Wishing time away!

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I have fallen into the trap, as most young adults do, of questioning what I am doing with my life? Which is a process that everyone goes through, it helps to give people insight or, for some, it gives them that awful dread because they have no idea. Which is the category I fall into. I decided in the Autumn after finishing my degree that I wanted to take around two years to unwind and to work on the things that were important to me. These were the passions that had taken a back seat while I was in my studies. For some people they would be questioning why a 22 year old was not in a full time job in an office or pursuing a job which was more related to the field that I studied. The only answer I can give is I just wasn’t ready nor willing to do that yet. I have a job now where I earn a good amount of money where I can save money for myself but also give living costs for being back at home. It also gives me the time to work on my passions. One of them was definitely reading more and being able to use more social media to promote my views and to connect with other people. This year has enabled me to read a lot more books than I have done in the past years. It has also allowed me to start a Bookstagram page which I love having and is enabling me to be more creative in how I present what I read. It has given me the time to work on writing book reviews and become part of a community in which other people share the same passions I have. This has given me the opportunity to enable me to start a blog which is definitely a work in progress. It is something I enjoy doing, being someone who is not always the most outspoken person it enables me to share my views and opinions on life. It has also been a blessing to see how it has helped people in their faith too, which is all I really wanted it to do.

One negative from this period is having a lot more time to think. Also, it is difficult to keep myself motivated to pursue what I love. One question that keeps popping up is what are you going to do career wise when these two years are up? I can never answer that question. The plan that I originally had when I was doing my course was to go into some aspect of church ministry, this is an idea I have stored at the back of my mind. I feel it is not who I am anymore or what I want to be doing.  Instead of enjoying each day as it comes, I am constantly worrying about what I think I should be doing by now and my future plans. To be honest it drains that day of its light and its hope. Which leads to me becoming unmotivated and thinking this is all for nought. Which is not true. I would rather take a year or two in my early twenties to pursue what I love than regret not doing it. One of my main ambitions is to go around Europe near the end of this year which is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I would like to become more skilled in doing photography and design for my Bookstagram page. I would also love to become a more developed writer too. All of which takes time. I need to be more grateful for that time, not always wishing it away because I need to have the next stage of my life planned.

I know for myself, and possibly you who are reading this, that we can get burdened with where we believe that we need to be. There is this constant need to compare ourselves to those around us where we feel unsatisfied because we are not at the stage where they are. One thing I need to constantly remind myself, possibly you too, is we all have our own road to travel and that road is going to look different for every one of us. In some places we will be going so slow compared to those around us but those are the steps that you need to take at that moment. Life should not be a race in which you are constantly trying to keep up with everyone else. That is an incredibly tiring and draining life. It is about doing what is right for you, no matter what that pace is. As long as you are content and working hard at what you love then that is success. Life is beautiful, it is about choosing to focus on the blessings that you already have, not on what you could have.

As for me, I am learning to be content in the moment. To be thankful for the time I have now. I have learned to find more peace in daily living which I hope will impact in how my mind views the future. If I keep growing daily and keep working hard at what I do, then I hope that I will learn to see that as success.

Is God truly here?

It is so easy, in this day and age, to become disconnected and to lose sight of God. None of us have ever seen God literally but when we begin to lose faith, that is when we begin to lose sight. To feel abandoned by God is a horrible feeling, you are going through this desert period where no matter how hard you pray or worship or do anything that normally connects with God, you do not feel any closeness at all. I honestly believe that these periods come when we are struggling the most, when all you need is insight and truth. Instead all you get is radio silence. This is a painful period, I am not going to pretend that I have all the answers, but I do want to encourage you with God’s word and his faithfulness. I pray for each person reading this that you will always know the love and hope that Jesus gives.

I want to begin with a Bible verse, I know that when you are struggling it can be so hard to relate to what is being said. However, I do believe that what God says, that is his truth. Deuteronomy 31:8 ‘The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged’. Some brief context to what was going on in this chapter, Joshua was being picked to be the next leader after Moses and the Israelites were now able to go to the promised land but not without having to conquer the land from the people who currently inhabited it. These were the same people that had just travelled in the wilderness for 40years because of their disobedience. God was reminding them that even in this next stage in their story, that there was no way he was going to abandon them. It might be hard and scary, but he told them to not be afraid and discouraged because they had God fighting on their side. You see the success of the Israelites in conquering the land in the book of Joshua. It shows how faithful God was to every promise he had ever made to the Israelites and that is something that we can take into our everyday life. If God had abandoned us, then the Christian faith wold be redundant. God is love, you are what God created and he loves abundantly. God loved you so much that he sacrificed his own son for you that you would not have to die a death to sin. Instead, be giving freedom and life through the blood of Jesus.

