Challenging seasons seem like they will never end. I think more than half of my life has been a ‘challenging season’, where depression, fear, uncertainty, and inner-heart troubles kept me bound up in chains, a slave to my worry and hurts. I was not at all able to see beauty in the journey as I traveled through the dark days, and had even less understanding about what God was up to in my heart while He was asking me to take steps forward in faith, through my tears and trembling, as He agonizingly illuminated only the immediate step ahead. Why couldn’t He just light up the whole path so I could see what was coming? What would be so wrong about showing me the light at the end of the tunnel so I could worry less in the present?
I’ve wasted far too much time worrying about things that may never happen, and stressing about things I can’t change. I’ve concluded that worry is the biggest waste of energy out there. I still do it on occasion. It’s hard to get terrible thoughts out of your mind once they’re there. Journeying close to Jesus is the only way I know to get through those stretches of uncertainty, and now that I’ve entered a season of relative calm, I look back and see how much more was going on there than I could see at the time.
For one, I am convinced that there is no better place to be than wherever it is that God wants me to be, even if that place seems more simple or humble than I would have chosen. When I was a little younger, I had all kinds of whims and dreams and plans for myself, and every threat to those plans sent me in a tailspin, or at the very least, in some kind of defensive reaction, feeling like if I didn’t muscle my way through, all my dreams would be taken from me. To be honest, my dreams have changed dramatically since then, so I guess in a way they have been taken, but what has come in their place is just so much more wonderful than I could ever have planned. If given the choice to trade and get them back, I wouldn’t budge an inch. I’ll stay right here, thanks.
I no longer live in fear of what I might lose or what might happen in the future. I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him (2 Tim. 1:12). He has, and does, and will continue to put me right where He wants me, and instead of fighting it, I look for understanding, for clues into what it is He is wanting to show me, to grow in me, and when I finally see it…I’m astounded. Every time. What if the challenges we face are there to ultimately help us find something deeper, or more real than what we are able to see without them? If that is true, will we hold our hearts differently? Worry a little bit less, and wait a little more expectantly for the lesson to become clear, or the blessing to be made full?