joyfully, 'You're not a slave anymore! You're free dance, forget about your two left feet. You're free to sing, even joyful noise is music to me. And you're free to love, because I have given you my love and it's made you free. I have set you free!"
I'm not a slave to any of those fears anymore. God has set me free to do whatever I want to do, as long as those things are in line with his will. But that's the great thing about it. I don't have any desires to do anything but bring God glory. In closing, I want to share with you the prayer that I wrote out this morning while listening to this song.
I know there is a change coming in my life. I'm not sure what it is or where I'm supposed to go but I pray that you will give me the grace to trust in your direction and plans.
I pray that you will make my heart sensative and my ears and eyes open to what you are calling me to do. Whatever it is. Wow, that's so easy to write, yet so hard to wrap my mind around.
Help me to rememer that you have set me free to do what you've made me for. Although, I feel inadequate, I know tha tou are big enough to full all of those inadequecies and chase the fears away that cloud my heart and mind so I can clearly see you guiding me down this road, standing next to me the whole way, telling me that I am more than capable through you in you.
I praise you for being the one that gives me faith to believe in you so that I can believe in myself, grace to see what an amazing work you are doing in my life and the strength to do whatever you want me to do.
Lead me. Mold me. Guide me. Hold me. Lift me up so that I may lift you up.
Praise to my Father!