Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hello Again!

I've realized something recently. I miss writing. So, once again, I'm making a resolution to do a better job of keeping this thing updated.

To start things off, I'm going to repost something I wrote for a different blog. The women at my church have used a blog for the past year to encourage one another to "raise the bar" in our lives. Feel free to check it out. Here is the link to my post, and for convenience sake, I've copy and pasted it below.

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Since being challenged to raise the bar, I have seen God give me a series of tangible, concrete “things” to do. As I saw each of these "things" come to a close, I believed I had successfully raised the bar. I was ready to move on, but I am now realizing how connected these "things" are and how yet again God is challenging me to raise the bar in a new way.

This summer, I was at a point in my life where I felt like I was standing on a ledge with a big, wide black space in front of me. I had graduated from law school without any prospects for a long-term job. I was torn between staying in Minnesota or moving back to California where I grew up. I wanted to stay in Minnesota (yes, I know it is cold here), but as time wore on and no jobs were surfacing it did not seem financially feasible. Not to mention the fact that all of my job concerns would be moot if I didn’t pass the big, ugly Bar (legal bar, not metaphorical spiritual challenge bar) I had hanging over my head.

In all of this I was oddly at peace. I was in a place where I was fine for the present, but had to rely deeply on God to provide for the future, even in the face of the future not being what I wanted it to be. I realized I really needed to submit to what God had planned for me. I had to trust that whatever He had in store for me was under the protection of a Good God. I remember one night just praying that God would help me let go of Minnesota if I wasn’t going to end up here. A peace washed over me and, though it sounds cheesy, at that point, even though I still wanted to stay in Minnesota, I was able to see the possible good in going back to California (moving back in with the parents and all). Two days later I was hired as an attorney here in Minnesota. Problem solved. God provided. Bar raised. Check.

Next, I felt God telling me to raise the bar by setting down roots in Minnesota, in my life, in relationships, and at Hope. I took several risks, trusting that by moving forward God would grow the relationships I was entering into and provide the community I needed to make Minnesota feel like home. I found roommates who I hoped would be a source of good community. I started dating someone. I got a dog. I became a member at Hope. I joined a small group and became a mentor. I did everything I could think of to set down roots. Once again, bar raised.

Then, more recently, I realized that while I had been challenged to raise the bar in the ways mentioned above, the results weren’t all what I thought they would be. My life didn’t magically snap into place.

Despite efforts to get to know my roommates, they are largely MIA, so I basically live alone. The transition into my new role at work is negatively affecting relationships with co-workers that I thought were pretty solid. The dating thing fizzled out without ever becoming much to speak of. Though I am more intentionally involved at church, I still struggle with the work that goes into developing actual relationships with people. Oh, and then my dog died. I know, it seems kind of harsh, written out like that, but that’s exactly how it felt—harsh. I was frustrated. I had taken all the steps, done everything I could to be obedient to the things God was calling me to.

I am employed, have a roof over my head, growing friendships, and a relatively comfortable life, but nothing was turning out the way I thought it would. I realized I was starting to feel resentful. Not an angry resentment, more like a curious resentment. Hadn’t I raised the bar? I had been obedient, so where were my results?

Then it hit me. God is enough. All of these things happening in my life were ways God had “come through.” God had totally provided! I’m happy with my job. While I don’t like living alone, my living situation is comfortable. I feel like I’m making some really great new friendships at church. And yet, none of that stuff is ever going fulfill me. That is something only God can do. By focusing on how satisfied I am by my circumstances, I am worshiping the things God has provided rather than simply worshiping God.

So where does that leave me now? In all honesty, I’m not there yet. I am still struggling not to evaluate my relationship with God based on the results I see. When I feel dissatisfied I’m trying to remind myself through prayer and scripture that God really is enough. Lamentations 3:22-24 has been a huge encouragement in this process: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.'"

1 comment:

Amanda S. said...

Amen. Very encouraging to read as I begin my summer of studying for the bar without a job lined up. Miss you, friend, and excited for future posts!