I have no idea what I’m doing! Seriously, I don’t! Where to go next, what to do next, how am I going to get there. I am seriously clueless! I’ve never been an overly anxious person, but I’ve not been keen to uncertainty. When the path ahead is masked by fog thick enough that it could be cut with a knife is not what I look forward to. That is where I was at the end of my high school ‘career,’ if you will. Like a stepping stone across a creek, but the creek is a river, in dense fog, full of rapids, and other dangers, in total darkness, knowing that the next step is somewhere ahead of you, but with absolutely no clue if its six inches away or six feet away. That is how I felt about the future some odd years ago. And while situations have changed, and experiences have been had, I still have no idea what is next. And that is not such a bad thing!
This pass weekend was Discipleship Now for our student ministry, which saw over three hundred students gather together to worship, learn, and grow deeper with the Lord. Now, I’m not sure if I’ve discussed this on the blog before, but I work media. For the weekend, when I wasn’t with my group of senior guys, I was running graphics for the broadcast from my control room located above our gathering place. To the left of my computer is a door to a crow’s nest of sorts, which was previously used as a camera overlook. I use it to watch the stage for visual cues from the band and speaker, but to also look out over the students. Seeing the dancing at the foot of the stage, the casting off of burdens and worshipping freely our good, good God in their seats, and the collapsing of students to their knees and pouring their hearts out to God. It’s a unique sight to see, which has seriously humbled me as a college student. My introduction to our student ministry began at this same event last year, in the crow’s nest. From there, I took part in the student’s summer camp with seventh graders, who are now my eighth graders for our small group time on Sunday’s. Since then, I’ve become apart of the student ministry with my fellow peers of college leaders. What a blast that it has been, I am continually blown away with the questions and answers these students have. I am constantly amazed by this unique vantage point that has afforded me a immense appreciation to see, quite literally, the hand of God moving over the students. Moreover, I am grateful for the afforded to be opportunities that have been afforded to me to be apart of the student ministry, college ministry, and media ministry. After this past weekend, I have found that my appreciation growing even further.
Over the weekend, I had a group of seniors (as I know that I’ve already established) and during one of our small groups someone mentioned that they were anxious about the future that is set before them. So, being that I’ve had a history with this very matter, I asked who else felt uneasy about what was on the horizon. What was really spectacular, and most certainly God designated, is that the entire weekend was ‘themed’ around having confidence in the life found in Christ. That, for those of use who are follower of Jesus, we have full assurance of our salvation. As I’ve written about for what just might be the umpteenth time that the college stage of life is hardly a cake walk. If it has been for you, please share your secrets with me! Actually don’t, cause I already have the not so secret secret. Carrying on, I hate to be melodramatic in saying that the journey from high school to where I currently am has quite the rollercoaster (it hasn’t been so crazy, honestly), yet I’ve experienced my fair share of confusion, uncertainty, and indecision. This year, I’ll be another year older (duh, I can hear the audible audience in my mind) and in reflecting back on that time I may be looking through rose tinted glasses. Anyway, back toward the end of my senior year I faced a whole lot of uncertainty. The fun of football season had come and gone, I was not going to prom (so wasn’t looking forward to that), graduation was closing in quickly, and the college application process had ended. I was at the foot of what one might call the future. I was accepted to all the universities I had applied to, I had a good SAT score, and was trying to figure out how I was going to get from here to there. The issue, I had no means of moving forward. I had received no financial aid, no money, no car, and little idea of how to make anything happen. I was offered parental loans, but I was not able/willing to take such a route to move forward. That would be like taking one step forward and 99 steps back… #DaveRamseyLife
Fast forward to graduation, things were getting clear that I was not going to be going to college at this time. In the months leading up to this point, were full of frustration, disappointment, and loss of faith in the system that had been institutionally, systematically pushed into our minds from as early as the second grade. Work hard, get good grades, and be apart of extracurricular activities, and you’ll get into a ‘good’ school. False, false, false! I may have been in somewhat of a depression, though it might have been after I had graduated, I do not remember the timeline very well. So now I was a fish trying to swim upstream, during a drought, in the middle of a hurricane, with a volcano erupting in the middle of the path, with a fish fry of destiny at the very end of it all. So I graduated, and was left to nothing but sitting at home. Broken. Lost. Uncertain. The next logical progression was to get a job. This is easy to say, but is (and was at the time) much more difficult that one might believe. I graduated a few years after the housing market crash of 2008, which left the job market decimated, and businesses unwilling to hire a high school graduate with no experience except the ability to march eight to ten (eight steps to every ten yards), with a dedicated mentality of what punctuality being that the earlier you are, the more on time you are.
“If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re late, we don’t wait.”
