One step, two steps…..aaaauuuugghh!

Posted: February 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

I remember turning 20 in college, with big dreams of success, a nice home, a family and most importantly, making a difference…. “someday soon”.  I turned 40 last year…haven’t had a date since my 20s, live in an apartment, work as an admin due to a necessary career change from graphics (a pretty dead end job), and have 3 hamsters.  Let’s just say life fell a wee bit short of my dreams…. and I find myself in a race to make the rest of my life count for something…but how?

Life since my 40th birthday has me wondering how life spiraled out of control… Where did I go wrong? When exactly was the moment where I chose to go down the wrong road? I can’t put my finger on it. Did I choose the wrong college? the wrong major? the wrong field? Did I look the wrong way and miss the glance of Mr. Right? Why are all the joyful reunions with all of my old friends on Facebook bittersweet? A reminder of when I had hope….and more importantly, when I had Faith.

Then my heart drops as realize that there wasn’t a moment where I stood at a crossroads and suddenly went down the wrong road.  It was a slow process…. each time I doubted God, I slowly meandered off the road, step by step. I started out walking straight down the middle of the right road….but….

– In high school: “I feel like I should go to _______ college and major in missions…..but this college gave me more scholarship money, I’ll go there, I can make it work, I’ll be an education major, you can teach anywhere.”

I start to walk a little bit to the right, into the shoulder of the right path.

– In college: “Lord, I feel like I’m supposed to go on that mission trip, but my parents told me I really need to go home and work for the summer and it’s foolish to think I can raise the money I need to go on a trip by myself…the timing is not right, I can go when I’m an adult making my own income”

now I’m on the sidewalk….

– At college graduation: “Still can’t go on that mission trip Lord, I’m sorry…. I really need to work. A part of me wants to pursue missions… but I’m single and female – I don’t want to be a single missionary, It’d be too lonely. I’ll just move home, work, save money, chill in this good church over here and work with the youth. Then I’ll meet someone and we’ll be missionaries together…”

now I’m on the grass….

An opportunity comes for a graduate assistantship at a reputable journalism school: “Wow this is really good, but God, I just bought a car….my tuition is paid for, but how will I make my car payments? My insurance? my living expenses? Now is just not a good time….”

now I’m on the edge of a dark forest….

– after 6 months of living home: “God, my mom and I can’t live in the same house anymore…..I have to move out. NOW!  I’ll just float my expenses on this credit card for a little bit.  Pretty soon my career will take off, I’ll have the money I need to pay everything off, I’ll meet Mr. Right missionary….and things will come together.”

I trip over a stick….stumble…..and roll into the depth of the dark forest…

– after a few years………….more choices…………….a few layoffs………….more debt…………… There’s no Mr. Right, no big career, no 2.5 children and a dog, no house filled with laughter, no success…you get it.

I end up  falling into a deep pit in the middle of the dark forest and can’t find my way out.

I crawl out, stumble to find my way out of the dark forest and suddenly discover I meandered onto the wrong road.

Slowly I realize I did not make a quick choice at a crossroads to go down the right path – it took many years, and most importantly, no faith at all. But trust me, it is dark, rocky, lonely, faithless road that I never meant to find. I meant well – and always meant to get back on the right path.  But then the excuses took over: (cue the high pitched whiney voice and the crumpled pouty face).

“I’m too far off the path, it’s too hard to get back on.”

“I’ve made too many mistakes, I can’t ever get things right.”

“It’s too late for me, I can understand why God has decided I’m a lost cause”

“I’m too deep in debt, and I can’t expect God to help because it’s my own fault.”

Even as I’m writing this, I can think of a million more excuses….I start to slide deeper under the covers and pray that I will miraculously die in the middle of the night — I’m saved, I can deal with having no rewards in heaven….

But then there’s Psalm 107 – the whole passage is good….but I identified most with these 3:

The wanderer…

 4 Some wandered in desert wastelands,
   finding no way to a city where they could settle.
5 They were hungry and thirsty,
   and their lives ebbed away.
6 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
   and he delivered them from their distress.
7 He led them by a straight way
   to a city where they could settle.
8 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
   and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
9 for he satisfies the thirsty
   and fills the hungry with good things.

The prisoner in the dark:

 10 Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness,
   prisoners suffering in iron chains,
11 because they rebelled against God’s commands
   and despised the plans of the Most High.
12 So he subjected them to bitter labor;
   they stumbled, and there was no one to help.
13 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
   and he saved them from their distress.
14 He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness,
   and broke away their chains.
15 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
   and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
16 for he breaks down gates of bronze
   and cuts through bars of iron.

and (drum roll please)

The fool, suffering because of rebellion and bad choices.

 17 Some became fools through their rebellious ways
   and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.
18 They loathed all food
   and drew near the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
   and he saved them from their distress.
20 He sent out his word and healed them;
   he rescued them from the grave.
21 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
   and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
22 Let them sacrifice thank offerings
   and tell of his works with songs of joy.

So, according to Psalm 107, I can’t pack it in yet because the ending will be good — I believe, Lord, help though my unbelief.


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