One of the most important things to do when you are going through this period, is to continuously fill your head with the truth of God’s word. Although it can be hard to put your trust in those words when you feel abandoned, keep your faith in those words because they are what will get your through. The Bible is not filled with people who had unbelievably easy and peaceful lives. There are many examples of people who have felt abandoned by God and some of these people were incredibly faithful to God. People like Job, Hannah and even in the New Testament Peter felt great remorse when he denied knowing Jesus three times. It is so important to be encouraged by the examples we find in the Bible and how they were able to get through. Some of them had to wait for years for a promise or a prayer to be fulfilled. However, they remained faithful even when other people thought they were mad or had been sinful, they kept their hope. Be encouraged that you are never alone, there are plenty of people who have gone through similar struggles and have remained faithful even through their desert periods.

One of the best pieces of advice that I was given when I was going through a very long desert period, is to make sure that you do not lock God out. Some context; in my second year of university, things went terribly wrong. People who I thought were friends turned out to be the complete opposite, I was also living with one of them which turned into one hellish living condition and my studies just flopped where I was really struggling to keep up my grades at all. I had terrible breakdowns all throughout this year. The one place that I thought would be supportive turned against me and it was just a really crap and emotional period. I lost sight of my faith was and all who God was. I was so ashamed at how I had been portrayed and who that was allowing me to become, I did lock God out. It wasn’t until I was back home that I allowed God to come back in. It took a long time for the walls I had built to come down and a long time to heal. Therefore, I earnestly urge you to keep allowing God in, even if you feel your situation is such a mess it can not be dealt with. I believe that God is not surprised by anything that happens in our lives, but he certainly wants to love and bring healing in every situation. God is not going to forsake you; his grace is sufficient in every situation.

 

What to do when God feels silent?

I urge you to keep praying. Sometimes the only prayers we can offer is heart aching sobs or silent whispers. It can be hard to even utter words, the fact that you have the hope to keep on praying is vital. It says in the Bible that faith as small as a mustard seed is full of power. Remain faithful, even when you feel like your prayers are going unanswered. The reality is that we can pray a lot over getting out of a certain situation but sometimes that situation doesn’t change. Some people go through awful situations in their lives and they find it so hard to have hope. I can’t answer why terrible events happen to some people and to others none. From the God I know, that even when I have struggled through things worse than a friendship falling through. I have already known what it has been like to be in quite a sum of debt because I was never very good with money. That is something I am still learning today. God didn’t just wave a magic wand and all that debt disappeared, I had to work, and I had to learn to be more resourceful with what I had. He got me through a lot of mental healing when a relationship I had got myself into went sour. In some of these periods I found it hard to see God in the situation or I was embarrassed about them to pray about them.  God has only even been faithful to me, there are times when I feel like he has been so silent, but it is normally in those periods when I have either lost sight of him or when something new is beginning to happen. It is sort of a trail to see if I have the faith to step up to this next event. Keep prayer as your connection to God, he truly does hear. Have the hope that even if stressful situation does not change, that God will give you peace that is beyond that of which the world can.

Worship music was something I lost myself in when I was beginning my period of healing. Two artists I listened to the most was Elevation Worship and Bethel. They helped me to reconnect also be reminded of who God is. Another aspect is that music helps connect us to people who have gone through similar struggles and how they dealt with.

Lastly, talk to people, find people who you can trust and can help guide you through this period. Don’t be ashamed, if you feel abandoned or disconnected in your faith. Anyone who has a faith has gone through this period, they will be able to offer advice. Make sure you feel comfortable in who you are talking to, if they are urging you to share more than you want to, do not allow them to do that. Find someone who will be invested in seeing you grow in your faith and your life, not just someone who is a busybody.

Faith is never meant to be done alone! It is about learning and supporting each other through our journeys. Don’t let the world tell you any different, we have an ever present and all loving God. Even when we go through the hardest times, when we can fail to see how God is truly working in it in one way or another he is. God is God, he loves you so much he would never abandon you.  To finish with some imagery from the Prodigal Son, when the Father saw his returning son from a distance he ran to meet him. That is how much God loves you, always keep that in mind.

You are so loved and so precious. God Bless. Xx