To say that 2019 has been A LOT would be an understatement. LOL. As I type this, I am quite aware of the ‘irony’ (for lack of a better word) that’s contained in this statement. Why do I say this? Well, it’s because I believe that this was my exact sentiment about 2018 at round about this time of the year then. Really, it was A LOT. If I recall, I was emotionally drained and defeated; I was feeling very, very stuck and uninspired, and just not sure what the big next/next big for my life should look like. Despite this, I remember holding on to quite a bit of hope that 2019 would be better and different. Breaking into the new year, it seemed to really to be pregnant with possibility…it seemed to be promising, whatever that means. Or maybe, that was just the extent of my exhaustion and defeatedness. I NEEDED to believe that 2019 would be better. And such is the nature of hope and such…no matter how bleak our lives seem, we always believe; we always have need to believe and hope for better. So I too allowed myself (against my will, heart and head) to hope that God would turn my life around in 2019 and just do the things I needed him to do. L. O. L.
Yeah…I lol because well, my will, heart and head were right. God didn’t put into play those things I had so wanted him to ‘make right’. Things didn’t work out the way I had hoped against hope they would, and I didn’t get the revelation about what my next ‘big’ was supposed to be. I went through disappointment after disappointment in the areas where I had trusted God. You’ll recall that there was a point where my faith even bottomed out and I blogged about it here. It was really painful to have to go through the experiences I went through in areas of my life where God had seen me cry countless tears, hold immense sorrow, and bring many prayers and supplication about those things to Him and yet still feel deliberately frozen out…forgotten. Through it all (the gory details of which I’ll spare you), I was somehow able to gather my faith and keep walking. I was able, somehow, to believe in God again, specifically His veritable goodness towards me. Somehow, I was able to continue to believe that God did collect all my tears, bear my sorrows and hear and answer those prayers; those very ones about the specific areas in my life where I’d sought change and His intervention. Just because the answer didn’t look like what I wanted or expected, I chose to believe that that didn’t mean that God hadn’t answered. I chose to believe that God works outside of time as we know it. He places answers in the now, our future or eternity. But to Him, it’s all the same. He has already answered. And so maybe we often cry and cry and cry about things that God has already answered, but we just don’t know it. And still, this doesn’t diminish God’s grace with and compassion towards us. He understands our limitations of knowledge and understanding. And so yes, He still collects the ‘unknowledgeable’ tears we cry and He cares about all our pain and sorrow and frustrations. Somehow, I got to a point where I was able to believe that God had a plan, a purpose and a timing for it all.
I don’t know. I certainly don’t have the answers. But what I do know is that I had a choice. And what I do know is that belief is a choice. Believing in God’s benevolence is a choice. It doesn’t guarantee that God will. That’s a lesson I learned this year: my faith is a choice. And though we Christians often speak of God’s goodness as unquestionable and guaranteed, we don’t really have a way to prove it without a doubt. It’s a choice we choose to make; a faith in His character we choose to profess [see how many times I use the word choose/chose in preceding paragraph]. And so it’s understandable why people choose to believe He is non-existent. Because given how crap, hard, confusing and painful life can be, it is often hard, VERY HARD, and quite a mental gymnastics exercise, to reconcile all that with a good God. And yes, one can literally charge the good things that happen in our lives either to chance or the fact that things change eventually and nothing stays the same, and so some good is bound to come your way, sooner or later. We can choose to charge these things to the ‘Universe’ (how it knows between good and bad is amazing to me, but OK…asikholapho) and not necessarily to God. And that is fair enough. I could very well hold on to my faith until things change in my favour in certain situations and charge that to the constancy of change, the swinging of tides or the changing of seasons. That is to say, in life, we will all experience our fair share of good and bad things/times/seasons and when your bad/dry season is over, it’s over, and life ushers you into your next. Cool.
But indulge me here: what/who is the genesis of such cycles? The very concept of good – how do we know it? Again, how would a ‘Universe’ know good and bad? Can nature be self-regulating and self-determining? Surely, for all of nature’s excellence, there must be a supreme being, author, genius and creator behind it? I mean, just consider the degree of intelligence to/in nature; surely, things are just too precise, correct, systematic, and sustained for there to not be? I mean, even the seasons of cold, dark or wetness, times and periods we may view as uncomfortable or miserable, serve a purpose for the regeneration, continuation and sustaining of the whole natural “system”. And so let’s just say that with that weak argument, I have somewhat convinced you that there’s an author and conductor behind it all, yeah? Let’s.
