Saturday, August 28, 2010

10 Steps to Jeremiah 29:11

When I was contemplating starting a blog, I wondered what type of things I would write about and what direction my blog would take. Would I try to be funny or informative, would it just be to keep people updated on our lives or would I share my thoughts and feelings? I mean is it weird to share what's going on in your head in such a public forum? Well, here's the deal: I have NEVER been good at keeping things to myself. I'm not an internalizer, I'm more of a blow up in your face kind of girl. I've always worn my feelings on my sleeve and that's not going to change when it comes to this blog. So here's something that I've been struggling/wrestling with lately (and by lately, I mean since my last year of undergrad): Contentment with the right now.

I feel like I am constantly waiting for and looking toward what's next in life. Since I met David and realized that I had met the man I would spend the rest of my life with, I've been wanting the rest of my life right now! I wish I could say I mean that in the romantic way. You know what I'm talking about: "when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible"--When Harry Met Sally anyone?? But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm just anxious to get to the next big thing! I see my life in milestones, and I'm always wanting to reach the next one. I think meeting David triggered it, because that was the first big milestone of my adult life. So there I was, getting married--step 1!

Step 2 came when we packed up our lives with 4 whole months of marriage under our belts and moved to Dallas. I felt like such a "big girl". I mean, that's what growing up is about, right? You get married and you cleave yourselves from your parents and start your new life together. I even saw the struggle that ensued from uprooting myself from the happy little life I had in Lubbock as step 3. The first year we lived in Dallas was not an easy year for me. It was scary and hard and sad...I had no purpose for being in Dallas and very few friends here (and you know me, I NEED my friends). There were a lot of tears, and I spent many nights falling asleep while planning a triumphant return to the life I knew in Lubbock as soon as I could convince my husband to go back. But the battle that was step 3, becoming settled and OK with this new stage of my life as the city girl, came to a happy close as I entered step 4.

I should take a minute now to address why I am writing this post. It was during the transition from step 3 to step 4 that I began to realize the restlessness the overcame me while anticipating what was next. I hated not having something to do, something to conquer; I just wanted to get to the next step. I hated living in Dallas with nothing to "DO". I was actually becoming anxious to start school because that was the next "step" on my list of things to do. Heaven forbid I just sit and be content with where I was right then. As each future step came into my line of sight, I found myself hating the place I was in right then. Now back to the journey.

Step 4 was GRAD SCHOOL!!! Entering the DPT class of 2009 was exciting for me--I thought it was just what I needed to feel "settled" in the place I was in. And I did begin to feel settled and grounded, and somewhat content...for about two semesters. Then studying overtook my life, the library became my second home, and I revolted against the place I was in. I found myself saying, "I can't wait until school is over because then I can finally start *insert whatever good thing here*. I just wanted what was next, because I couldn't possibly find contentment in a life that consisted of class, studying, sleeping and trying to squeeze in some eating and socializing in my very limited free-time. Why start learning to cook, I'd do that when I had time...once I was out of school. I could join a small group when I knew I wouldn't have exams to study for the next day. Etc, Etc, Etc...

Step 5 soothed my resltlessness a little: we bought our first house and moved out to the "burbs". And we bought the cutest black furball ever, and we named him Preston! Who wouldn't be content with a life like that? An incredible husband, a beautiful first home, a sweet little puppy, great friends, etc. But I was immediately looking to what we could CHANGE about the house to make it better....never just sitting back and soaking it in. Buying the house came a few months before Graduation, step 6. The light at the end of the black abyss that was PT school brought anxiety about passing the licensing exam, step 7! I think I allowed myself a whole 24 hours of celebration before becoming consumed with studying for the board exam. During that time, I was obsessed with finding a good place to work, step 8. Then I got a great job and gave myself about a week before looking ahead and becoming extremely frustrated with the fact that I wasn't already good at it...I'm still waiting for that step 9.

All of this brings me to where I am right now. While I continue to wait for step 9, I am surrounded by all of my friends surpassing me and diving in to step 10, as they all started growing their beautiful families by having kids. I want step 9 and I want step 10, and I find myself again discontented with where I am, only wanting what's ahead. I hate that I do that. I look back and see so many missed opportunities because I wasn't living my life in that day; instead, I was striving ahead toward the tomorrow...charging on without ever being joyous in and for today.

I have come to believe that these yearnings for the future highlight my lack of faith and trust in the Divine Creator. I know He has orchestrated every moment, and "step" if you will, in my life, but I insist on worrying about when He will reveal the next step to ME. This is where Jeremiah 29:11 comes in: I know that He has plans for me and I know those plans are to prosper me and give me hope and a future. But after some inspiring insight from my mom, I decided to delve in a bit further into the 29th chapter of Jeremiah. Those words were spoken by the Lord to those in exile, those who truly saw no light at the end of the tunnel, no hope for a future much less a prosperous one. I've always been frustrated with that scripture because I don't WANT to sit idly and just wait for the Lord to reveal his plans for me. AND THEN, I read verses 4-7 of the same chapter. God didn't ask them to just sit and wait for his future plans to be shown to them. He told them to LIVE thier LIVES in plant roots where they were! He told them to build houses, get married and have children while they waited. And then He told them seek the peace and prosperity RIGHT IN THE CITY THEY WERE IN. He told them to pray for that peace because if it prospered then they would prosper as well.

So after another unbelievably long blog post that's my challenge to myself and to anyone who might read this and find themselves in a similar place. Instead of constantly looking forward, I want to seek the peace and joy that God provides today! I know this won't be an easy challenge for me to take on, but it's something to strive toward that DOESN'T have me looking forward to the future. So we'll see how it goes...thanks for sticking with me for those of you who did!


  1. Excellent post, Mel! Thank you so much for sharing this! I can definitely relate to the waiting. I've had my eye on the future for a while now, and it hasn't helped much. Thank you for studying the word and giving this encouragement, it was truly refreshing!

  2. Great writing, friend. I think it's a struggle that many people, including myself, face. Glad I can be waiting patiently with you.