Do you ever have those days where you realize you’re NOWHERE near where you thought you would be at a certain point in your life? Maybe you thought you’d be married by a certain age, or done with school by a certain year. Maybe you thought you’d be traveling or living/working somewhere exotic. Maybe you never thought you’d leave home, or vice versa, couldn’t wait to leave, but haven’t. Maybe you’ve failed at something, lost a job. Maybe your significant other broke up with you, or you have been disappointed, stepped on, or let down in more ways than you can count.
Maybe you never had any idea where you’d go, who you’d be, or what you’d do…
Maybe you still don’t.
This is something I struggle with sometimes (okay… a lot). I’ve always been the type of person to look forward to the next thing; graduation from HS, graduation from College, working, marriage, living life… I’m generally happy and easily excitable, but am I content? Do I know how to really live in the moment, soaking it up and enjoying all the wonders that God provides every day?
As I sit here, on the day I turn 27, I reflect on the past years of my life. I’ve done a lot, seen a lot, loved and worked a lot. I’m not ANYWHERE near where I thought I’d be, had you asked me at 10. I harbored fantasies that I’d be married by now (yes, I’m one of those people who have a pinterest board dedicated to my “one-day dream wedding”…no, I’m not ashamed), working at a job I loved, in a really cool place with lots of things to do, and of course I’d be making art, writing, reading, and doing all the things I love.
I’ve lost my hearing at 5, gained a Cochlear Implant at 6, played soccer for 16 years, graduated from High School as valedictorian, completed college with honors, struggled with an eating disorder (from which I learned a lot, and am eternally thankful for the people who supported me even when it made me want to hate them), run marathons, taught school, obtained a Masters degree, worked in museums, worked in a coffee shop (YUMMMMMM!), and am now wondering what else I will do. I’m on the brink of potentially doing some things I couldn’t have pictured before; I’ve changed and grown a lot over the years, and I think I have a healthier perspective now than I’ve ever had.
There’s really only one thing I’m sure of… (okay; two… coffee is DELISH).
Okay, I think I’ll leave it at that for now. Sorry (not sorry) for all the images, but as an artist, images often speak more than text alone. I should make some images with verses and watercolors and sell those… hmmm… or just plaster them all over my walls to remind me of what I never EVER want to lose sight of!
We’ve all heard it said AT LEAST a million times… “Patience is a virtue.” I honestly have no idea where this quote originated, and let me spare you the time of looking it up online; you’ll get a zillion different answers, and who knows which one is correct!
For me, I’ve heard it the most from my parents…
As a kid, I was ready to start playing soccer before I was old enough… “Patience is a virtue.” (Although, my Athletic Director father went ahead and let me start)
When I lost my hearing, I was impatient to get to the next step, because I had to wear useless hearing aids (hearing aids are great, but when you have NO hearing for them to aid, not so much)… “Patience is a virtue.”
Growing up, I’d be super-impatient about something with school, theatre, art, etc… there it was again… “Patience is a virtue.”
Applying for college… “Patience is a virtue.”
Now I’m at a point of my life where I’ve heard it SO many times, I’m about sick of it, honestly. I graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with my MFA in Fine Art this past May, and have VERY impatiently been applying and waiting for jobs. In fact, I’ve been so impatient, I let fear rule my thoughts, and I almost took a job I didn’t really want, simply for the sake of working again–I’m so ready to get out on my own again, pave my own way into this crazy world, meet new people, see new things, visit new places…
But am I REALLY ready? I know I’m mentally ready… but maybe I’m not physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually ready… All I know is that God has been really working on patience with me lately. I KNOW that He will provide a job and sustenance and that His timing is so so so so much better than mine. I KNOW that. I trust Him.
But do I really LIVE out that knowledge, that trust?
I think that’s what God is trying to tell me. Until I can 100% trust Him, maybe I’m not really ready to be on my own again. Maybe He wants me to stay with my parents longer than I want, so I can be part of their lives, and enjoy the time I have with them, ’cause goodness knows it won’t last forever. Maybe He wants me to be close to my brother and his wife, so I can watch their ADORABLE child, Bailey, grow up a bit before I leave and go elsewhere. Maybe, maybe, maybe…
Okay, if he’s not the cutest thing ever…. AH!
