Years and years have gone by and I cry over the wasted years like crying over spilt milk. As we age, we wonder, calculate and analyse all that we have done, achieved, failed at and are yet to do. I am close to a year away from turning three-decades-old. I do not feel old at all. Some people tell me I need to grow up :)
Like many around my age, I am faced with questions such as ‘did your education do you any good’, ‘did your career pan out the way you planned’, ‘are you earning enough’, ‘do you think being unmarried at your age is a good thing’, ‘what about having children your bio-clock is ticking’ and many more. The answer to most of these questions is no. It would be a surprise if this train of thought does not cause anxiety or even a nervous breakdown. I have been down that road. The worst thing is when people compare you to others. I was dissatisfied and wondering God what went wrong? I wanted to be a veterinarian and I turned out to be a journalist. That was not the end, my career took a turn and I got into business editing. This was not what I planned. I planned to be married by 25, have a kid around 28-30 and be an energetic, young mom. After working with a couple of newspapers, I planned to be a features writer, as I discovered that was my forte. I would’ve juggled this with being a mom easily. Such were my plans.
I planned to study further too (maybe the US or Canada). I thought I’d return home with a fresh look at life and a big bang at my career. However, God had different plans for me. I couldn’t see it His way. I could only see it my way. Hence, dissatisfaction along with a series of whiny prayers (I wonder how the Lord has so much patience). I know my Father in Heaven loves me, because even with being so narrow in my thoughts and views in life, He still kept working with me and on me. You may ask am I still dissatisfied. The answer is yes, but I am dissatisfied with something different. Before I go there, please let me ramble a little while longer (thank you for your patience).
So, I cried. I prayed, “Lord I am happy for everyone else around me who seems to have it all. Bless them and keep all of it safe. Let nothing steal kill or destroy all that they have. Lord, I am sorry, but have I done something wrong. Yes, I did it all wrong, but am I not saved from punishment due to the blood that Jesus shed for me on the cross of Calvary? Has not the price already been paid, and why does it seem like I am paying for my sins? Everyone else seems to have it so easy. I am just a non-MBA, business editor, sitting in the corner waiting for the day to end. A daydreamer, who sits looking at the blue skies figuring out her daughter’s name, wondering if I could adopt a girl from China, then realising I would need more money in the bank for that. Lord, why do I want this so bad? I am scared of being a parent anyway. I am very sad and I am turning older. People are harassing me about my age, bringing in proposals and pestering me about an MBA. Can I just be a child? Can you please stop this ‘age’ clock? I want to go back to school. I hate all these pressures. I just want peace. I do not want to plan, dream and be disappointed. I am tired of this frustration. I want to be set free. I want to be satisfied.”
The answer came subtly, still and slowly. It took a few weeks. I was in and out of depression. The enemy took a chance at sending me oppressive thoughts and making me believe my life is purposeless, worthless and pointless. I was a loser, failure and hypocrite—a person with only plans and nothing to show for. My self-esteem took a big leap into a deep abyss. Oh boy, I was so down in the dumps I could not focus on anything and withdrew from everyone to my own little shell. I tried so hard to write, to call, communicate, stay in touch, but this time was so hard. It was like I had a big weight on my shoulders. The only thing that kept me going was faith in the Word of God. I kept rebuking, quoting scripture and encouraging myself in the Spirit. Not many knew of the war within me, as I had my trademark smile and I-am-doing-fine line to plaster up my pain.
To make matters worse, everyone around me seemed to be crumbling too. Funerals, loss, sickness and other such awful events were hitting my heart like darts would hit a dartboard. I kept singing songs like Blessed be Your name – Matt Redman and reminding myself about the Lord’s former mercies and miracles in my life. Buckets of tears and the will to live knowing that Jesus has the answer, I stayed on (no thanks to myself, only praise be unto Jesus).
Slowly it dawned on me, I am different. I have a different calling and purpose in life. No one, but the Lord knows how it will end. There is a reason He is doing what He is doing. I have surrendered my life into His hands and I should trust Him with it. Why I haven’t finished my Masters yet (due to lack of funds mostly) or why I have not fulfilled the normal things people my age accomplish are questions with one answer—the Lord knows better. He has written a unique plan, story and direction for my life. If I had it all, I would not understand the pain of those who did not have it all. Had I not understood loss, how would I empathise with those who have lost? Had I not known pain and the sickbed, how would I have ministered to those whose health is failing? There are many out there with no families and couples that are childless, how would I know their pain, if all my dreams came true? Knowing all this will help me appreciate every prayer that the Lord answers. I shall be truly grateful to Him, when my dreams come true. I shall bless His Holy Name when the dreams do not come true, because He has better plans. I will not take things for granted.
The most important thing I have learnt from this season (yes, I saved the best for the last) was that I was longing for things according to the standards of the world. I was being dissatisfied with the wrong things. I had to change my yardstick and stop measuring my life as per the academic certificates, accolades and view of the world. I had failed, my biggest failure being—enquiring of the Lord, trusting Him and focusing on Him. All my medals, certificates, promotions and praises from people meant nothing from the viewpoint of eternity. It was how much I obeyed God, how much I depended on Him, how much I strived to be led by Him, how many unlovable people I loved, how many I shared His truth with, how much focus I had on His Kingdom rather than building my throne and more. There are sick, imprisoned, perishing, lost, unsaved, vulnerable, unloved, unreached people out there in the world. I have not even touched the tip of the iceberg of things that truly deserve my attention, time and energy. I ought to be dissatisfied at the fact that someone somewhere is about to kill themself, a parent has skipped five proper meals to feed their hungry child, or someone feels lonely, unloved and ugly and has no idea that they are so much more than they think. I am dissatisfied that the church services around me have become organised, routine and pointless. The Holy Spirit longs to move, but is quenched by leaders who lack the humility to let Him takeover. I am sad that there are hardly any intercessors around praying with the fire of God. I am dissatisfied, angry, sad, but now at things that truly deserve these emotions. Shifting dissatisfaction has helped bring peace in my heart, because I know now I am on the right path. I know now that I am focusing on that which is worthwhile. Are you dissatisfied with your life? Try shifting your dissatisfaction, it could ironically give you peace and joy like you have never imagined. Happy dissatisfaction!
The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever – 1 John 2:17