It’s been a freaking week. You know the weeks where you just really fall short and wish there was a way to fast forward to the next? That was this past week for me. There were good moments absolutely, but at times they were overshadowed by the lows. The lows of chronic illness, financial struggles, sickness, insecurity, being hard on myself, messing up, falling short, conflict, indecision, snappiness, frustration, anger, annoyance, growing pains, cultural differences, and questioning. This week has been a reminder that I desperately need the grace of the Lord.
The older I get, which I have constantly been reminded is not that old, I realize just how hard growing up is. How hard this age is. How often we fall short of the expectations we have for ourselves. How often communication differences get in the way. How often the story we have written in our mind don’t pan out in real life. I guess you could say this is the season of disillusionment for me.
My first reaction when faced with disappointment and disillusionment is to be annoyed, upset, and overall moody. I tend to feel things too much (hello enneagram four) and mislabel those feelings as facts. This just get’s exacerbated during times such as these. Everything starts to feel overwhelming and tumultuous and I start to question why I wanted to get out of my comfort zone in the first place. I wonder if God called the wrong person.
I tend to be very restless and unhappy in comfort for too long and crave discomfort…until it actually arrives and I feel the inevitable growing pains associated with it. But then I remember the beauty born out of pain, and am always so grateful for weeks like this.
I hope your doubts come like monsters“Wish You Pain” Andy Grammer
And terrorize your dreams
I hope you feel the lonely hopelessness
‘Cause no one else believes
I hope you question whether you ever really had a chance at all
I hope your fear is thick like poison
It gets into your blood
I hope you push until you cannot breathe
And it’s still not enough
I hope you put your life out on the line
And everybody watches while you fall
‘Cause I love you more than you could know
And your heart, it grows every time it breaks
I know that it might sound strange
But I wish you pain
I love the song “Wish You Pain” by Andy Grammer. It reminds me that our “pain” or our hardships are always purposeful. So often i’m stuck in the moment of my emotions and the feelings that I don’t remember that this is all a part of the story God is writing for my life. When I read the bible and see the obedience and faithfulness of the people such as Job and Joseph, I have to actively remind myself that they didn’t know the outcome, that they didn’t know the wondrous things God was doing through their hardship. But they were obedient. They continued even when it didn’t make sense. They were faithful even when everything in them screamed not to be.
I realized today that anytime something is hard or tough, my first instinct is to get comfort from people or things I shouldn’t be going to; people that have left my life, and habits that don’t result in flourishing, but rather perpetuate despondency. I felt God calling out to me today to run to him. That even though it won’t necessarily feel better in the moment, that I will never get comfort from anyone or anything else like I will from him. He is asking me in this season to draw nearer to him. To close off myself to the people that I shouldn’t be going to and the escape and avoidance behaviors that are my go to. He is calling me to abide in him in any and every way.
I’ve been studying Psalms 40 for the last eight weeks, and the whole Psalm is about crying out to the Lord in despair and how he delights in rescuing us. I’ve understood through this more clearly that God wants all our emotions, not just the pretty shiny ones. He wants to sit with us in anger and frustration and disappointment, he doesn’t desire fake joy in obedience. He would rather us tell him how mad we are but that we’re going to be obedient anyway because we trust him. He knows every trial we’ll face, and he sacrificed his son on the cross so that those trials will never overtake us.
When I think of all the hard moments this week, I also think about how if I could trade in all of these hard moments for something easy I wouldn’t. Because to trade in the hard moments, I would also have to trade in the glorious moments. The sweet baby snuggles at the cafe, laughing with my roommates until we’re crying, listening to the sound of the nightly stormy downpour during rainy season, sleeping in my comfy cozy bed protected by my mosquito net, hearing beautiful laughter when Ugandans learn what my last name is, being called “Ducky” because they can’t pronounce said last name, running around my compound in the rain trying to get a cell signal while my roommate and guards laugh at me, the daily ways in which my co-workers let me in more and more, watching bridges being built where there once were cultural differences, having the employees at the coffee shop pray over me when i’m not feeling well, being with the kids from the village on Saturday’s and seeing their sweet smiles and getting the biggest hugs, and so much more.
There is no life without the hard, heartbreaking, broken, and disappointing moments in life. The moments that are painful are the precise moments that are growing us. The valley’s make reaching the mountain top that much sweeter.