And so if we can see the intelligence of the functioning of the natural world, the usefulness of all seasons, I could extend that last observation to my and your life. Which is that, nothing is necessarily bad or broken in your life if you feel stuck, uncomfortable or left out…it is just a season of learning, shedding, being planted, germinating, preparation (pick one), and that all of that will matter, and be useful in your next season. The issue is just that our point of view about our own lives is very, very limited. And so maybe my feeling so stuck on God moving in a specific way to take me to my next is my limitation and misinterpretation. Because as much as I believe that I am dead, dormant and useless, my own personal growth, would prove contrary. I have been growing; I have been moved, I have been shaken up and stirred and renewed. Like, on a year by year basis, I become a new, better iteration of myself. It’s like an on-going birthing. Just last night, I was thinking of who I was when I TURNED 30. I. Do. Not. Know. Her. Mariah Carey style. For real. And I was quite intentional about searching myself and my soul for even parts of that person. And she was nowhere to be found. I even questioned some of her choices and decided that she was never me. Don’t know her. So this is what I mean by life is going on, if you’ll give into it. Just cause it’s not in your way or doesn’t look like the goals you’ve set, it does not mean that you are not alive. And this is quite literally, a lesson I learned in 2019, as I was writing this, hahaha. Real talk. I just had this revelation myself, so let’s both revel in it, LOL. So going forward, I hope to allow life to happen according to its rhythm and cycle for me…no more forcing things. No more setting goals (which by the way, for many of us, are largely based on doing vs actually being) that are rigid, a do or die, arbitrary (or about me comparing myself to others) or conformist, in other words simply set because 36 (soon to be 37) year olds SHOULD be doing this or having achieved that. Really let that sink in for yourself…
If I were to share all of the ways that God has changed me, used me, moulded and refined me, I would have to write a whole nother blog entry on just that. I am not even the same woman I was a year ago. And the things He had started to lay a foundation for/about in 2018, He allowed me to go deeper into; sometimes that involved going deeper into pain and being underground as a planted seed, because it is in darkness and pain, and often solitude, in which beautiful, powerful, strong and impactful things are born. For Him, He didn’t skip a beat; He didn’t miss a blessing or a season. No. This year and all of my experiences in it, were a part of the plan. Always were. I just didn’t know that. And how would I? God doesn’t give us the blueprint (a sore fact Lulu and I always bemoan on this blog), and so I don’t quite know where we get this idea from that when we become adults, suddenly we know exactly how our lives should flow or go. Truth is (or I’ve learned that), some things you just don’t control in your life. Some things will happen against your will. And it’s not for lack of planning on your part. No. It’s God’s plan unravelling in your life. And so when you stop thinking there’s a calendar or timetable, you perhaps save yourself some frustration. You’re not late to anywhere and you’re not falling behind. Lulu once wrote on here about the oddity of why we believe the flow and sequence of our lives should follow the Gregorian calendar. LOL. It’s a construct. And your creator exists outside of it…so…yeah. If there’s something that you desperately want and it’s just not happened yet, perhaps, just perhaps, you need to consider that according to His plan, you’re not meant to be there or have it yet…or ever. Simple. So focus on what is actually happening and let that serve you. Boring, I know. Majority of things that were happening in my life in 2019 were pretty drab and run of the mill. But still, the one area that was happening was really happening, honey. And that was where ALL my growth and lessons were to be found. And yet and still, I didn’t have the things I desired. But I guess I am finally learning to surrender myself to the ‘natural’ cycle of my own life…the one that God knows and is more and more, trying to get me to come on board on. So, my advice would be to learn to go with the flow when things aren’t so ‘great’; tune into what is happening, even if it isn’t to your liking, and let it do what it needs to do in your life. In due course, it shall pass.
So, I am going into 2020 with no plans or non-negotiable expectations. I have my career and purpose hopes, but I am not expecting anything. And this time, I will be OK(ish) with anything happening or not happening…because guess what? I would like to believe that in the midst of it all, I will still be dead centre in the will and plan of God for my life. And it’s starting to look a lot like my idea of what my life was going to be like in my late 30s (and honestly, did I even have a plan? Real talk is no, I didn’t. I was just living off of what is the norm. And can anyone say BORING?) is NOT the plan that He’s working off off. So, OK. But all things considered, I like His plan too. I have had some low lows, but I am proud of the beauty of heart and spirit that my experiences have cultivated in me. I don’t know…it’s nice to achieve things and titles…but soul work is altogether a different kind of thing and gain. I believe that I will take this character with me into the next life. That makes the wins gotten in that area all the more valuable. And so, this different season was just that. Different. Not a mistake, not being overlooked or forgotten, but just different. And I start to see and find new meaning in the scripture “all things work together for good”! All times, all seasons, all experiences, all days, all everything. Yes, under the control of an excellent creator, all things work together for good. No season is useless. I choose to believe that whatever I have gained in heart, wisdom or knowledge in this season, God is intending to have me use it going forward. And that in itself is a daunting thing to contemplate, because these lessons were hard gotten, and so I just wonder what kind of trenches He’s fixing to have me go into where He had to do so much refining, ‘strengthening’ and soul cleansing in me. Or maybe it is/was just that I am/was that broken…and that is OK too. I am just happy to be healing and doing my soul work. You know they always say “Do the work”. Yeah, many of us need life to happen in order for us to get that healing. We hardly ever stop ourselves and ‘work on ourselves’. It is experiences mostly, that do that for us – that make the rough edges smooth. And being self-aware, powerful and great as it is, as it is the key and gateway to healing, is not enough. It is not “the work”. And that’s that on that. More has to happen, and I guess I just got my healthy serving of ‘more’.
Relatedly, I would like to lead you to a short YouTube clip about the importance of being present in your own life, being vs doing. I hope that this blog has encouraged those that may feel like they’ve not achieved their goals or ‘arrived’, as per society’s expectations. Just live baby girl. God’s got you. You also don’t have enough of a grasp of the plan that God has for you, so chill. How can you be so sure that just because things haven’t worked out a certain way, where you are is indicative of failure, slowness or not being up to ‘standard’. You are perfect by God’s standard…you’re on course. And that’s all that matters. Allow Him to daily reveal His plan and purposes for your life and trust. Surrender, let go, relax and TRUST.