That brings me to today’s devotional reading from “David: Seeking God’s Heart,” a devotional study written by Beth Moore. Today, I was reading in 2 Samuel, and the title of the chapter in the study was “Right Place: Sometimes God reveals Himself through experiences we don’t understand.”
Hello, smack in the face!
Today’s specific passage was 2 Samuel 2:1-7. David has just heard about Saul’s death, as well as that of Saul’s sons, including Jonathan, with whom David was incredibly close. David is trying to decide what to do, and where to go from here. Instead of acting of his own accord, David ASKED God what he should do! This is super important to note–at least for me–because David ALWAYS asked God what he should do before he did ANYTHING. David knows that God can answer and that He will… in HIS time. This is where Beth Moore says, “He had taken some wrong turns and some right turns, but he took virtually every step crying out to his God,” which reminds me that, no matter where we go or what we do, if we strive to plant our feet in God’s Way, we will get where we are going… it may be a different route than we originally think… it may not be the scenic route… and it may start MUCH later than we want it to… but God knows what His plan is, not us… and HE knows what needs to happen in order to make it come to fruition. We just need to trust and follow.
I used to think that constantly asking God for direction would be like pestering Him… like, He has SO much going on that I shouldn’t “bother” him by asking for the same thing over and over again. But that is exactly what David does. He asks God for direction, repeatedly, until God gives him specifics. And until God does supply these specifics, David stays put. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do anything or go anywhere until God says something extremely specific (I honestly believe that God can and will use us anywhere, even if it’s somewhere that seems unlikely). In fact, if you struggle with that, you should totally read the book, “Just Do Something,” by Kevin DeYoung. It’s a pretty good read!
Basically, what I’m saying is that, maybe… just maybe… asking God for specific directions isn’t a sign of impatience or a lack of trust. Maybe it’s a sign of deepened trust; a trust that transcends the fear of becoming a bother. Maybe, like prayer, asking God for specific directions is more for us, as humans, than it is for God. Perhaps it is a reminder, a daily mantra, to help us persevere in our patience and remember just why it is that we are patiently waiting for God’s direction: ‘Cause His way is the ONLY way!
Beth Moore left some pretty good guidelines/suggestions for how to learn to listen to God’s Word when we are in doubt or struggling with what to do. I’m gonna leave them here, and challenge you, and myself, to try to incorporate these more daily:
Acknowledge your specific need for direction.
Continue to pray and study His Word daily.
Ask God to HELP you recognize His answer (we humans can be pretty darn dumb)
Ask for a confirmation if you have any doubt. (God didn’t even hate Thomas for doubting, way back in John 20:24-29, when he appears to Thomas and the disciples after the Resurrection… He won’t hate us. He’ll just help us understand.)
Sorry it’s a bit of a long one this time… I guess I had a lot to say!
SOOOOOOOO, I had the honor of having a bit of a review about me published online the other day! Not a review of my work, per se… but a review of my online presence and how I can improve my marketing, promotion, networking, etc. Click here, if you want to read the article!
In my Business Practices class at RIT, we’ve been talking a lot about marketing ourselves online, and what sites are useful, and which ones… well, aren’t. It’s a lot to learn, and it’s always changing, but that’s part of what makes it exciting. If anything, I have learned that discipline and persistence usually pay off! Slowly, yes… but surely!
I have also recently registered to start writing for a website called the Artifice… I’ll be reviewing art-related themes and ideas. It’ll be a while before I get published, but you can BET that I’ll post on here, as soon as I do!
MEANWHILE… I’ve been trying to figure out what to call my thesis exhibition. I’m dealing with the book of Revelations from the Bible, and have SOME ideas, but am still not sure. I want to find the perfect title; one that is subtle, but totally recognizable to those who know the Word. I want my title to pull people in by intrigue and curiosity, whether they know exactly what the word, itself, means. Here are some of my ideas:
Revelation (I don’t love this one, because it seems too blunt, but it IS my theme)
Patmos (This is the island where John experienced Revelations. The word also means, “my killing,” I believe)
Kataklysmos (Greek for a “washing” in the destructive sense… I REALLY like this one!)
Blessings (According to several concordances, Revelations is the only book of the Bible that promises blessing to its readers)
That’s all I’ve got at this point.. let me know what you think! 🙂