For the longest time, I felt like everything about my adult life had spun out of my control. My unhappiness fueled the eating and the eating fueled the unhappiness. Substances were a quick vacation from that unhappiness. Relationships were unauthentic but provided a cheap Band-Aid to soothe the unhappiness. Every year or so I would find a new job and exclaim, “Now I can finally end my unhappiness!”
Unfortunately, I was so unhappy, so unfulfilled, my job was never enough and eventually I could never put forth the effort required to keep it. More or less, at the dead end to each stint of employment came the same phrase in varying forms:
My twenties consisted of years of trying to understand how the golden touch I possessed as a child and teenager was no longer within my capabilities. The more I tried to control my life and my surroundings, the more I began to doubt my ability to ever find happiness or ability to succeed again. I was told all my life that I was smart and yet I felt anything but smart.
I felt empty.
God found my emptiness and filled it with joy even as I have continued to report to a job for many months that I have to choose to be thankful for. In that joy, I assumed this meant my “mojo” would soon re-enter all realms of my life – from relationships to career to conquering everything I tried. Just in the last few months, I’ve thought to myself, “I’m going to get my golden touch back now that I’m following the Lord again!”
My identity was so wrapped up as a teenager in how I was smart, funny, likeable and good at almost everything I put my mind to that I figured now that I had re-added God into my daily equation, I could reclaim my rightful spot at the right hand of the throne. Super Brandon reporting for duty once again! Hi ho, Silver, and away! I finally had everything under control!
And God said, “Hold up, Tonto.”
Each day, I work at a job I secretly loathe on varying levels and have been harboring an arrogance about because I, the WBH, am truly more intelligent than any of these yahoos. And though I realize now that I’ve dwelt in that arrogance, some simple facts remain: I’m growing daily in my relationship with the Lord, I work as hard or harder than anyone else in my department, and I have been more generous and faithful in my tithes and giving right now than I ever have in my life. These factors alone should give me that control to succeed in a way that I never have professionally, right?
Yet here I sit today admitting there is a chance I could lose my job soon. I’ve worked hard, I’ve put a smile on my face each day, and due to factors, many of which seem to be out of my control, I’m looking at possibly hearing those haunting words again that end my employment.
Initially, I didn’t understand. It is extremely emasculating and embarrassing to lose a job. Why, now that I am fervently seeking the Lord, might I have to face withstanding that again? I have almost drowned in fear this week.
The thought came to me yesterday, “Why would any woman love you? You want to take care of a girl? You can’t even take care of yourself.” If I am Jonah, how has this whale of unhappiness returned to consume me? I thought I was done with that. The emotions of my past dripped through me like poison.
This morning I felt the Holy Spirit dump a cold bucket of water on me.
In all my assumptions and arrogance I failed to ask a vital question: Who is really in control?
I’ve already proven I’m horrible at running my life, so why am I so dumb as to think that I have any control over my circumstances? Sometimes jumping in the backseat of the holy station wagon and buckling up means not seeing the road, but trusting that your Driver knows where He is going.
I don’t even know if I’ll have a job by the time this blog post runs. However, I do know that I’m not so arrogant to believe my provision or success will ever be a product of my control. I can rest with the conviction that my Lord will provide, no matter what.
This morning I looked in the mirror and I told myself something that I think we all should consider:
*Photo credit: aldenjewell