I spent three months looking for a job. I tried Blockbuster, Chick-fil-a, and others to no avail. Three months of not being able to find any success in a world that was told to me as to be my oyster, mine for the taking. In my mind, and largely a practical understanding of my perspective of the time, I was standing on a stepping stone across a creek or stream. Ahead of me was a wall of dense fog, which could feasibly be cut with a knife, that obscured any sense of where to step next. By the end of those three month, I got a callback for an interview finally! Now this is where I begin to ascribe all of the particulars to God. In my initial interview, I learned that the manager I was meeting with was married to a CFO, here daughter played the same instrument as I did in high school, and got a kick that I used my former babysitter as a reference. So it just so happened that I included my mother’s boss, who was a CFO, on my resume. That I listed being a member of my high school marching band. I had no prior experience in the job world, and had no reason to be hired on. Yet I wholly believe that it was God’s doing that led to the connections that I did between my life and this manager. Let’s fast forward a bit again, and about a year later I was given a car. Y’all, given a car! I needed a car and was just flat out given one! The was definitely God’s provision! Fast forward a little bit more, nearly two years into this first job, and my mother loses her job. We don’t know what to do. Well, God once again provides in incredible ways. She’s hired on by the dean of the school I now attend, which is what allowed me to begin to get my college degree about two to three years after I graduated high school.
So now what? I HAVE NO EARTHLY IDEA WHAT TO DO OR WHERE TO GO… I’m so incredibly uncertain what to do. I’ve been looking for a job for a year now, and during that time I’ve been serving in the student, college, and media ministries which has been awesome! Getting to be apart of a generation of young adults that purposely comes together multiple times a week to praise God, to minister to the next generation, to go our onto our college campuses to share the truth of God’s grace and mercy with other college students. Anyway, I’ve been looking for a job that would all me to focus on school as I get closer to being finished, and one that would continue to allow me to be apart of the Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday ministers that I am apart of. Thus far, I’ve had little luck. Today, in fact, I received an email from my latest application with another denial. I’m disheartened guys. If I can be honest, I’m a whole lot of emotions that swell and billow in ebbs and flows. Confused, frustrated, lost, afraid, and so much more. I really have no idea where I am right now (in this aspect). I wonder what has been keeping me from being the ideal employment candidate? I know that my school schedule alone is difficult to work with, let alone my schedule with ministry service. Am I not ‘good enough’ to hiring managers? Am I overqualified with my experience in the food & supervision categories? Am I too old? In some ways, I can understand why a company wouldn’t want to hire a twenty-something who is feasibly done with college and will be pursing an ‘adult’ job in the near future. But is that the issue?
Throw into the mix the swirls of new desires, hopes, and dreams that have come into my vision. The plan for the future being one with, hopefully, a wife and family, but how am I going to get from where I currently am to where I’d hope to be? Am I destined to walk this life alone, without a companion? It is true that I have a whole second family of companions, and without them I’m sure I’d be even more lost that I could imagine. I’ve found an incalculable amount of support, assistance, and guidance from my second family of college students which has been vital to my current sense of foundation, thanks for that God! Much appreciated! So returning to the D-Now which was the basis of this post, the main idea is having our foundation being in Christ.
As believers, our identities are found in Christ alone which means that despite our situations, we have a solid foundation. I’ve been struck by this, even in the midst of some of the many feelings, which I might chalk up to depression attempting to find a foothold, as the world tells us what or who we are. Our hope is set in things above, and our trust is in Him.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
I find it perplexing that on some days having faith is easier than on others, but I guess it wouldn’t be faith if it was instinctual. Perhaps that’s where I currently stand, in a place of difficulty. A quagmire of sorts. In breaking apart this verse, I see a few things of note. These pertain directly to me, but also directly and indirectly to you, an action and a response. With confidence I ought to draw near to the throne, so that I may receive mercy and find grace in my time of need. In the context of this past weekend, this verse was meant at highlighting that if we are truly believers, followers of Christ than we have no need for concern, or doubt in our faith. We are covered by the blood and are new creations. Yet, at this time, in this current situation I read it as my needing to unburden myself. To un-hinder myself from the weight I carry upon my shoulder. I know, I know, I’m a stubborn man, I get it. And if anything in my story above should point out, it ought to be that God is going to take care of me in this situation.
And I know that He will provide a way. I have confidence in this, despite the fact that I might consciously acknowledge that in my mind. So I should be at peace, right? Logic would say so, I would say so as well. For most of today, I haven’t been. I’m not a turbulent personality… but I’m not exactly stable either. If that makes any sense to you, I hope it does. Perhaps you could borrow my life to see if it makes sense to you. Anyway, as I’ve continued writing this post out, I’ve found some calmness. Some sense of relief. Not exactly a swelling of the Spirit, but a calming of the mind, the senses, and the emotions. God is my rock. His will will be done. Thus, let me draw near to His throne, boldly handing over my situation, and submitting myself to Him. Taking the grace and mercy and finding peace. I trust the Lord to provide, and while I wait I will continue to be faithful. Faithful in His promises. Faithful in His bride. Faithful in my walk.
So when I look back in twenty years, and have newer insights to share on this thing called life, you can expect a new post on having confidence in the Lord and His provision.