“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
Ah decisions, decisions.
Life is full of those. Young children dream and wish for the days when they have control of their own lives and decisions, adults dream for the days when they did not have to worry about their decisions.
Alas. We always want we don’t have. I heard a line in the closing scene of a movie today that stuck with me,
“The key to happiness is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes.” -Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
Another thing hit me recently. Coming from a Christian conservative family, I have often heard of an ‘entitlement attitude’ which is held by many young Americans today. My parents and older siblings all rebuke this attribute as one that cannot and will not help anyone in the future. However, I believe that I have fallen into this very mindset. Going off to college I had a lot of expectations. At the same time I knew college would not be easy. When I got there, I was instantly besieged by problems I had not foreseen.
Instead of facing difficult academic studies, the classes I took all seemed like things I had learned in my first year of high school. Many of the problems I had were the exact opposite of the problems I expected. Instead of being driven by too many classes and stressed by too much homework, I found my brain screaming from lack of challenge and the apparent disappearance of those who cared for challenge. In everything I became bored, eventually restless, and for a while I found myself thinking that I was becoming less intelligent the more I neglected to fill my mind with, what I called “new” information.
Now, during the summer as a student looking to transfer, I have no idea where to turn. Many options are one the table. I must make a decision. Herein lies my problem. Throughout this past year I became more and more unhappy. Hearing all of these stories from students who loved the school and could not wait to come back each fall convinced me that my experience would be similar. But this year I expected to find happiness, and even when I found other sources of joy, I convinced myself that I was not happy because it was not what I had expected.
How sad is that? I basically spent a year of my life chasing this ideal of happiness and success, holding it up as this idol that I must attain. And yet this was the lie.
It was rather like a minion chasing a banana that does not exist.
A mindset focusing only on one thing has created an idol. Today, I face many decisions. The school I feel called to is impossibly far away, in NYC, and the college has not seemed to provide me with the financial aid I need to even pay for the stupendous housing cost. Yet, the more I look into other schools, the more I fear I will make the wrong decision and end up with another year gone and no further to my degree.
Today, I must put aside the idol of success. Somehow, I am getting through the summer (so far) without spending copious amounts of time worrying about school. The reason I believe I have had so much peace in the midst of turmoil is this:
I know in my spirit, even if my brain doesn’t always agree, that my Father has a plan for me. In the midst of a difficult season, I received many blessings. Crazy opportunities popped up this semester. I was given the chance to spend my spring break with a brother who I have not seen in months. He and his wife blessed me so much on that trip that they may never know how profound that impact was. My older brother spoke into my life, his wife reached out to me even when we did not know each other that well. The impact that a simple friend can make is profound. So I thank them. They may never know how much I needed to just hang out, even at a coffee shop in the middle of Washington. My brothers mother-in-law encouraged me before I went in to one of the most stressful auditions of my career, and she may never know. My sister-in-law is an incredible person and I have the hardest time expressing that.
But now that I look back, I realize how much I received, how many blessings occurred that I did not take the time to appreciate.
In the midst of decision, I blinded myself to the opportunities God put before me.
Let the Lord pour into your life, especially when it doesn’t seem like life is any good.
So now is the question, what do I think about instead of worrying? Instead of resting my eyes on God, I simply filled my time up with an endless list of tasks. Little things that piled into a huge pile of to-do’s that never got done.
That is an issue when you are a planner. Some people shrink from decisions. Some people just want to get it done and over with. But God does not always let these planners make their decisions. So now, I have to rest on God’s decisions, because I know that my own will not take me where God wants my life to go. Even with surgery, rehab, new friends, old problems, new jobs, and decisions about how to spend time, even still, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” He will take care of His sheep. So I need to “be still, and know that I am God.”
So note to self: Don’t be so self-focused that I do not see what God has given me. I get a lot of helpful tidbits from my Dad. Today he was saying that the way he stopped himself from becoming troubled with self-pity is by thinking about others who have it way worse in life and yet are happier than we are.
How cool is that? Not going to lie I could talk about my family for ages. Honestly, that is a gift in and of itself. Having a family that truly supports me has been an often overlooked blessing. Now, it is time for me to let God make my decisions and lean on Him for the support He has given me through friends, family, relatives, and blessings.
Be blessed today.