Waking up in the morning and your first thoughts may be: How am I going to make this day productive? What is my purpose? How will I get through today? These questions may be followed by engaging in some forms of social media and seeing how productively others are living their lives.
This was a cruel cycle I kept myself in for many months, before my feet had touched the floor, I had already knocked myself down. It is a cycle I am beginning to break out of. When I wake and begin to have those thoughts, just as I did this morning, I remind myself who this day belongs to and who has brought me into it.
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118v24)
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentation 3v22-24)
Speaking God’s truth over the day does not sweep all my problems away but it reminds me I am not facing them or going through the day alone.
One of our greatest worries even in our struggles is the constant need to prove ourselves. To look like we are on top of everything and we can deal with it. We seem to glorify the idea of being fiercely independent. The pressure to keep thriving and striving leads us into denial and normally with greater burdens. Many of us believe to have purpose means to be productive as our worth is tied to what we do and not who we are. This is especially hard in a season where rejection, disappointment and insecurity seem to be our only companions. We are constantly facing unemployment, financial issues, relationship breakdowns, illnesses and so much more. Where we used to have so much security and hope, we now feel adrift. However, we have to learn our worth is not determined by our successes and failures; our worth is determined in who we are and who we believe we belong to.
The harsh reality is, if you cling to what the world wants of you. You will continue to feel adrift and anxious. The world cannot make its mind up of what it wants from its people. The expectations and desires seem to change like the seasons. Ecclesiastes puts into words what it means to run after the world.
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” What do people gain from all their labours at which they toil under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remain forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. (Ecclesiastes 1v2-5).
These verses are not saying it is pointless to do anything here on earth, what it does challenge is our purpose and our heart. If we are only striving because the world tells us to, we will always be unsatisfied.
The reason I want to highlight this is due to some (and I am not saying all) of our anxiety is down to chasing worldly expectations and praise. We become worried and fearful because we are not achieving as the rest of the world seems to be doing. I know part of my overthinking is due to me trying to work out how people perceive me by how I measure up to worldly standards. Truthfully, I do not; some people may look at my life and see only my faults and failures. I am currently unemployed, I am struggling to find a job,etc.
What I have been learning is to find peace amidst the struggles. To detach my worth from what I do and instead place it in who I belong to. I can only do it by the Lord’s help and strength. I need to be honest and let go of my pride, to find my purpose again. To build my purpose away from my achievements is hard. I have to surrender my fear of people pleasing and learn to be comfortable in the identity the Lord gives me.
We are all human, we all want to be known for doing or achieving something. When all those opportunities are stripped, who are we? Who are we living for?
Another issue I want to address regarding purpose, is the promises of God. The promises of God are as real today as they were at the beginning. A lesson I have been learning is the promises of God do not work on my time frame or anyone’s time frame. We cannot give God a deadline in order for him to fulfil his promises to us. God has the ultimate authority; it can be hard to understand why God does not remove us instantly from hard situations. It does not discredit God or his faithfulness.
For all their promises find their Yes in him. That is why through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. ( 2 Corinthians 1v20)
We have our time frame and we become anxious and fearful when our deadlines are not met. May we have the faith in God, who will always be faithful.
One example, I am currently reading Genesis and the story of Abram/Abraham. God made incredible promises to Abram but gave him no time frame or when it would be accomplished. It was up to Abram if he wanted to trust and put his faith in God’s promises. He did, Abram even questioned God on how these promises would be fulfilled and continued to promise they would. Not with specific details but with illustrations. ( Abraham waited many years to see the beginning of the fulfilment of God’s promises to him. God only revealed the name and the timing of his son’s birth, the year before it all came into fruition.)
And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15v5-6)
God is always faithful to his word, sometimes we have to truly fight for our faith to be stronger than our doubt. To stop assuming everything will work out in our timing but to have the determination and hope to continue, even when it does not.
Let us go back to how we started with those questions on productivity and purpose. What do we do, when we have lost everything that used to give us our purpose and security?
We have to learn to let go of the past; past expectations, security, etc. If we do not learn to let go, we will continue to be fearful and anxious of what we do not have. We can fill our days with regret and wishful thinking of how things could have been different in the past if we knew what was to come. The truth is it does not change the situation you or I are in today. Change can only come through pressing forward, it is truly the hardest choice to make. My friend, in letting go we have room to receive as we press forward.
Do not numb out; I am currently reading Jennie Allen’s ‘Nothing to prove’ in which she highlights this issue. When we feel we have so much to deal with, instead of finding a way to work through it. We numb out through entertainment, alcohol, social media and so much more. I admit over the past few months I have been numbing out as a coping mechanism. One of my favourite TV shows to find comfort in is Gilmore Girls. There is a difference between enjoying something familiar and binge-watching it just to fall asleep. What was interesting through Jennie’s book is she uses the same illustration. None of us are too different, whatever we may numb out with; we ultimately will never be satisfied. We all come to realisation it does not fix anything but prolongs dealing with our struggles and being able to move forward.
I write these blogs because what I am writing is what I am learning. I do not write these things lightly because I know currently how it feels to be walking through a season like this. Where our struggles and fear may be different, I hope in journeying together we will be able to find hope and purpose again. Where our fear and anxiety does not limit us but we are able to work through each process, trusting in the Lord.
I do trust the Lord, in all my fear and worry He will use it for His good. Even writing these blogs I see how God is using this season to reach out to other people. I have always struggled with overthinking but life over the past 23 years has moved pretty smoothly. It is in this last year with the pandemic and other issues, where my mind has gone into overdrive and it has been crippling.
I write for you, who feels overwhelmingly alone. I know as a woman and even as Christian woman, when we are emotional we are often seen as hysterical. Sometimes are struggles are not even seen as valid. Do not let someone discredit your hurt. May we as woman look out for our sisters, not using anyone’s struggle as a juicy peace of gossip. It brings so much insecurity and enough people already do it. May we rise above and seek to stand with and help our sisters and our brothers too.
If your life is a mess at the moment it does not mean you are a mess. If you have failed, it does not mean you are a failure. May we learn to detach our worth from our achievement because they will always leave us feeling dissatisfied. It is okay to have emotions, it is ok not be okay. Do not lose heart in who you are and who you belong to. God can truly take us at our worst and walk with us through it all. We are his, Jesus died on the cross for our brokenness and sin so we could live in relationship with God. When worry, fear, anxiety would try to diminish your worth. Remember you are loved enough to be worth dying for. It may not fix all your problems, but I have found on my worst day it gives me strength to keep pushing on.
I will press further into this topic in the following blog. I want to continue this topic of purpose in the next blog, especially in dealing with moving forwards even when our hearts are anxious of what may come next. How it feels to constantly meet rejection. For now I leave you with an application, something I have implemented that may be useful.
Application: Change up your routine, this does not need to be drastic, simply implementing a new practise when you wake up can be helpful. One of mine is I take time to journal and process what my mind is fixating on. I do this while staying in my bed. A new practise could be getting rid of something you thought was an absolute. Take time to think of something you know is draining you rather than being helpful. Replace it with maybe learning a new scripture or time in prayer. Fill yourself up with what is good.
May God bless you. Love Victoria xx