I’ve been having a hard week. I know that it is only Wednesday, but I still have been. To tell the absolute truth, I’ve been utterly crippled with fear.
You know that fear that you would expect someone to have when they have just quit their very well-paying job because it is so stressful that Thursday night they start dreading Monday because they know the weekend will pass far too quickly, and then Monday they wake up on about 4 hours of sleep because they went to bed so late trying to avoid the inevitable and they don’t have another job, but they know that they will fold up and wither if they stay in their current circumstances? So then they are left living on one paycheck instead of two, having just purchased a house, and so burned out that they don’t even care and even a month later, they have to tamp down a terrified feeling when Monday again looms even though they don’t have to do anything they don’t want to do because they still don’t have a job.
The fear you would expect someone to feel in that situation finally caught up with me this week. Last month, I was so utterly relieved and exhausted that I just didn’t care. I airily talked about God handling it, and thrived in my new life of writing, reading, sleeping, and freedom, despite the same, absurd fear of Mondays cropping up constantly.
But now, as those of you who have read my previous posts know, it’s time to move on. To find a job. And the “What ifs” I mentioned in my last post have decided to eat my soul. I am terrified of looking for a job, and terrified of finding a job and terrified of not finding a job and terrified I’ll find the wrong job and terrified I’ll misunderstand what God wants me to do now and terrified of…well, you get the idea.
And I tell myself over and over and over again that God is in control and He has a plan for my life and He led me this far and isn’t going to abandon me, and we’ve proven that we can live on Daniel’s paycheck so it is okay if I don’t find a job soon or wait for one that makes me excited to go to work even if my family and friends start looking at me like I’m an utter failure because I still don’t have a job and haven’t gotten anything published and am clearly floundering and all the success I’ve worked so very hard for in life is steadily going down the drain. Yes, so far this week, the internal conversation meant to encourage myself to trust in God goes downhill very quickly.
I’m currently too scared to even look at my email to see if anyone’s gotten back to me about the three jobs I’ve applied for so far.
So, this morning, after not enough sleep, I got up, I got dressed, I made breakfast and cleaned the house and went up to my desk, where I stared at everything I needed to do. Devotions, writing, checking on jobs . . . especially that Bible sitting there pricking my conscience, considering my struggle. I really didn’t want to. So instead, yes, I admit it with shame, I played phone games for like two hours. TWO HOURS, guys! All while fear crimped my heart and I tried not to think too hard about jobs and trust. Finally, I sighed, pushed the phone away, and MADE MYSELF pick up my Bible, where my current reading brought me to 2 Chronicles 30. I half expected God to speak encouragement to me through it, because I feel like that often happens when I’m most upset or discouraged, but it was nothing extraordinary, nothing that really felt like God was talking to ME. Stuff about temples and sacrifices, and all that, and the occasional verse that popped out at me about yielding to the Lord. Then I set that aside and picked up the book I just started: She Reads Truth, a gift from a friend last year.
I started crying within a few pages of the first chapter. God may not have spoken to me through His word today, but He did choose to use a book I would normally never have read had my friend not given it to me to remind me that I’ll be okay. Many of the same reminders I’ve been trying to give myself, but I guess I just needed to hear it from someone else in a different format.
“There is truth (our present circumstance), and there is truer Truth (the history of God’s unwavering, faithful, covenant relationship with His people). Call it ‘the grand scheme of things’ if you like, but I believe we make a big mistake when we trust God based only on what He’s done for us today or even in our lifetime. . .When we are busy dialing in on legitimately important things like jobs and health and deadlines, it can do us a lot of good to remember what God did at creation and what He promised Abraham. . .It’s okay to study God’s hand in our present circumstances. It’s good and appropriate to move that telescope around to see what other people are dealing with too. But opening God’s word and studying His character is like lifting our eyes from the viewfinder long enough to remember that the God who calls us His people has been hanging the stars in the heavens since time began. Just as He was faithful then, He will be faithful now.”
I am not saying that my fear has magically disappeared. But it doesn’t feel quite as crippling, and I think even the fact that God cared enough to bring me to the first chapter in a random book to encourage me has allowed a little more sunshine to filter through all the trees blocking my view.
Maybe I can check my email after all.